The premise of American Horror Story (AHS) Season 6 has been revealed at last. After months of speculation and mysterious hints, the Season 6 premiere finally confirmed that the theme for the latest round of the anthology horror series will be My Roanoke Nightmare.
As horror fans know, Roanoke, North Carolina is the site of the Lost Colony that mysteriously disappeared in 1590. More than 100 people in the colony vanished without explanation, save for a single clue: the word “CROATOAN” carved into a piece of wood in the area. Fans started theorizing that Roanoke could be the location for AHS‘s Season 6 earlier this year, after TMZ leaked on-set photos depicting that word carved in a tree.
With a disclaimer flashing at the beginning of the show warning, “The following story is based on true events,” the Season 6 premiere opens as a true crime style docuseries chronicling the story of mixed-racial couple Shelby (Lily Rabe) and husband Matt (André Holland). The two meet and fall in love in Los Angeles, but end up moving to the countryside after a traumatic incident. But not long after settling in their 1792 farmhouse in the North Carolina woods, things start to go seriously wrong. In addition to featuring interviews with Shelby and Matt, the docuseries, titled My Roanoke Nightmare, features dramatic reenactments of the couple’s experience, portrayed by AHS regular Sarah Paulson and series newcomer Cuba Gooding Jr.
While the premiere may have solved the initial mystery over the show’s theme, there are still plenty of big factors left to be uncovered. Here are six questions about AHS Season 6 that still need to be answered.
1. What’s the official subtitle?
Though the Season 6 premiere was framed as a true crime documentary series called My Roanoke Nightmare, the episode stopped short of confirming whether that’s the official subtitle of the season or just part the general theme. A trailer released soon after the premiere (seen above) continued the docuseries format, but also neglected to reveal a formal subtitle as it has in previous seasons, with Murder House, Asylum, Coven, Freak Show, and Hotel.
2. Will My Roanoke Nightmare span the entire season?
The season premiere was curiously titled “Chapter 1,” leading some fans to wonder whether each week would bring a reenactment of a different scary story (in the vein of reality ghost-hunting shows). The promo clip continued to follow Matt and Shelby (and the actors who play them) in various nightmare scenarios, so it looks like the show may be sticking with those characters… at least, for now.
Then again, FX’s head of marketing, Stephanie Gibbons has already hinted that there’s more to the theme than what we’ve seen so far. “You’ve read the first chapter, but it’s far from the end of the book,” she told The Hollywood Reporter. “This season is very different — and I mean that in the most thrilling and awesome way — than anything that’s come before it.”
3. Will it maintain its documentary-style format?
The super meta docuseries-style of the premiere made for some fun — if confusing — moments, with four members of the cast playing the same couple in either on-camera interviews or dramatic reenactments. But it remains to be seen whether the series will follow with that same format for the rest of the season. Though the teaser seems to indicate it will, fans may not want to put too much trust in the trailers, as Gibbons has confirmed that this season’s promotion will purposely be less explicit than past seasons, in order to avoid spoiling any upcoming plot points.
4. When will the idea of children come in?
Earlier this year, series creator Ryan Murphy dropped some vague hints about this season — specifically, that children will figure heavily into the theme. Other than a brief image of a crying baby and the mention of Shelby’s miscarriage, we have yet to see many hints of kids so far. Fans will have to stay tuned to see whether they’ll show up later or whether Murphy ended up going in an entirely different direction than previously expected.
5. Where’s the rest of the cast?
The premiere episode focused mostly on Rabe and Holland as Shelby and Matt, and Paulson and Gooding Jr. as the stars in the reenactments of Shelby and Matt. A handful of other cast members showed up throughout the episode — including Chaz Bono as a hillbilly neighbor, Adina Porter and Angela Bassett as Matt’s sister Lee, and Kathy Bates as a scary Lost Colony ghost. But other expected AHS vets, like Evan Peters, Lady Gaga, Matt Bomer, and Cheyenne Jackson, were nowhere to be seen. So when will they show up? That remains unclear, but their names were included in the rolling credits, so fans can expect them to make an appearance at some point in the remainder of the season.
6. How will it tie all the previous seasons together?
Murphy has suggested that this season will begin to tie together the mythology of the entire franchise. So far, it’s unclear how exactly how it will do that. But one note worth mentioning: Roanoke was brought up back in Season 1, when Sarah Paulson’s character, the psychic Billie Dean Howard, briefly told the story of the colony’s vanishing.
Clearly, there’s a lot riding on this season. Viewers will have to wait for answers as it all plays out.
American Horror Story airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. EST on FX.
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