By now, fans of FX’s American Horror Story are used to being kept in the dark about the theme for each new season. That’s why many viewers were taken aback when creator Ryan Murphy recently revealed the premise of the show’s upcoming Season 7 — and he didn’t stop there. Not only did Murphy confirm the concept of the entire season, he’s since gone on to drop a few major hints about what fans can expect from the next batch of episodes.
So what do we know about American Horror Story Season 7 so far? Here are nine spoilers we just learned about the anticipated new season of the anthology horror drama.
1. The title is American Horror Story: Cult
As revealed by Murphy at 2017’s San Diego Comic-Con, American Horror Story Season 7 is subtitled Cult. Though details about what exactly that means are scarce, the show has since dropped a teaser, showcasing the creepy clown and monsters that Murphy has been suggesting on social media.
As seen below, the clip shows a group of clowns gathering in a cult-like formation, while asking, “Do you ever feel alone? Does it seem like no one really understands you? Do some people just make you sick? Are you afraid?”
2. It will boast a modern-day political theme
Ryan Murphy shocked fans when he confirmed that Season 7 will tackle a very recent political event: the 2016 presidential election. The season “is going to be about the election that we just went through, so I think that will be interesting for a lot of people,” Murphy told Andy Cohen in an interview (above) while promoting his new FX anthology series, Feud.
Murphy has since clarified his comments, suggesting that the season won’t necessary be a retelling of the election, but more of an exploration of its aftermath. As he told The Hollywood Reporter:
What I’m interested in doing is not just the obvious, single-minded point of view but rather express all sides of that equation. What needs to happen in our country now is for people to listen to each other — we may not always agree with each other and we may be horrified by what the other side is doing but we have to move toward understanding. So that’s one example of what I’m going to do.
Murphy confirmed the election-related theme before announcing the Cult subtitle, but has yet to clarify exactly how the two will tie together. Presumably, the season will explore the outcome of the election through the eyes of a cult.
3. The cast (so far)
Murphy’s frequent collaborators, Sarah Paulson and Evan Peters, are both set to return to the AHS franchise for Season 7. The two most recently co-starred in Season 6 of the series, AHS: Roanoke. Season 7 will mark the eighth AHS character that Paulson has played and the seventh from Peters.
As for who they’ll play in the coming season, Murphy has confirmed that the two will play lovers named Ally and Kai. The duo will be involved in a “love story for the ages,” with Evans — who will boast blue hair for the role — reportedly in for his “heaviest season yet.”
According to Deadline, Billy Eichner has been cast in a “heavily recurring role” in Season 7 of AHS as well. Though specifics about Eichner’s character are being kept under wraps, the publication suggests that he’s playing a close confidant of Paulson’s character and will appear in about six or seven episodes throughout the season.
Per Deadline, Billie Lourd, who previously starred in the Murphy-produced Scream Queens, has also joined the cast in a still-unspecified lead role in the upcoming season.
Leslie Grossman (What I Like About You) is joining the cast in Season 7, presumably in a comedic role, although details haven’t been specified.
Peter and Paulson’s fellow AHS vets, Frances Conroy, Mare Winningham, Adina Porter and Cheyenne Jackson, will also return. Meanwhile, it’s recently been confirmed that Lena Dunham will show up in one episode.
4. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will be portrayed in Season 7 — as background characters
While specifics about Paulson and Peters’ characters haven’t been confirmed, there’s one person that fans can be certain Paulson won’t be playing: former presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton.
“I think people literally think Sarah Paulson is playing Hillary Clinton, and I wanted to clarify that that is not true,” Murphy told E! News. “Horror Story is always about allegory, so the election is allegory. It’s our jumping off point.”
That being said, both Clinton and Trump will be portrayed in the upcoming season, but more as side characters than the series’ main stars. Actors for their characters also haven’t been cast yet. “No, not yet,” Murphy said when asked whether he knows who will be playing the then-candidates. “We’re halfway through the writing and not yet.”
5. It will start on election night
Rather than recounting the many months of campaigning, Murphy says Season 7 will start right on election night. “It’s very scary, that night for many people,” he told E! News, also adding that the season will explore “what happened on that night and the fallout of that night, which to many people from all sides of the camps, is a horror story.”
6. It may feature some Freak Show characters
Prior to revealing Season 7’s election theme, Murphy had suggested that the season would bring back some characters from AHS Season 4, Freak Show. “Next year, we will be going back to some Freak Show characters, deeper histories and mythologies,” Ryan Murphy told Entertainment Weekly in 2016. “So we’re sort of still exploring season 4 in season 7.”
Whether that’s still the case now that the theme has been confirmed is unclear, but fans should stay on the lookout for any familiar faces in the coming season.
7. It will connect to previous AHS seasons
Murphy has confirmed that all of the seasons of the anthology series are connected in some way. Season 6, AHS: Roanoke, began to lay the groundwork for some of those connections and that trend will definitely continue in Season 7.
“You’ll see it in season six, and then you’ll really see it after,” Murphy told The Hollywood Reporter ahead of Roanoke‘s premiere. “We lay a lot of pipe, and you’ll see it explode in seasons seven and eight.”
8. The premiere date
We know Season 7 won’t premiere until fall 2017, although a specific premiere date has yet to be confirmed. The show has traditionally kicked off each season sometime in early October, but last year saw a change of pace, with Season 6 premiering in mid-September and consisting of only 10 episodes (instead of the usual 12). Whether Season 7 will also see a slight alteration in scheduling and episode count remains to be seen.
9. This won’t be the last season
AHS fans can rest comfortably knowing that the series is far from over. FX has preemptively renewed the horror show through Season 9, which means viewers can expect new episodes every year through at least early 2019.
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