Ryan Murphy is holding true to his promise that the American Horror Story mythology would “explode” in season eight!
The upcoming cycle of the FX series is set to feature the highly anticipated crossover of MurderHouse and Coven.
Atypical to the perennially tight-lipped Murphy, the showrunner has already confirmed a slew of castmembers — including many high-profile franchise faces — and revealed a handful of details about the new season, debuting Sept. 14.
‘American Horror Story’ Season 8 to Feature ‘Murder House’-‘Coven’ Crossover
• Jessica Lange is returning. The actress, who won two Emmys for the characters she played on AHS, left the series after season four. The former leading lady will be reprising her original AHS role of Constance Langdon from season one’s Murder House — a part that nabbed her one of those Emmy trophies. Constance was last seen taking custody of her neighbors’ satanic offspring, baby Michael Langdon, after he murdered the nanny in the first season finale. Her appearance will coincide with longtime friend and co-star Sarah Paulson’s directorial debut on the season’s sixth episode.
• Paulson will be appearing as three characters, a new challenge for the Emmy-winning star who has played dual roles on multiple AHS seasons. Despite leading the majority of Coven as supreme witch Fiona Goode, Lange is only confirmed to be reprising one of her characters from the crossover seasons. Paulson, on the other hand, will be returning as both of her Murder House and Coven characters, as well as playing a new character named Venable, she revealed during the show’s summer TCA panel. In Murder House, Paulson was featured in a smaller role as medium Billie Dean Howard — a character she reprises in season five’s Hotel — but a key role nonetheless. It was Billie Dean who warned that the “end of days” would come with the arrival of Antichrist baby Michael Langdon.
• Michael is indeed a character in season eight. Now all grown up, the Antichrist spawn of Tate Langdon, aka The Rubber Man (actor Evan Peters), and Vivien Harmon (Connie Britton) from Murder House will be played by Cody Fern. Fern, who entered Murphy’s orbit when he co-starred in American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace, has already filmed scenes with Paulson. “She’s the most specific, refined, deep actress I’ve ever worked with,” the actor tells THR. “I feel so blessed just to be in a scene with her and going there with her. The Ryan Murphy family is really special. Everybody is pushing themselves to the limits of what is possible. Where are the boundaries? How do we break them? That flows into your life as well.”
• The season’s title ties all of that mythology together: Apocalypse. The key imagery and marketing for the season are clear callbacks to Antichrist baby Michael. Billie Dean had warned that the baby would bring about the end of the world in season one. When discussing the union of Michael’s parents, Vivien and Tate, she said, “A child born of human and spirit will usher in the end of times.”
• The witches are also returning. After revealing that he had extended an invite to the Coven group to come back, Murphy shared the news that Taissa Farmiga, Gabourey Sidibe, Lily Rabe, Frances Conroy and even Stevie Nicks would be returning, joining the already announced Emma Roberts and Paulson. Also during TCAs, Paulson had made it clear that she would primarily be playing her role from Coven: New Orleans witch Cordelia Foxx, who took over as supreme witch in the season three finale. Roberts has confirmed she will be back as her witch, Madison Montgomery, despite her death. In Coven, Nicks guest-starred as herself and was a major influence over Rabe’s character, Misty Day. Farmiga, who also stars in Murder House, and Sidibe played witches Zoe and Queenie, respectively. Conroy played head of the Witches’ Council Myrtle Snow.
• Other returning castmembers include Peters — who has appeared in every season (Tate in Murder House and frat boy Kyle Spencer in Coven) — along with Kathy Bates, Adina Porter, Cheyenne Jackson, Billy Eichner, Leslie Grossman and Billie Lourd. Though Bates appeared in Coven, she said at the TCA tour that she will be playing a new role, Mrs. Meade. Other new characters include Dinah Stevens (Porter), Coco St. Pierre Vanderbilt (Grossman) and Mallory (Lourd). Peters will be playing a hairdresser and one very high-profile newcomer will be playing his grandmother: Joan Collins. One Coven star who won’t be returning is Angela Bassett. Bassett, who stars on Murphy’s Fox procedural 9-1-1, told Us Weekly she won’t be back unless they come up with “some brilliant idea” to include her voodoo queen Marie Laveau.
• New faces include Pose‘s Billy Porter, Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman (UnReal) and Kyle Allen (The Path).
• It’s not yet known if Lady Gaga will join the returning stars. Murphy had suggested in the past that the singer would play a part in the Murder House–Coven crossover after revealing in Roanoke that her character was the original supreme witch from Coven. Gaga, who co-stars in Hotel and Roanoke, played Scathach aka The Witch of the Woods in Roanoke. There is also no word yet on whether Britton or her Murder House husband, Dylan McDermott, will return. Britton recently starred on the first season of Murphy’s 9-1-1 and will next be seen in Bravo’s Dirty John adaptation.