Ryan Murphy likes to keep details about his horror juggernaut scare ahead of each season's premiere, but between hints dropped by Murphy and some of the series' stars we actually have a pretty good idea of what American Horror Story: Apocalypse will look like.
Here's everything we know so far.
It will premiere really, really soon. The next installment will debut on Wednesday, Sept. 12 at 10/9c on FX.
It will be the Murder House and Coven crossover season. Ahead of Cult, Murphy teased that one upcoming season of American Horror Story would be a crossover between the Murder House and Covenseasons. However, it initially appeared as though the anticipated crossover season would have to wait until Season 9 (which has already been ordered by FX) and that Season 8 would tell an entirely new story.
But in mid-June, Murphy tweeted out that Season 8 would be the crossover season after all, blowing our minds and getting us all riled up for the fall. That means everything Murphy teased about Season 8 (below) could very well be pushed back a season... or it could still apply to the crossover. We simply don't know!
As for what was said about Season 8, Murphy compared it to the tone of two prior fan-favorite seasons, saying, "It's heightened. It's not necessarily as real and grounded as the past season [Cult]. We're sort of getting back to Asylum, and Coven. That's the tone of it." So will that now be Season 9 or was he talking about Apocalypse all along?
It is about a very literal apocalypse. Subtly is a rarity when it comes to Ryan Murphy, so it should come as no surprise that Apocalypse is about an actual apocalypse. "The story begins with the end of the world and then our world begins," teased executive producer Alexis Martin Woodall in August.
Jessica Lange will be back! After exiting the series following Freak Show, Jessica Lange will make her anticipated American Horror Story return, appearing in the sixth episode as her Murder House character Constance Langdon.
Some of your other favorite Murder House and Coven characters are returning. Sarah Paulson has been confirmed to be reprising her roles as Billie Dean Howard and Cordelia Foxx (who will still be the reigning Supreme when Apocalypse picks up). Taissa Farmiga will be playing Violet Harmon and Zoe Benson. Evan Peters is confirmed to be return as Tate, but it doesn't appear as though he'll be playing Kyle, sadly. Connie Britton and Dylan McDermott are also confirmed to be returning as Ben and Vivien Harmon. Stevie Nicks will return to play herself once more, while Madison Montgomery (Emma Roberts), Queenie (Gabourey Sidibe), Myrtle Snow (Frances Conroy) and Misty Day (Lily Rabe) will all magically rise from the dead. (Don't forget that Queenie was killed in Hotel before you jump down our throats here.)
Sarah Paulson will also play a third role. In addition to playing Billie Dean and Cordelia, Paulson will also play a woman named Wilhemina Venable. A teaser featuring Paulson in a severe new look lead to speculation that this may be Venable and that her new character may be involved in some sort of post-apocalyptic lottery which determines who survives and who dies. The first official trailer somewhat confirmed this theory, revealing that Venable runs a fallout shelter Outpost 3, in which she has strict rules and even stricter punishments.
In January, Murphy had also revealed that Paulson will be wearing dental appliances for Season 8, which will mark the actress' first major AHS transformation since she played conjoined twins Bette and Dot in Freak Show. We couldn't spot any dental appliances in the teaser Paulson is featured in, but maybe that wasn't actually her in character or Venable or maybe we're blind!
Joan Collins will play Evan Peters' grandmother. In addition to playing Tate again, Ryan Murphy has revealed that Peters will also play a comedic hairdresser type Mr. Gallant -- a role he teased with an Instagram post -- and that Peters will star alongside Joan Collins, who will play his grandmother Evie Gallant.
It will take place in the near future. Murphy has revealed that the season will be set sometime in the future. At first, he left the timeline purposefully obscure, teasing, "I think people will like it, it's different from what we've done before, but I always try and do the opposite of what I've done on that show." He has since revealed, however, that it'll take place approximately 18 months in the future, which has led some to speculate that it may be set in or around a nuclear fallout shelter of some sort, given the apocalyptic title.
Kathy Bates will be back in a prominent role. While Peters and Paulson were always expected to return, Kathy Bates' involvement in Season 8 was a happy surprise. After joining the series in Coven, Bates was forced to sit out Cult due to scheduling conflicts. However, she'll make her triumphant return to AHS for Apocalypse where her character Ms. Miram Meade will seemingly play the right-hand woman of Venable at Outpost 3. (We doubt any of the witches are dumb enough to revive Delphine LaLaurie given that Queenie finally figured out how to kill her, so we bet Bates' Coven character will remain stuck in eternal damnation throughout Apocalypse.)
We're finally going to see Michael Langdon again. American Crime Storybreakout Cody Fern joins the American Horror Story family as grown-up Michael Langdon, the evil spawn of Vivien and Tate from Murder House who just so happens to be the Antichrist. The last time we saw Michael, he was only three years old and had already committed his first murder, so we can't imagine the horror he's gotten up to since.
A lot of other former American Horror Story stars are returning. We don't know too much about the new characters in Apocalypse but we do know that Billie Lourd will play Mallory, Adina Porter will play Dinah Stevens and Leslie Grossman will play the amazingly named Coco St. Pierre Vanderbilt. All three characters will be residing in Outpost 3 under the rule of Venable. In addition, Cheyenne Jackson and Billy Eichner will star in roles that remain shrouded in mystery (although the trailer reveals that Eichner's character was friends with Coco before the apocalypse).
There are some exciting new faces in the mix too! UnREAL's Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman, The Path's Kyle Allen and Ashley Santos will all appear in recurring parts. Allen and Santos will play Timothy Campbell and Emily, respectively, who are taken into Outpost 3, where their attraction toward each other will likely raise issues with Venable's strict "no unapproved sex" rule.
It might have something to do with lust or violence. Okay, okay, we know that every season of American Horror Story has something to do with lust and violence, but according to a popular fan theory (which Ryan Murphy loves!), each season of AHS thus far has corresponded to one of the nine circles of hell. Murder House was limbo, Asylum was fraud, Freak Showwas greed, and so on. The two that haven't been "used" yet are lust and violence, so it's possible those will play out across Seasons 8 and 9.
It might have something to do with a revolution. Murphy is known for hiding clues in each season about the theme for the next season. In Cult, as some eagle-eyed (and -eared) viewers have noted on Reddit, there have been a number of references to a "revolution" and a "crown." The opening credit sequence also features a statue of George Washington. Is Murphy trying to hop on board the Hamilton train and take us into some dystopian future American revolution that finds civilians starting a new world after the one we know has ended? And if so, can Lin-Manuel Miranda please guest-star?
Butte, Montana may factor in somehow. Another moment in Cult that some viewers glommed onto was the repeated references to Butte, Montana after Winter (Billie Lourd) buys Beverly Hope (Adina Porter) a train ticket out of town. Could this be the setting for next season or the hometown of one of its lead characters? For some reason, is Butte the only survivable city on Earth after whatever apocalypse goes down? It's impossible these days to separate clues for red herrings, but anything is possible.