American Horror Story is ramping up the mystery factor for its anticipated sixth season. Whereas in prior years, creator Ryan Murphy has announced the theme, cast and character descriptions ahead of the season's debut, this season he and the cast are working overtime to keep every detail under wraps.
To keep viewers on their toes, FX has even released fake teasers for the season, making it nearly impossible to pin down the real theme. But even with all this smoke and mirrors, some details about the season have managed to leak. Check out everything we know about Season 6 below:
There will be multiple timelines: In January, FX CEO John Landgraf told reporters that Season 6 will be "set in two time periods" - specifically, it will be "in the present, with echoes of the past."
AHS has always loved jumping around in time, so this doesn't come as too much of a surprise, but it does raise a few more questions: Will each timeline feature its own ongoing, but intertwined storylines, a la Asylum? Or will the show simply present a series of flashbacks that fill in backstories for present day events, a la Murder House and Hotel? We'll just have to wait and see, but the teasers definitely make it seem as though at least one of the timelines will include a rural farm setting.
The lost colony of Roanoke will factor in: Earlier this summer, TMZ released photos from the set showing a 16th-century farm, and reported that cast members were seen dressed in Colonial clothing. They also leaked a shot of a tree with the word "croatoan" carved into it, giving the first real clue as to what we can expect of Season 6.
For those who need a history refresher: Roanoke was an English settlement off the coast of North Carolina established in 1585. However, when a group arrived in 1590 to deliver supplies, all 117 colonists had disappeared. The only clue to what happened to the colonists was the word "croatoan" carved into a fencepost. The mystery of the lost Roanaoke colony has baffled historians for centuries, and it looks as though Murphy will share his own theory this season.
This wouldn't be the first time Roanoke has been featured on AHS. In the first season, Billie Dean Howard (Sarah Paulson) said that a Native American chief banished the ghosts of the Roanoke settlers with a curse and that "croatoan" was the word that sealed the spell. However, when Violet (Taissa Farmiga) attempted to use "croatoan" to banish Chad (Zachary Quinto), it didn't exactly have the intended result.
Since we know Season 6 will span multiple timelines, it's possible we could see the ghosts of the Roanaoke colonists haunting the present day, or whatever killed the colonists wreaking havoc in modern times. Another popular theory is that the colonists' disappearance was linked to a demonic cult, which could still be around today.
Kids will play a major role: Murphy has promised that this season will feature "elements of children," which in the world of American Horror Story almost definitely means "elements of super creepy children." (See: the Infantata, Bartholomew, the Countess' vampire brood, etc.) Not to mention, AHS has yet to follow-up on the birth of the Antichrist, something viewers have been dying to learn more about since the first season.
At the end of Murder House, Vivien Harmon (Connie Britton) gave birth to the Rubber Man's (Evan Peters) child, who was named Michael and adopted by Constance Langdon (Jessica Lange). According to the series, Michael is the literal Antichrist and it's about time Murphy shows viewers what exactly his villainous destiny entails.
On the other hand, the season could follow the lives of a group of adults and simply feature flashbacks to their lives as children. Maybe what ties this specific group of characters together isn't where they're living now - as was the case with Murder House, Asylum, Coven, Freak Show and Hotel - but where they were living as kids. In Asylum, we heard multiple references to St. Ursula's home for lost children, where Lana (Paulson) and Kit's (Peters) children were both sent. Hotel also made many references to the Thatcher School, which Scarlett and Lachlan attend.
It's possible one of these institutions could act as the main settings for Season 6, which will feature a large, dilapidated building (complete with a school bell out front), according to TMZ. The building is reportedly set in the middle of a forest, which would match the rural setting many are predicting for the season.
Lots of your favorite stars are returning: Although we know little about any of the characters in this season, we know a whole lot of stars who will appear. Paulson, Peters, Lady Gaga, Angela Bassett, Matt Bomer, Kathy Bates, Finn Wittrock, Wes Bentley, Cheyenne Jackson, Denis O'Hare, and Leslie Jordan will return for unknown roles. Emma Roberts has also hinted that she might play a small part in Season 6, and there are even rumors that American Crime Story star Cuba Gooding Jr. will appear.
So far, Bassett is the only star to give any hints about her character, teasing that this season she will be incredibly intuitive, "imbibe a little too much" and that Paulson is "somehow the boss of me."
Previous seasons have also featured actors reprising their roles from other installments, so don't be too shocked if more familiar faces pop up in minor roles. Because, as the trailer above reminds us, every season of AHS is intricately connected.
It might answer a huge Asylum mystery: Asylum is widely considered American Horror Story's best season, but that's not to say it doesn't have its weak points. Namely: the alien robot spiders.
After Tate was abducted by aliens and institutionalized at Briarcliffe, Dr. Arden (Dr. Arden) removed a small metal spider from his neck. It had been placed there by his extraterrestrial captors, but its purpose was never explained. Various promotional materials for Season 6 have referenced both spiders and aliens, but one teaser in particular appears to be a direct connection to Asylum.
In the video "Backtrack," we see a trail of spiders walking into a slit in the back of a person's neck, which is either a huge misdirect or a major clue. Only time will tell.
Working in favor of this theory is the fact that, in the photos of the main house TMZ released, the center window of the building appears to feature a spider web design.
Cults might play a major role: One of the most popular theories about Season 6 is that it will center on a cult of some sort. There are suggestions that Charles Manson will appear this season, or even a Satanic cult with ties to the Colonial era. If it's the latter, that would also provide an easy way to re-incorporate Michael (and possibly a Jessica Lange cameo if she reprised her role as Michael's adoptive mother for a brief cameo).
However, if the alien-centric teasers are to be believed, then we could also see a cult like Heaven's Gate, whose members committed mass suicide in order for their souls to board the spaceship trailing the Hale-Bopp comet.
It premieres really soon: American Horror Story's sixth season has forgone its traditional October debut and will instead premiere Wednesday at 10/9c on FX.
Are you excited?