Rachel Paige
Updated June 02, 2015

Have you spent the last 70 days thinking about some guy named Charles? Or maybe it’s more like WHO IS CHARLES???? That’s what it means to be obsessed with Pretty Little Liars, my friends. The ABC Family show returns tonight for the beginning of its sixth season, and hopefully all of our questions will be answered. Hopefully, probably not, but hopefully. We just really need to know about Charles, OK?

Thankfully, BuzzFeed caught up with PLL mastermind, I. Marlene King on the set of the show, and she offered up a ton of little hints about what’s in store for Aria, Hanna, Emily, and Spencer, along with this whole WHO IS CHARLES thing. Ready for the craziest, darkest, and most tear-jerking season of PLL yet? Here’s what we learned.

Had things gone according to plan, we’d still be waiting for Charles

So Charles is A. I guess. IDK. There’s still a LOT of ground that PLL has to cover, and the initial plan was for the big A reveal to take place at the end of the series, which is — as of right now — still two seasons away. “The fans were very vocal that they were getting too frustrated,” King explained to BuzzFeed. “The fans have been really patient, and I feel like we pushed them as far as we could. They let us know it was time, and it just felt like it was the right and fair thing to do.” I second that, the ‘fans are frustrated’ thing.

A was a mystery to everyone at one point

In the beginning, Mona was A. Then Mona wasn’t A, so someone else had to be A. And for a while, even King didn’t know A. “I’ll tell you that we didn’t know who this ‘A’ was going to be until we ended the original ‘A’ story, Mona’s story,” she says. “And as we were ending that story, I started to freak out. I was like, I don’t want to write one more episode without knowing who was going to steal the game from her.” So it’s nice to know we’ve all been in the dark about A at one point in our lives, right?

Charles will be “jaw-dropping”

King explains it as such: “I told the story of Charles and everybody’s mouths dropped. Then I started telling it to a few more people — not too many — and everybody had the same reaction. It takes an hour to tell the story, which will be the finale, but I just knew based on everybody’s reaction that it was a good way to go.” We’re already really stressed about this.

We should be able to figure out the Charles mystery before it’s revealed

Joe Dougherty, a writer, director, and producer on PLL, thinks we’ll be able to figure out the big mystery before it’s laid out for us. “It’s an incredible amount of information in every episode, but if we’ve done the job completely right, you should be able to figure the mystery out just before you find out.” Are you willing to bet us money on that, Dougherty??

PLL is jumping into the future

Following the big A/Charles reveal, PLL is fast forwarding five years. So we’re going to skip all of the Liars off at college, and meet up with them again once that chapter in their lives is said and done. The Liars are actually pretty excited about it. “It’s going to be like a brand-new show and it’ll be nice to give our fans a show that they already know and characters they already love, but now the girls are just as old as our fans who are watching it,” Shay Mitchell, who plays Emily, says. “This feels like a new beginning.”

However, the end is near

As of right now, PLL has been renewed for season 6 and for season 7. After that, who knows? It feels like PLL is ending, and after A’s mystery has been solved, what will keep us up late at night theorizing, anyway?

And everyone is already crying

“It’s very overwhelming,” Troian Bellisario says. “There’s going to be a day where I shoot my last ever scene with Hanna. There’s going to be a day where I’m going to have the last ever Toby kiss.”

“I have to be really careful when I talk about this because I always get so emotional, but this show has been the best years of my life,” Mitchell added. “It’s changed me in more ways than one.” I’m not crying over the end of PLL, you’re crying over the end of PLL.

A PLL spin-off?

As BuzzFeed writes, when asked, “King, [executive producer Oliver] Goldstick, and Dougherty did not entirely dismiss the idea of passing the torch to a new set of characters.” This is how PLL spin-off rumors get started, but that wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. It give us something else to obsess over for seven or so seasons.

However, before we really start thinking of the future of PLL, let’s focus on the here and now and CHARLES????? PLL returns tonight at 8 p.m. on ABC Family, so clear your schedule because everyone’s going to be talking about it.

[Images via ABC Family, here, here, here, here, here, and here.]