Nothing gets to a rabid fanbase like a crossover. Ryan Murphy's television anthology series, American Horror Story, is finally giving fans exactly that with Season 8, which features the long-promised and thus long-awaited crossover between Season 1 Murder House and Season 3 Coven while offering a new story — the apparent apocalypse in the connected world of AHS.
At this past San Diego Comic-Con, FX released the name of the new season through its social media accounts, officially subtitling Season 8 "Apocalypse" with creepy images of black, witchy-looking hands holding a red baby against a red (bloody?) backdrop.
The race was on to figure out what this first clue meant.
Because if AHS is known for one thing outside of Evan Peters' smirk and Sarah Paulson's range, it's dropping hints ahead of a season premiere for fans to mull over.
The hearts of longtime fans began racing after the first clue dropped. The baby could be a big call back to the end of Season 1, Murder House, when Vivien Harmon (Connie Britton) delivered twins, one stillborn and the other abducted by Constance (Jessica Lange), who then secretly raises him as her own. We are left at the end of Season 1 with the stolen child, Michael, as a 3-year-old after he's killed his nanny. Constance famously says, "Now what am I going to do with you?" Many fans theorized Michael was the anti-Christ — or maybe something else entirely.
But for that theory to be relevant (that Michael will bring about the end of the world or that Vivien's stillborn child is somehow involved with Season 8), one key cast member needed to be confirmed first.
That's where all of this gets complicated. Murphy has confirmed in the past that everything is, technically, connected in the world of AHS. But just how connected is it all? And how much do past seasons really matter in the long run? Are we all going to end up overthinking this? Definitely, yes. But that's the fun part.
The key announcement came a few weeks later at the fall Television Critics Association session. Recurring cast member Sarah Paulson announced she would be directing an episode (Episode 6) with Jessica Lange reprising her roles as Constance from Murder House. Not only did this potentially confirm the theory that Constance's "son" might be involved in Season 8, but Lange's presence opened the door for all of her past characters, including former Supreme Witch Fiona Goode.
As if the chorus broke out a rendition of "Come Together" in unison, Apocalypse was on. SYFY WIRE has combed the internet to share Everything We Know About American Horror Story: Apocalypse (so far). Let's dive in.
As is protocol, there is little known about the plot of the new season prior to its premiere to keep the surprises, well, surprising.
Murphy loves to drop clues and cryptic social videos that send people buzzing with theories, and the lead up to Season 8 has been no different. Then there's the opening credits sequence, too, which is usually full of ghastly images that double as clues on what the season is going to entail.
Despite all the mystery, we do know Apocalypse takes place about 18 months in the future. Teaser trailers speak of the end of the world and a mushroom cloud as a potential hint of a nuclear war...
This teaser is also very forthcoming with scenes of Lange as Constance, and we see the Harmons prominently.
Then the full trailer dropped a week before the season premiere.
In the trailer, four characters appear on a plane — Leslie Grossman as Coco St. Pierre Vanderbilt, Billy Lourd as Mallory, Evan Peters as a new character who is a hairdresser (and a vampire perhaps?), and Joan Collins playing Peters' grandmother — and discover the pilots have disappeared. The plane appears to go down in a crash, during what we gather is the start of the apocalypse due to some nuclear holocaust.
After people in hazmat suits are led into a compound, Paulson appears as a new character, Venable, to announce that the group has arrived at "Outpost 3" where they are told to remain due to radiation contamination. They are informed that there is "no unauthorized copulation." We then see a montage of people being stuck in the compound and tortured. Venable says that it's their world now and that they will mold the world as they see fit. Interestingly, there are no scenes featuring the Harmon ghosts in any way, shape or form in the full trailer.
Then it gets crazy as we see scenes of the Coven cast, Rubber Man (the creeper from Murder House with the BDSM fetish coverall who turned out to be, in some instances, Peters' Tate), gun standoffs with people wearing gas masks, and Kathy Bates as Miss Meade saying, "Hail, Satan." Oh and let's not forget that Murphy compared the new season to Loveboat.
And, on top of all that, we also know the first four episode titles:
Episode 801: "The End"
Episode 802: "The Morning After"
Episode 803: "Forbidden Fruit"
Episode 804: "Could It Be Satan?"
CAST AND CREW
Following the social media accounts of Murphy and AHS mainstays like Sarah Paulson, Evan Peters (who will also direct an episode this season), and Emma Roberts has been like seeing pictures from a family reunion that's yet to occur. From TCAs to other press tour junkets, cryptic tweets, and Instagram posts, we've managed to sift through all of the confirmed and unconfirmed roles and rumors as of right now:
From Season 1: Murder House
Jessica Lange as Constance Langdon
Connie Britton as Vivien Harmon
Dylan McDermott as Ben Harmon
Taissa Farmiga as Violet Harmon
Evan Peters as Tate Langdon
Sarah Paulson as Billy Dean Howard
From Season 3: Coven
Jessica Lange as Fiona Goode
Taissa Farmiga as Zoe Benson
Sarah Paulson as Cordelia Foxx
Kathy Bates as Delphine LaLaurie
Frances Convoy as Myrtle Snow
Lily Rabe as Misty Day
Emma Roberts as Madison Montgomery
Gabourey Sidibe as Queenie (who was killed in Hotel)
Evan Peters as Kyle Spencer
Stevie Nicks as herself
We had our suspicions on who would be returning once the cat was out of the bag that this would be a Murder House/Apocalypse crossover, but there's also a host of new characters who will be played by recurring AHS alums, as well as a host of new actors.
Kathy Bates has been confirmed as playing Miss Meade, a new character, although it remains to be seen if she'll reprise her Coven role, the wretched Madame LaLaurie. Cult alumni with confirmed new roles are Adina Porter as Dinah Stevens, Leslie Grossman as Coco St. Pierre Vanderbilt, and Billy Lourd as Mallory. There are also some Season 7: Cult alumni appearing in undisclosed roles, including Cheyenne Jackson and Billy Eichner. There is also a group of actors joining AHS who have worked with Murphy on his other shows, including Billy Porter (Pose), Lesley Fera (Nip/Tuck) and, perhaps most importantly, Cody Fern (American Crime Story) as a grown-up Michael Langdon.
Guest-stars include: Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman (unREAL), Kyle Allen (The Path), and Ash Santos (The Landlord). Murphy has also asked Anjelica Huston to join in, thought it's not confirmed… yet.
And as if there weren't already enough, we have to point out again that Joan-freaking-Collins is joining the cast.
THEORIES AND DETAILS TO CONSIDER
While the rules of American Horror Story are not always so strictly followed, there are a few that do repeat. Most importantly, ghosts in the world of AHS are typically bound to where they died, except on Halloween when they're allowed to roam freely for one day. So that's why it's important to note that Queenie died in the Drake during AHS: Hotel, and would theoretically only be able to show up on the series' annual Halloween episode(s).
Then again, Madison (Roberts) of Coven fame is back with the living and breathing, and therein lies a convenient rule breaker: Having a cast of witches who can simply cast spells to bust rules allows for just about anything to happen. No one has to necessarily stay dead.
Speaking of witches back from the dead, Madison Montgomery holds the same last name as the Murder House's original owners, Dr. Charles and Nora Montgomery. If last names are of significance, there may be another connection or bridge between Seasons 1 and 3 there. There have been other potential connections from the past, such as the investigators in Season 1 and 2 with the last name of Goodman, the two detectives named Jack Colquitt in two seasons, and Roanoke's Edward Mott was the ancestor to Freak Show's Dandy and Gloria Mott.
We will be looking to see if the themes of parent-children issues, affairs, and sins in general pop up as they often do. The Seven Deadly Sins from Dante Alighieri's Inferno continue to make its way into the seasons, including a 10 Commandments-themed serial killer on the loose in Hotel. Murder House could be viewed as a commentary on lust, Freak Show was about Pride, Hotel was Gluttony, and so forth. There's another theory that the seasons correspond to the 9 Circles of Hell, to which Murphy entertained on his Instagram over a year ago:
The anthology, after all, has been renewed through 10 seasons. So we'll see if Apocalypse falls in line with some of the theories and if any Easter eggs make their way into the new season. Stay tuned here.
American Horror Story: Apocalypse airs September 12 on FX.