After the announcement that Jessica Lange and Zachary Quinto would be heading up the second season of FX's American Horror Story, creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk recently revealed during the show's PaleyFest panel that three other actors would return for major roles in season 2.
It probably comes as no surprise, but Sarah Paulson, Lily Rabe and Evan Peters have all been written into the anthology series' second descent into terror.
Paulson (The Spirit, Game Change) played Lange's psychic friend Billie Dean Howard, while Rabe portrayed the original owner of Murder House, and eternally grieving mother, Nora Montgomery. Both will be back in the fold in unspecified roles.
As far as returning cast members go, Peters (Kick Ass) is the only one to have appeared in as many episodes as Lange (all 12 of the first season), and was the catalyst for much of the season's storyline and most shocking events. While its safe to say that he won't be Tate this time around, there's an even better chance Peters will be playing something of a protagonist in season 2.
According to Murphy, the returning players will be acting as "the opposite of what they played [in season 1]." So even though there were no specific details given on any of the new characters, at least fans will know that season 2 is providing an entirely different approach to the characters, as well as the setting.
Murphy stopped short of providing any info on just where American Horror Story was headed, but we already know that the California dream home idea is not being revisited, and many have begun to speculate that season 2 will take place in some kind of institution on the east coast. That theory jives well with previous revelations that the crux of the second season will not be a ghost story.
That certainly leaves a lot of horror themes open but, given that Murphy has already nixed any appearance from overdone horror staples such as vampires and werewolves, it doesn't mean the show's supernatural element has been lost.
"Our only rule on this show was no werewolves and no vampires. I think a supernatural element will always be a part of the show. We're going to do something much more historically accurate."
Given the amount of seemingly random and bizarre imagery that was featured from the opening credits on through the season finale, making season 2 of American Horror Story a trippy nightmare set against the backdrop of a gothic, east coast asylum would certainly be a good choice. But whatever Murphy and Falchuk decide to do, the real draw may be in seeing the actors take on new characters.
That doesn't mean the baby is being thrown out with the bath water, though. Murphy acknowledged that certain questions from season 1 will be answered eventually – but for season 2, the show plans to tell a new story, with new characters, so don't expect to see the Harmons.
"Anyone can pop up at any time...the Harmons were exhausted, let's give them at least one season off," Murphy said.
American Horror Story returns to FX sometime in the fall.
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