The July 28 premiere of the first three episodes of Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin introduced an expansion to the fictional Pennsylvania universe in the Freeform series, based on Sara Shepard’s young adult novels. Creators Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Lindsay Calhoon Bring have turned the YA thriller into a full-on slasher series, complete with a horrifying masked villain. And, of course, a new generation of final girls at A’s mercy: Imogen Adams (played by Bailee Madison), Tabby Hayworth (Chandler Kinney), Minnie “Mouse” Honrada (Malia Pyles), Faran Bryant (Zaria), and Noa Olivar (Maia Reficco).

Related: A New Cast of Pretty Little Liars, a New View of Teen Girlhood

“For me, the original was just so fun, no holds barred,” Calhoon Bring tells Teen Vogue. “I was always surprised and excited by the twists and turns. Who is A going to be, what is ‘A’ going to do, how is ‘A’ going to terrorize the girls? That was inspirational for us too, ‘A’ was so clever. ‘A’ always knew about the girls’ personal lives. ‘A’ always was one step ahead. It was about capturing a bit of that magic, and reframing it as how can ‘A’ terrorize our girls?”

For our July/August cover story, Teen Vogue visited the set of the series, which filmed largely at upstate New York’s Upriver Studios. Below, the show’s creators, costume designers, and artists share easter eggs and behind the scenes secrets for how they built the world of Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin.

Welcome to Millwood

If you’ve watched Riverdale or Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, you’ll get where PLLOS is going aesthetically; the town of Millwood stands in direct contrast to Rosewood in the original series. Where Rosewood was an affluent place, Millwood was inspired by rust belt towns that peaked in the ‘50s before seeing general decay over time. 

“It’s a little bit more of a rural Gothic kind of feel to it, the abandoned warehouses at the edge of town, the steel bridges,” Aguirre Sacasa says. “Our main set was an abandoned school that we took over that felt like a haunted place that time had forgotten.”

Almost everything in the show is custom made or antique, says prop master Katie Clinebelle. The vibe is inspired at various moments by the ‘50s, ‘60s, ‘70s, and ‘80s even though PLLOS has two specific decade anchor points: the late ’90s when the Liars’ parents were kids and teenagers, and the present day.

Those two time periods intertwine. Imogen’s key pieces, a washed denim notebook for example, could have come from her mother’s attic. The props at school feel even older: dingy yet classic brown desks, a library full of outdated, chunky tech. Everything has a purpose, down to the stickers on their laptops.

Photograph by Karolina Wojtasik/HBO Max

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