American Horror Story season 9 might be the Murder House/Coven crossover Ryan Murphy has long been promising. The AHS mastermind first announced the crossover in 2016 and has since slowly unveiled details. Last January, he told EW that it will center around a character from season 1, Murder House, who's suddenly thrust into the world of the witch academy featured in season 3's Coven.
It's not yet clear who that character will be, but the season will undoubtedly require some multi-faceted performances, as many of the Murder House stars were also featured prominently in Coven. Recurring players Taissa Farmiga, Sarah Paulson, Evan Peters, Denis O'Hare, Jessica Lange, and Jamie Brewer are among those who will need to pull off double roles if brought back. In fact, the only two main characters not featured in both seasons are Connie Britton (Vivien Harmon) — who recently made her return to the Murphy-verse on 9-1-1 — and Dylan McDermott (Ben Harmon), who last appeared in season 2's Asylum.
For now, Murphy is focused on the upcoming eighth season, which he recently revealed will be set in the future. But behind the scenes, the crossover is also coming together, and it's looking like it will be set for season 9. As Murphy told EW in a recent interview:
"We’re working on it, but it’s not going to be the next season,” Murphy said. “Next season is season 8, and it’ll probably be the one after that. “We’ve already met about it and outlined it, but it won’t be next, because some of the people are not available."
Because Murphy's working with such a large cast of actors, whether or not that will happen all comes down to timing. He continued:
"I want all of them. I want Dylan, and Connie and Jessica [Lange]. They’ve all said — Kathy Bates, too — everybody who is involved in the show has always said, ‘Yeah, that sounds like fun, let’s get the band back together again.’ So that is one of the reasons why the writing process of that season is taking longer because it’s literally 25 people’s schedules. But I’m hopeful they will all be back."
Generally, AHS' anthology format allows Murphy to cast based on availability and interest. Each season starts with a new premise, allowing him to reuse past actors as he sees fit and bring on new ones where needed. But now he'll have to work with a new challenge: Coordinating timing for those who've already been involved and, in some cases, moved on to other projects.
Conceptually, though, it should be familiar territory. Both Murder House and Coven covered multiple periods in time, so it's natural that the crossover would do the same, and AHS has always operated within a connecting universe. Gabourey Sidibe made a brief cameo in season 5's Hotel as Coven's Queenie; Paulson popped up in Roanoke as Asylum's Lana Winters, and the season finale of the seventh and most recent installment, Cult, confirmed it was connected to Asylum, Roanoke, and Freak Show. It will involve some careful storytelling (and scheduling), but when it does arrive, the crossover should fit seamlessly within American Horror Story's bizarre but beloved world.