After months of buildup, Pretty Little Liars spinoff Ravenswood is ready to make its debut.
Centered on a town not far from Rosewood, Penn., Ravenswood has suffered for generations under a deadly curse. Five strangers find themselves connected by the fatal curse and are charged with investigating the town’s mysterious and terrible history before time runs out.
Pretty Little Liars viewers were first introduced to the eerie town earlier this summer, a stark contrast from Liars’ home base of Rosewood, with Caleb (Tyler Blackburn) the first PLL regular to make the move to Ravenswood. The first person he encounters on his way to Ravenswood is Miranda (Nicole Gale Anderson), a feisty teenager with a similar foster-care background. Other characters include twins Luke (Bret Dier) and Olivia (Merritt Patterson), whose father was murdered, and the chameleon, Remy (Britne Oldford).
In previewing the new series, executive producer Oliver Goldstick talks to The Hollywood Reporter about the differences between Pretty Little Liars and Ravenswood, Caleb’s “difficult” transition and his return to Rosewood.
As someone who’s been on both Pretty Little Liars and Ravenswood, has there been a contrast with how things operate?
First of all we’re not shooting [Ravenswood] here [in Los Angeles], which has actually made a huge difference. Pretty Little Liars has been such a contained show for us because we’re here on the backlot of Warner Bros., therefore our involvement on a daily basis is more intimate. We see the cast, we see the crew. For New Orleans, we’re flying there and we’re doing our best to become part of this family. It feels different because we’re shooting in a city. I was watching a scene in playback the other day for episode one and the lightning cooperated! There’s a scene where Luke and Olivia walk down a deserted tree-canopied street at night and there’s lightning and fog; that ain’t Hollywood magic, that’s the real thing. It just has scale, if that makes sense.
Would creepy be a good word to describe Ravenswood?
That’s a good word. I told someone the other day, we’ve set the narrative dial on creepy. (Laughs.) Simply because the town is haunted. We introduced the town through Pretty Little Liars but we wanted to make sure, even in its brief introduction, that there was something not right about this place, something was off. Whether there’s people in this town who know its unique and haunted history, and there are indeed older people who know a great deal and there are some young people who even know and our people who will learn that this is in fact a place unlike any other.
When we were first introduced to the town, the color scheme drastically changed when it went from Rosewood to Ravenswood. Will that new scheme continue to be used?
It’s a bluer palette. Even when you shoot back east, it almost comes naturally just because you don’t have that golden California sunshine. When you shoot in Atlanta, New Orleans, Wilmington, New York, Chicago, the gray-blue palette is something that’s organic and inherent to that area.
How would you describe Caleb’s journey to Ravenswood?
He goes for a compelling reason because Hanna seems to be in peril, or at least in over her head with something, so he hops on the bus to get there. But what we learn is there is an equally compelling, if not more compelling, reason to stay in Ravenswood. Unbeknownst to him, he has a strong link and connection to this new place.
Which of the new characters should we look out for?
You’ll meet Miranda in the Halloween episode, who Caleb befriends on the bus, and she becomes very quickly this interesting soulmate because they have similar backgrounds being foster kids, shuttled from house to house, not really having a nuclear family or knowing their families. Her case is even more extreme. With Miranda, she didn’t even know she had living relative until recently and that’s what prompts her journey to meet her uncle. Three other teenagers [Luke, Olivia and Remy] are bound, without realizing that they are, to Caleb and Miranda by something that happened close to 100 years ago.
How does Caleb transition to the new town?
Not easily. It’s not easy for him. There’s a mystery he has to solve and he won’t leave until he understands what this means — the impact of his own life. It’s going to be difficult. It’s not the most welcoming place. Even though we’ve got a lot of suspicious people walking around Rosewood, and our cops definitely lead the bunch, Rosewood is a visually more welcoming environment. There will be some doors slammed in Caleb’s face.
There was some speculation that the new teacher being introduced may be the new Ezra of Ravenswood. How accurate is that?
That might be a little off. We’re not really looking for the teacher-student romance. Sorry. (Joking.) Caleb is not going to hook up with Mr. Price (Justin Bruening). In episode four he has the largest role; he actually takes on Luke as a project. Luke and Olivia, who are twins, are under the cloud of their father’s murder, which is an unsolved murder in this town, where many people in this town believe the mother is the murderer. Her alibi isn’t strong and it looks like Luke may be covering for her as well. That’s part of why Mr. Price recognizes this kid as floundering and helps. It’s not the same as Ezra by any means.
What can you say about the context in which Hanna (Ashley Benson) appears on Ravenswood?
She’s a booty call! Even though our time is passing, we’re saying the first five episodes — believe it or not — are taking place over a couple of weeks. Two weeks without Caleb in Rosewood is withdrawal for Hanna and she’s going to miss him terribly and she’s going to need to see him — although he’ll do everything he can to get her from coming to this godforsaken place.
Should we expect to see Caleb back in Rosewood any time in the near future?
He’s in the season opener of Pretty Little Liars in January. (ABC Family released the official synopsis for the Jan. 7 return Monday: “As the Liars go looking for answers about Alison and try to make sense of their lives for the past year, a darker side of Ezra emerges.”)
Ravenswood premieres Oct. 22 at 9 p.m. on ABC Family.