The return of American Horror Story is almost here, and hints and details about season seven have begun to trickle in in recent weeks. Creator and executive producer Ryan Murphy appeared at the Television Critics Association's Winter press tour in January and gave up some small but important details - including the addition of two returning cast members! Then, in February, he shared even more exciting details regarding what's to come, including a crazy solid theme. And in July, he gave us a whole new wave of things to obsess over, including the official Cult title, new cast members, and a few terrifying clowns. Here's what we can expect for the next installment of American Horror Story.
1. The First Hints
In an October 2016 cover story with Entertainment Weekly, Ryan Murphy slyly dropped some information on season seven. The idea apparently just came to him. "It comes to me as it always comes to me," he said. "I sit up in bed and I say 'That's it!' I have been mulling a couple of ideas, and I wasn't loving it. Then I was thinking of this other thing, and I literally sat up in bed and said 'That's it!' Whenever it happens it's such a relief because it's so much pressure."
So what, exactly, is the idea? Much like season six's "show-within-a-show" model, the next installment is "also a narratively strange idea," according to Murphy. He also said, "I've already started to call people saying, 'Put this on your calendar.' It's a good one."
2. The Theme
Murphy confirmed that the seventh season will handle the 2016 election as its main horror story, but will not feature Trump or Clinton as characters. The official title is American Horror Story: Cult, and will reportedly begin the day after the election. The imagery for the season has so far included a lot of clowns and bees, which connect to the ideology of a cult.
3. The Cast
Sarah Paulson and Evan Peters, who have been in every season, have already been confirmed. Lily Rabe has also appeared every year, but there's no word on her yet. Three new faces have been added to the cast, however: Billy Eichner, Scream Queens star Billie Lourd, and Arrow's Colton Haynes.
4. The Other Clues
Any diehard AHS fan knows Murphy loves to weave tiny clues into the current season, and if you look at Roanoake, there's plenty of good fodder for what might work its way into next season. Roanoke left us with a mysteriously loose end about Lee's first daughter, Emily. We also have a theory that the next season could be about a shipwreck.
Oh, and just because AHS is supposedly tackling the election, it doesn't mean the aforementioned variables won't come in to play. After all, Murphy is famous for cramming multiple stories into a single season. Asylum may be the most prominent example of this: it handled demonic possession, aliens, serial killers (yes, more than one!), Anne Frank, and even weird, unseen monsters in the woods. And that was just one season. Suffice it to say, an election nightmare and a shipwreck could go hand in hand.
5. The Return of Twisty the Clown
John Carroll Lynch's Twisty the Clown is, hands down, one of the scariest creatures to ever come out of American Horror Story (he first appears in the Freak Show season, and later dies after being stabbed by Edward Mordrake). Because Ryan Murphy clearly wants to make sure you never sleep again, he's bringing the character back for season seven. He announced the news with a photo on Instagram, which shows someone holding what looks like a comic about Twisty called Twisty: The Clown Chronicles, writing, "He's Baaaaaack."
6. The Premiere Date
Obviously, we know AHS won't be back until Fall of 2017. The first five seasons of the show had October premieres; Roanoke was the first season to be moved up to September. So Cult will follow the new tradition and premiere on Sept. 5.