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Pretty Little Liars: Toby Cavanaugh Almost Had A Darker Ending

In a true escapist dream, "Pretty Little Liars" walked so bonkers "Riverdale" could run. Based on Sara Shepard's series of young adult novels, the teen drama about cyberbullying goes into surreal levels of storytelling as the young Liars try to find out the identity of A. One of their leads is the strange boy next door, Toby (Keegan Allen). After a substantial red herring indicating that Toby may be A — or at the very least Alison's (Sasha Pieterse) murderer — the character disappears mysteriously. But instead of being written off, Toby returns cleared of suspicion and becomes a significant part of the series.

"I was only supposed to be in six episodes," Allen revealed on "Inside of You," Michael Rosenbaum's interview podcast. "My character dies in the book series. But fans at that time — social media was starting to get a fire under it. Fans were demanding that they didn't kill Tobias Cavanaugh, which was my character. They were like: 'do not kill him.'" 

Toby's return as a heartthrob of the series was a decisive change from the books. Sticking to the source material is not exactly what "Pretty Little Liars" does best, but the popular teen show was ultimately the better for it.

Toby doesn't have a happy ending in the books

The wide world of popular IPs has always been a large market for adaptation. But unlike the strict storylines of, say, "Game of Thrones," "Pretty Little Liars" was given more free rein to take artistic licenses. 

"[The showrunners] married the [book series and television show] in certain ways and then divorced them in other ways," Keegan Allen noted. "And one of the divorce factors was my character living and having a very strong relationship with one of the main characters, which was just beautiful." Toby and Spencer (Troian Bellisario) form a touching relationship that never existed in the book. 

Instead of being blackmailed by Jenna (Tammin Sursok) into a relationship as in the series, the books portray Toby as the perpetrator. Years after sexually preying on his stepsister, Toby returns remorseful of the encounter. He becomes so wracked with guilt that he confesses to Emily and dies by suicide. This is a stark reversal from the beloved character in the television series. "Pretty Little Liars" created an impressive role reversal by making Jenna the villain and saving Toby from a death sentence.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ by dialing 988 or by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.