How Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin Differs From Its Predecessor

There's a new batch of Liars on our small screen thanks to Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin. But how does the HBO Max series differentiate itself from the OG PLL? Find out!

By Leanne Aguilera, Alyssa Ray Jul 28, 2022 10:00 AMTags
Watch: Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin Cast Talks Meeting "A"

Warning: This story includes spoilers for Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin.

Got a secret, can you keep it? If we're being honest, no.

Because we have all the answers to your burning Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin questions. If you're like us, you were initially confused when HBO Max announced their intention to reboot ABC Family's hit drama Pretty Little Liars. After all, the original Pretty Little Liars covered just about everything in its seven season run.

But it didn't take long for showrunners Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Lindsay Calhoon Bring to establish that they were making Original Sin its own thing. Yes, there's a violent assailant going by "A" harassing a new crop of Liars, but it's not the same stalker and drama that plagued Hanna (Ashley Benson), Spencer (Troian Bellisario), Aria (Lucy Hale), Emily (Shay Mitchell) and Alison (Sasha Pieterse).

For a breakdown on how Original Sin intends to make its own way, E! News exclusively spoke with Roberto, Lindsay and the show's new leadsChandler KinneyMaia ReficcoBailee MadisonZaria and Malia Pyles. See everything they had to share below!

Everything We Know About Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin

What's the genre?

This is not your Millennial Pretty Little Liars. While the original show did have some terrifying elements, it was certainly more of a crime thriller and teen drama. As for this iteration? It leans way more into the horror genre.

Maia, who plays Noa Olivar, said as much, telling E! News, "The most interesting spin is that this one is a slasher. So not only do we have that same core A plotline, but there's also a slasher, horror aspect that pays homage to so many iconic '90s slasher movies—but with a 2022 twist. It's telling these stories through a different lens and with a different perspective, which is incredibly exciting."

Expressing a similar sentiment, Bailee, who plays Imogen Adams, noted that Original Sin is honoring the foundation that PLL set. However, their tone "is darker and more brutal and just ruthless at its core."

Karolina Wojtasik/HBO Max

Where is Millwood?

Fun fact: Original Sin's Millwood, Pennsylvania, is a neighboring town to Rosewood, the setting of Pretty Little Liars. Chandler, who plays Tabby Haworthe, explained to E! News, "Millwood is just a couple miles down the road. Definitely exists in the same world. That kind of leaves the door open for anything to happen."

Lindsay also weighed in, confirming that "everything in that show happened," adding, "Rosewood is real and is thriving and we're just a couple towns over and we do have for the rabid fanbase some fun Easter eggs in our show that touch on the original and give honor to them."

22 Pretty Little Liars Secrets Revealed

Who is A?

The series kicks off with a young girl begging for help and then ultimately killing herself after being ignored by the teenage versions of Tabby, Noa, Imogen, Faran (Zaria) and Mouse (Malia)'s parents. And two decades after this original sin, (get it?) someone is holding the daughters responsible for their mothers' actions.

Much like the original PLL, there is an unnamed, masked stalker harassing the new Liars. Although, this new A has a far more horror-inducing getup. 

Ignoring the black hoodie ensemble from PLL, the new A is choosing to wear a mask that looks made up of human skin. On seeing the Original Sin bad guy for the first time, Malia said, "I was terrified. Have you seen that mask? It is just bone chilling."

Zaria chimed in, dubbing the new look "gruesome and scary," further noting, "It just looks like there's like skin on him."

Barbara Nitke / HBO Max

What secret are the Liars keeping?

As we mentioned, the new Liars are being punished for the actions of their parents over 20 years ago. However, this doesn't mean that they aren't keeping their own secrets under wraps. In episode two of Original Sin's first season, the new friends decide to leak a drunken video of mean girl Karen (Mallory Bechtel).

Why? Because they all think Karen is responsible for their recent misfortunes. (Spoiler: It's actually A.)

This is a lot tamer than the "We blinded Jenna" secret from Original Sin's predecessor. 

Will Original Sin overlap with Pretty Little Liars?

Besides being set in the same universe as PLL, Original Sin doesn't have any overt crossover elements—at least to start. But that's not to say there won't be some nods to the original series. Roberto teased, "A lot of big Easter eggs," specifically highlighting a "big" one in episode six.

However, if you're getting Riverdale or Chilling Adventures of Sabrina vibes from this show, know it's on purpose. As Riverdale and CAOS creator Roberto detailed, the pilot director Lisa Soper was the production designer for CAOS, so "the high school in PLL does resemble the high school in in Greendale."

So, maybe there are more than PLL Easter eggs to look out for? Tweet us @enews if you spot any.

The first three episodes of Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin are available to stream on HBO Max.

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