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SYFY WIRE Riverdale

Pretty Little Liars gets a horror-tinged HBO Max spinoff from Riverdale showrunner

By Nivea Serrao
Pretty Little Liars

Pretty Little Liars may have wrapped all its mysteries — and dispatched all its stalker-y killers — in 2016, when viewers finally said goodbye to Rosewood. But in true A-like fashion, the show is set to make a comeback — this time in the form of a reboot at HBO Max.

Titled Original Sin, the new series will be set within the same universe as the original show, but will focus on a new town with a new generation of "liars." This darker and more horror-tinged story will unfold in the blue-collar town of Millwood, where tragic events that nearly tore the town apart 20 years ago, will come back to haunt a group of teenage girls and force them to reckon with not only their own personal secrets but also an unknown assailant (AKA A 2.0?) who is intent on making them pay for the sins of their parents all those years ago — along with their own more recent ones. 

The series will be spearheaded by Riverdale and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, who tweeted the announcement that a reboot is in the works, and that he will be working with his CAOS collaborator Lindsay Calhoon Bring on the project: "Secrets to die for. A new generation of little liars. Very honored & excited to be working on this, especially with #CAOS super-writer and #PLL savant Lindsay Calhoon Bring. #originalsin #kissandkill #comingofRAGE #whereisangelawaters"

Included with the tweet was a short video with the words, "It's not what you think" written in red and signed "A" after the show's iconic and longrunning villain. 

I. Marlene King, the showrunner of the original Pretty Little Liars show, which was based on author Sara Shepard's bestselling book series of the same name, will not be involved with the project.  

"We’re such huge fans of what I. Marlene King and her iconic cast created, we knew that we had to treat the original series as #canon and do something different," said Aguirre-Sacasa and Bring said in a joint statement via The Hollywood Reporter. "So, we’re leaning into the suspense and horror in this reboot, which hopefully will honor what the fans loved about the hit series, while weaving in new, unexpected elements." 

While the original Pretty Little Liars was not a strict "horror" series, it did feature thriller aspects as well as plenty of references to famous horror films, with several characters and locations specifically serving as nods to the master of horror himself, Alfred Hitchcock, over the course of the show's run.

Interestingly enough, while there were no supernatural elements in the show during its seven-season run, it's 2013 spin-off Ravenswood featured a deadly curse set in a nearby town, with characters working to break it. Given Aguirre-Sacasa and Bring's experience with CAOS which is set in the magic-plagued town of Greendale, a neighbor of Riverdale which shows no signs of the supernatural itself, there could be a possibility that Original Sin might tap into something similar, especially with the pair leaning toward a more horror-filled take on the original series. 

No release date has been set for Pretty Little Liars: Original SinRiverdale is currently in production, and the final episodes of the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina are set to air later this year.