TCA 18: Jessica Lange returning to American Horror Story for Apocalypse

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Aug 3, 2018, 8:14 PM EDT (Updated)

At today's Television Critics Association gathering, Sarah Paulson dropped a huge detail during the American Horror Story panel. Jessica Lange is returning to the show.

"She will be back as Constance in an episode I am going to direct," Paulson told the room full of critics. Lange will show up in episode six, which they have not started filming yet.

Lange was the anchor of American Horror Story for the first four seasons. It came as a shock when she announced that she was leaving the show after the fourth season, and since then, she hasn't seemed to show much interest in returning to the series (though she has worked with series creator Ryan Murphy on other projects).

Lange will return for Season 9, Apocalypse, as Constance Langdon, the character she played in American Horror Story's premiere season, which was subtitled Murder House. Constance lived next door to the "murder house," an aging Southern Belle who moved to Los Angeles to become an actress decades earlier. Her plan was derailed by a pregnancy, which led her to both hate and be fiercely protective of her daughter, Addy, who was born with Down's Syndrome. She was also mother to Tate, a psychopath who was gunned down after he perpetrated a school shooting. He appeared as a ghost throughout the season.

Today's panel consisted of executive producer Alexis Martin Woodall, and stars Paulson, Kathy Bates, Emma Roberts, Adina Porter, Billie Lourd, and Leslie Grossman. All have appeared in at least one previous season of AHS. "The story begins with the end of the world and then 'our' world begins," said Woodall. "It starts in the real world. It’s very tangible."

As is the norm with AHS, the details are few and far between. "We are sorry we are being so cagey," Woodall apologized. "There is a specific mystery to the show that is better when it unfolds. I can’t give you specifics about what the devil child will do but it’s fun."

Devil child? Outside the poster that was revealed at SDCC, this is the first mention of a devil child. Since Constance is coming back, could it be the child she stole at the end of Murder House? Constance took the living Harmon twin at the end of Murder House to raise as her own... but Michael revealed himself to be quite a little hellion when, at age three, he killed his nanny. 

Some of the actresses gave up their character names. Some are new -- Grossman plays a character named Coco St. Pierre Vanderbilt, and Bates plays someone named Ms. Meade -- and some are familiar. Roberts will play Madison Montgomery, the witch she played in Season 3's Coven. "I was told by the director yesterday to play bitchier, which I did not think was possible," Roberts said of her mean girl character. Paulson confirmed she will return as Billie Dean, the psychic from Murder House (and a few other seasons) as well as Cordelia, the Supreme Witch from Coven. "Cordelia is still the Supreme at the beginning of our story, but I don’t know how long that will last," Paulson says. These are the only details about her character she alluded to.

Paulson was asked if the Harmon family will return this season. She doesn't know. "I asked Tim Minear and John Grey to tell me about the next episode and they did not know [anything]," Bates said to back her up. It's literal when these ladies say they don't know. However, Woodall did say that all the witches from Coven were invited back, but whether they return is to be determined. 

American Horror Story: Apocalypse premieres on Sept. 12 at 10pm on FX. 

Click here for SYFY WIRE’s full coverage of the TCA 2018 summer press tour.