'Pretty Little Liars' Janel Parrish teases Christmas special, Season 5b and her theory on Mona's killer

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janel-parrish-pretty-little-liars-season-5a-finale.jpgMona Vanderwaal met an untimely end on "Pretty Little Liars" fatal finale Tuesday (Aug. 26) -- and yes, Mona is really dead. Sorry, PLL fans.

But actress Janel Parrish tells Zap2it that there will be plenty of Mona in the back half of Season 5, which she teases is going to dark place.

Zap2it: We were so bummed out that Mona died last night.
Janel Parrish: Don't be too bummed, she'll be back. She's going to be back in a different capacity. She's the new flashback girl, which I'm actually really excited about. I think fans will love it too. I know it's sad to see her go as an alive character, but she'll still be haunting Rosewood a little bit in some flashbacks and I think it's going to be really great to get some backstory on her.

How long have you known Mona was going to die this summer? What was your reaction when you found out?

I found out the day before we had the table read, [creator Marlene King] called me and told me. At first I was really nervous because it was my last episode, and I was very sad because obviously I love being a part of the show. But the next thing she said was don't worry, you've still got a job. You're still going to be on the show 'til the end, you're just going to be flashback girl. And I said, OK, I trust you.

The aftermath in Mona's house made it look like quite the fight took place. Will we ever get to see Mona's death scene in flashbacks?
You will see a little bit more of what happened, yes. I will say that she went down with a fight, which is great. I love that fight in her, I wouldn't have wanted her to go out any other way.

Now, I know you won't tell us who killed Mona, but -- do you know who killed Mona?
I do not know the exact, honest-to-God, 100 percent answer of who killed Mona, but I do have my suspicions and I'm pretty sure it's the same as everybody else -- I'm thinking that everyone thinks it's Alison and I would be on the same thought train. But as always on our set, the writers keep things close to the vest. ... All will be revealed in time.

Will the Liars be able to get their hands on the records from Radley that Mona was studying or did the killer take them with him or her?

That is a really good question. So far, I'm not sure I know the answer to that, but I can say that in the Christmas episode ... Mona will leave a clue, something she hid for the girls to find to help them figure out what happened.

Mona and her mom mentioned "Leslie" was going to be at Thanksgiving. Do you know who Leslie is and will the viewers get to find out?
I think Leslie is probably just a cousin. I think it was just to show that Mona was on her way to Thanksgiving dinner with her family and she didn't make it and that makes it sadder.

The fan theory out there is that Leslie is Mona's twin sister and that you will be back on the show as Leslie.

Interesting! I've never heard that before! But I love hearing these theories. I love hearing how into the show PLL fans are -- they come up with these theories that are so creative. Some of them should be writers, that would be a great storyline!

How will Mona's death affect Hanna? They were so close at one time.
It's going to hit Hanna the hardest, because they've had their ups and downs. They've had a very intense relationship, whether it be good or bad, and a lot of the flashbacks, at least the ones that I've filmed so far, are inspired by Hanna thinking about Mona. Hanna's definitely devastated by her death.

So you've started filming flashbacks?
Yeah, we film continuously from March through November, so yes, I've filmed more since my death. Like I said, I'm going to be in the Christmas special as the ghost of Christmas past, present and future, and in the second half of the season there will be more Mona flashbacks.

Finally, what can you tease about Season 5b?
There are two focuses -- definitely Mona's murder, but also who killed Bethany and what is up with Alison. Is she really the socio that they think she is? Did she kill Mona? Where is Mona's body? It's going to be very mysterious, all about murder, very dark. It's going to be amazing. ...

Season 5b is all about the mystery of Alison and finding out who she is and what she's done. Would she really murder Mona? Would she really murder Bethany? Why would she do these things? Who did it, if not her? Where is Mona's body? It's a mishmash of mysteries that all seem to be circling Alison.

"Pretty Little Liars" returns in December with a special holiday episode and Season 5b kicks off in early 2015.

Photo/Video credit: ABC Family