‘American Horror Story’ Season 3 Will Be Subtitled ‘Coven’

Published 2 years ago by , Updated March 20th, 2013 at 6:00 am,

Jessica Lange American Horror Story American Horror Story Season 3 Will Be Subtitled Coven

American Horror Story‘s third installment doesn’t premiere until the fall of this year, but that didn’t stop creator Ryan Murphy from giving his audience an outline for the season this past Friday at PaleyFest. Speaking on the concluding panel of the festival, Murphy offered some choice hints about the shape of S3’s narrative and revealed its subtitle.

Vindicating fan speculation that the horror series’ latest go-round will revolved around witches, Murphy has dubbed the season American Horror Story: Coven. During the AHS panel, attended by Murphy, as well as several AHS cast members, he also confirmed that shooting will take place in several locations across the country – though he only mentioned New Orleans by name.

Perhaps most importantly, Murphy – joined on stage by Kathy Bates, the newest addition to AHS‘s cast- teased out Bates’ character and made some elliptical comments about her role in the season. Here’s the direct quote from Murphy:

“I wanted to see a lot of scenes with Jessica Lange and Kathy Bates going at it […] so that’s what you’re going to see.”

It’s no secret that Bates signed on to play the returning Lange’s nemesis. What remains a mystery is whether that means Bates is playing the villain or the hero – and what that means for the rest of the show. Taking Murphy’s words at face value and keeping Bates’ and Lange’s strengths as actresses in mind, though, there are any number of directions Coven could go; the season could detail a power struggle unfolding within one specific conclave of witches, with Bates and Lange vying for control – or it could focus on a clash between two separate covens, one led by Bates and the other led by Lange.

kathy bates American Horror Story Season 3 Will Be Subtitled Coven

Given their immense combined acting prowess, both scenarios feel equally plausible. Lange in particular has historically walked the line between protagonist and antagonist on both Asylum and Murder House, and Oscar-winner Bates has deep reserves of emotive power at her beck and call. No matter what side of the moral spectrum they stand on, watching the pair butt heads should be nothing short of epic.

The mention of morality raises a slew of other questions about Coven‘s plot. Will its witches be kindly witches, a’la Glinda, or vicious Hansel & Gretel-styled creatures? Will the show treat magic as Buffy the Vampire Slayer does, envisioning it as a female, earthly force, or will we see wart-nosed monstrosities riding on brooms and baking children into pies? Of course, the more pressing question is whether or not magic will even play a role in the season’s story; at the panel, Murphy chose to remain mum on the subject. (Though he did reveal that, just as season one had the Rubber Man and season two had Bloody Face, season three will have its own signature monster, who will be female.)

American Horror Story Season 3 Coven fan art American Horror Story Season 3 Will Be Subtitled Coven

Asylum and Murder House both go pretty deep into supernatural territory, so spellcraft seems likely to crop up throughout Coven‘s narrative. And since Murphy also identified “female power” as one of S3’s focuses during the PaleyFest panel, it’s probably a safe bet that he’ll treat magic – should it exist in Coven, of course – more in the Buffy vein. He’s nothing if not unpredictable, though, so any and all guesswork could prove completely fruitless. We’ll have to wait until the fall to see.

Screen Ranters, are you ready to get bewitched by Coven?


American Horror Story: Coven premieres this fall on FX.

Source: Entertainment Weekly

Witch Artwork by “AtomHawk” @ DeviantArt

Follow Andy Crump on Twitter @agracru
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  1. Im ready. More than the storyline and supernatural theme, Im more looking forward to the dialogue and acting these superb actors could bring to the show!

  2. I believe Bates is playing a villain. In an interview, I think Murphy said Bates will be playing a character far more deranged than her one in Misery.

    • But even if she is, with this show, that doesn’t necessarily mean she’ll be a villain.

      • She’ll play Madame LaLaurie a villainous slave owner from New Orleans whom a mob chased out of town. Her home still stands today in the French Quarter.

  3. All I ask is that they reel this season back a bit. Asylum threw too much stuff at us and it was just a huge cluster.

  4. The title “Coven” makes me think of the documentary “American Movie”.

  5. I hope its better then season 2 & less scattered

  6. Asylum was beyond imagination; can’t wait to see this.

  7. i thought season two was better then season 1..

  8. Loved season 2, but season 1 was goood too. Cannnot wait for season 3.

  9. I’ve never experienced AHS to be a hero/villain type of show. It’s seems every character from both prior seasons tools turns playing both sides of good and evil. Funny that Ryan Murphy would say that?

  10. Season 2 was absolute garbage! I stopped watching after the skin lamp episode.
    Why the f*ck do you think they had to add a big name like Kathy Bates?? They’re doing so to try and obscure the memory of how badly written and acted season 2 was.

    • Such an invalid opinion. Bates told Lange (because they’re friends) that she wanted to work on this show. Lange then told Murphy this and within no time it was setup. Season 2 was incredibly acted and written, regardless of the content (which worked, since it’s a horror show, not about reality)

  11. What is going to happen with the “alien / ET’s” aspect? That part seemed like left field for me. Hoping there will be an explanation for that. Otherwise, awesome! Can’t wait!

    • the alien part of the show finished how it should. theres is no explanation for why aliens abduct people. if you ask a person who believed they were abducted they wouldnt know why. we can come up with some idea on why but we would truly never know the reason.

      im looking for to upcoming season. i love the idea of wichtes. i hope that they do go the route Buffy did with the magic.

      • Well, the kids said ‘Judy’ was safe although she was gone. So are the aliens going to return her as a witch?

        • Yeah, the aliens will take Judy from the angel of death, probe her with a new personality, wicthtastic powers, probably a new accent, then return her to Earth.

          or you could be wrong.

        • Each season has a different story line so the aliens will not be addressed. It will be a completely new plot with new characters that will have nothing to do with asylum.

  12. Love the show can’t wait to season 3 so anxious

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