Dylan McDermott and Connie Britton
[SPOILER WARNING: This story contains key plot details from Wednesday's season finale of American Horror Story. Read at your own risk.]
American Horror Story really lived up to its name, huh?
In the FX series' first season finale, the Harmons were finally reunited in the afterlife when Ben's vengeful former lover Hayden hanged him by the chandelier, staging it to look like a suicide. (You'll recall that Vivien and Violet, Ben's wife and daughter, already died, respectively, in childbirth and by overdosing on pills.)
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So what does this mean for Season 2? Will Connie Britton and Dylan McDermott, who starred as Vivien and Ben, return to haunt the new owners of Murder House? Nope! "Those characters and those stories are done," creator Ryan Murphy told reporters Thursday morning. "Every season of the show will be a different haunting. Every season will have a beginning, a middle and an end. What you saw in the finale was the end of the Harmon house. The second season of the show will be a brand new home or building to haunt."
Murphy says the show was always intended to be an anthology, with a new set of cast members and characters each season. But there will be some residual elements from Season 1. "Some of [the actors] will be coming back... so there will be familiar faces and also new faces on the show, but they will be playing completely different characters, creatures and monsters, etc."
"Connie and Dylan will not be playing the leads of the show," Murphy reiterated. "But I'd love for them to come back and do something, albeit a different part or a smaller part or a cameo." He cites New York's Mercury Theatre, a troupe founded by Orson Welles and John Houseman in the 1930s, as an inspiration. "You have a cast of actors that you love and believe in and you just rotate them every season.... I have been getting a lot of calls from film actors who've always wanted to dabble in television."
While Murphy declined to specify which original actors they are negotiating with to return for next season, he says, "I'd have them [all] back in a heartbeat." An announcement of new cast members and the second season story line is slated to come in February. Season 2 is tentatively scheduled to premiere in late September or October 2012.
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Until then, Murphy says he's happy with the finale, in which the reunited ghost Harmons decorated the Christmas tree together. "I thought it was a great goodbye to those characters," he said. "I felt a lot of peace with how they ended up and I hope other people felt that as well. We're simply not interested in doing another season with all those people trapped in the house. The criticism had we done that would've been that it would be the same old thing. You really can't win sometimes... I can say with 100 percent optimism, I really think they will love the second season, perhaps even more so based on what we've cooked up."
So what is in store for the second season? Murphy says there are plenty of tales to choose from, "Be it serial-killing stories, true crime stories or prison stories. Every year of the show is almost like a miniseries in itself.... The only thing I don't think I would do would be a season about vampires. The season we're planning now is very different from the California house approach." Murphy teases that there is a clue within the last three episodes that indicates exactly what next season will be about. Any guesses?
What did you think of the American Horror Story finale? Will you miss the Harmon family? Hit the comments with your thoughts.