As American Horror Story's third season draws to a close, executive producer Ryan Murphy has begun dropping hints about the plot of Season 4. So far, he's revealed that the season will likely shoot in Santa Fe or New Orleans, where they shot this season. And on Wednesday, Murphy told Entertainment Weekly that the story would take place in 1950.
"If you look historically what happened in the year 1950, there's some more clues in that year," Murphy said. "It's a period piece. We try and do the opposite of what we've done before. Jessica Lange has already started practicing her German accent, so I'm very excited!"
With that in mind, TVGuide.com has dug into the history books — cough, Wikipedia — to identify the strange occurrences of the period that might serve as source material for a season that requires Lange to speak German and that might involve the American Southwest. We're talking after World War II, so it's not like the Nazis will be advancing on New Mexico... we think. With all that in mind, here are our five best guesses, but let's be honest, American Horror Story is so thematically jam-packed, the right answer could be all five.
1. Nuclear panic: In January of 1950, President Harry S. Truman ordered the development of the hydrogen bomb. Just five years prior, New Mexico was ground zero for governmental nuclear testing (see: The Trinity Test). Post-apocalyptic stories are ripe for horror — just watch The Hills Have Eyes. On second thought, don't. It's scary as hell. But we could totally see Murphy delve into the physical aftereffects of the creation of these weapons.
2. Roswell, New Mexico: Yes, the storied Roswell "UFO" crash took place in 1947, but the so-called "Area 51" storage area was created shortly thereafter. Season 2 paired aliens with Nazis — with Lange apparently playing a German, could Murphy be planning a follow-up?
3. MIA aircraft: In early 1950, a U.S. Air Force transport plane disappeared over the Yukon territory. The plane, 36 passengers and eight crew members are still missing 60 years later. Will Murphy "find" them and tell us their — presumably horrifying — stories?
4. Top secret: Hey, look at that, 1950 was the first time the term "top secret" was used! That might come in handy.
5. Circus life: Clowns are scary, right? The rumor that Season 4 follows a traveling circus — and that Lange will play the owner of a German troupe rebuilding after WWII bombing — is interesting. Also, for what it's worth, in that same year, a rampaging Ringling Brothers & Barnum and Bailey Circus elephant crushed a 5-year-old's head in Sarasota, Fla. So there's that.
What would you like to see in Season 4? Hit the comments with your theories!
American Horror Story airs Wednesdays at 10/9c on FX.