American Horror Story Season 8 will unfold in a not-so-distant future, says Ryan Murphy

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Apr 9, 2018, 2:39 PM EDT

After teasing back in January that Season 8 of American Horror Story would be set “in the future,” co-creator Ryan Murphy has just given fans a much more solid idea of just how distant a future we’ll be peering into — and it’s definitely one that’s within sight.

Speaking over the weekend at a pre-Emmy awards event, Murphy told a fan panel that the upcoming Season 8 will begin shooting this summer for a story that will unfold in a setting that’s only 18 months farther into the future than the present day.

“It is set in the near future,” Murphy revealed, via Variety. ““I will say it is set 18 months from today.”

If that sounds like the setup for a topical, socially aware batch of shows after the fashion of last season’s American Horror Story: Cult, well, it may still be too early to tell. Despite the upcoming season’s all-but-contemporary setting, Murphy continued to maintain his longstanding pledge for a more fantasy-oriented storyline that will remind fans more of Season 2 (Asylum) or Season 3 (Coven).

“It’s heightened,” he said, according to Deadline.“It’s not necessarily as real and grounded as the past season. We’re sort of getting back to Asylum and Coven. That’s the tone of it.”

AHS: Asylum didn’t need to rely on too heavy a dose of fantasy to find its horrific sweet spot. Set in the 1960s at the Briarcliff Manor asylum for the criminally insane, the show’s second season instead leaned on a cocktail of personal idiosyncrasies and inner demons — the sort of inner fantasies, in other words, that one might expect at a place where the inmates aren’t entirely sound of mind.

AHS: Coven, meanwhile, followed Salem witches through history and into present-day New Orleans, where a tortured coven finally overcame a ton of internal conflict before devising a way — at great cost — to present a more friendly face to the outside world.

Although there’ve been recent reports that AHS Season 8 might already have a name (American Horror Story: Radioactive?), Murphy didn’t address it during his time with the panel. But he did confirm that the cast for Season 8 will feature not only Sarah Paulson, Evan Peters, Kathy Bates, and the recently announced Joan Collins, but also will bring back Cult cast members Cheyenne Jackson, Billy Eichner, Adina Porter, and Leslie Grossman. Collins, Murphy added, will be playing Peters' grandmother.

Murphy told fans that Season 8 will begin shooting in mid-June, but we still don’t know when the finished episodes will make it to air. Until then, you can catch up on AHS Seasons 1-6 at Netflix and Hulu, and order Season 7 at Amazon Video.