Pretty Little Liars is over, but the Liars aren't gone for good. Two of the show's original stars Sasha Pieterse (who plays Alison DiLaurentis) and Janel Parrish (who plays Mona Vanderwaal) are now starring on Freeform's spin-off show Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists. This time the show takes place at a college in Oregon where Ali is teaching — and, of course, the show opens with a mysterious murder. It wouldn't be the PLL-verse without that. But while the show does have nods and references to the original PLL, it mostly stands on its own. That's why the original four Liars didn't need to be on it. But Hannah Marin actor Ashley Benson has a different role on The Perfectionists that still let her be part of the show in a new way.
Benson actually directed an episode of The Perfectionists — her first stint behind the camera. "I'm very excited," she told Entertainment Tonight. "[It's] my first time directing; it's going to be really fun."
In another interview with People TV, she added that she didn't know at the time which episode she would be directing, but she was looking forward to reuniting with the crew, since many of them were there for Pretty Little Liars. "That will just make it easier. I feel like everyone's going to be very supportive and helpful, especially since it is my first time [directing]," Benson said. "It's going to be fun to be back with my old family."
It's still unknown which episode Benson directed. The first eight are helmed by a number of people including noted TV directors Elizabeth Allen Rosenbaum and Geary McLeod, former PLL directors Roger Krumble and Arlene Sanford, and UnReal star Shiri Appleby, but Benson's name is absent. The directors for the final two episodes of Season 1 haven't been announced yet, so Benson likely did either nine or 10 – and probably nine, since doing a finale as a first-time director would be a huge step.
Perfectionists showrunner I. Marlene King, who also served as showrunner for Pretty Little Liars, confirmed to Entertainment Tonight that there are no cameos from the original four Liars in Season 1 of The Perfectionists. But she didn't rule out an appearance in a possible later season if the show gets renewed. "They’re always welcome," King said of the PLL stars. "We would always want to find a place for them. I think there's just such a seamless sort of transition to this new show that it's always possible for people to just come in and sort of drop in and visit us."
In an interview with Elite Daily, Benson said she was mostly just focusing on her directing role on the series, but didn't completely rule out a future cameo. "I would do anything for Marlene [King]," she said when asked if she'd ever reprise her role.
So even though Season 1 doesn't have Hannah actually on the show, at least Benson got to participate in a way as a director and tackle a new challenge in this world she's been part of for so long. If it went well, perhaps we won't only see a Hannah return in a future season — we may see the return of director Benson too.