'American Horror Story': What's Next on 'Coven'
Ryan Murphy and the cast preview the third season of FX's horror anthology series.
[Warning: This story contains spoilers from the season three premiere of American Horror Story: Coven.]
Welcome to Coven: The third season of FX's horror anthology opened the doors to Miss Robichaux's Academy for Exceptional Young Ladies on Wednesday with the season premiere of American Horror Story.
Young witches with incredibly tragic powers. A young starlet experiencing the horror of unruly frat boys committing the unthinkable. A Supreme returning to the school -- and her estranged daughter -- in a quest for eternal youth and digging up one of the most terrifying women currently on primetime television. Yep, Ryan Murphy has found a completely new batch of horrors for the witchy-themed Coven.
So what's next? The Hollywood Reporter caught up with co-creator Murphy and the cast at the show's recent West Hollywood premiere party to get the scoop on what's to come in the closed-ended season.
1. Now that we've seen Jessica Lange's Supreme witch, Fiona, dig up Kathy Bates' nightmare-inducing Madame LaLurie, the journey becomes about the former's quest to discover the latter's secret to eternal life. "Even though she's the most powerful woman in the world, she is still fighting aging and still struggling with that," Murphy says. "She realizes that Bates has been given something to make her live forever and she's trying to get to that. She's holding LaLurie ransom."
2. As part of Fiona's mission to find LaLurie's secret, she'll also discover her wicked dark side -- which includes the horrors she committed before she was buried alive. The punishment? Fiona will make LaLurie Queenie's (Gabourey Sidibe) personal slave. "Through that relationship, LaLurie has an entire season of guilt and remorse and is finally learning about the gravity of what she did," Murphy reveals. Says The Big C alum: "She's from a different time where all she knows is me being a slave and she comes at me like that…. There's a weird and beautiful relationship that flows from it and that will be fun to see."
3. The second episode will see Fiona show up at Marie Laveau's (Angela Bassett) amazing cover -- a hair salon named Cornrow City -- in a quest to find the key to eternal life. But it won't be a simple swap (naturally). "Marie Laveau says, 'Well, you give me back LaLurie because I know you dug her up.' And that begins the war," Murphy says. "The idea for the series is that Marie has perfected the idea of eternal life -- which many people say she did and believe she still walks among people in New Orleans. The Salem witches are not immortal; they have not found that ingredient of everlasting life, and that was the only thing keeping Fiona from living forever and taking everybody over." Notes Bassett: "We are at odds. It's them [Fiona and LaLurie] against me. There's history, there's payback, there's making things right…Fiona meets a match."
4. The AHS co-creator revealed that Fiona will do whatever it takes to protect her position as Supreme, which will include killing one of her own. "Fiona kills one of them [the students] in episode three," Murphy warns. "She's not giving up that throne, and she thinks she's found out who the Supreme is and that person gets killed."
5. Evan Peters fans, rest easy: Young Kyle will be back in episode two, fittingly titled "Boy Parts," when Madison (Emma Roberts) goes on a quest to build the perfect boyfriend. "We have a Frankenstein," Murphy previewed. "Zoe (Taissa Farmiga) and Madison go to the morgue because Zoe is in love with Kyle (Peters), and they find out that he and a lot of the other boys have been badly mangled and decapitated. Madison takes Kyle's head and other parts that she desires and creates this thing and they use a spell. That's Evan's season -- is Kyle brought back or not? She's in love with him and has to rehabilitate him, and of course she can never be with him intimately because she'll kill him. "For the first six episodes, he doesn't speak." Farmiga previews that when Kyle does begin to show signs of life again, "He won't be the same. That's a tough thing to go through -- who knows how his brain and body are going to handle it," she warns.
6. Myrtle's (Frances Conroy) and Fiona's history as rivals will be revealed -- in flashback. "There's an entire episode where we show them when they were 18 at the school and why they became bitter rivals," Murphy says. "Fiona was very deadly, even as an 18-year-old. We got to cast the 18-year-old Frannie and Jessica, which was very fun."
7. The Council the witches mention in the Coven premiere will be revealed. Among the ranks: Leslie Jordan will play a Truman Capote–type friend of Fiona's. "[The Council] comes back and are quite flamboyant," Murphy previews. "One of them is a male witch played by Leslie Jordan who is modeled on Capote. We find out real-life people are witches." The Council comprises a group of bizarre and funny witches who live among us and are called in to put out fires. "The big rule of the Coven is that if you are caught witch killing or harming another witch, you are immediately taken out and burned," Murphy explains. "A couple of the witches are killed very early on, so the Coven, led by Myrtle, show up and act basically like a court." The group, Murphy says, was inspired by Bewitched and the uncle and aunt witches that would populate the classic sitcom. "It's our homage to that, even though they're that much more serious."
8. The Minotaurs seen in the season premiere are one of two big bads in Coven. And if you thought Bates' LaLurie was the other, you haven't seen anything yet. "The Axeman was a true serial killer -- the Zodiac Killer of New Orleans," Murphy warns of the character to be played by Magic City's Danny Huston. "He would write very chilling letters to the press and would literally take an ax and cut people's heads in two. He killed women, he killed men, he killed children and he was never caught." The Axeman -- like LaLurie and Laveaux -- disappeared.
9. You likely didn't realize that Spalding, the butler who had his tongue cut out, was portrayed by returning player Denis O'Hare (aka Larry the Burn Guy) who didn't -- and won't for the immediate future -- have any dialogue. "He eventually does talk," Murphy shares, adding that the "men stuff" really kicks in around episode six, when Huston arrives and Kyle begins to speak, too. O'Hare says Spalding has a "great sense of loyalty" and he'll wind up speaking in a flashback -- which will also explain just why his tongue was cut out. "I have a different look then and had face pulls to get 30 years younger," O'Hare says of the anti-aging process.
10. Misty (Lily Rabe), the young witch with the power to bring things back to life, who was burned at the stake in the premiere, will be back. "On this show, just because you die on camera, doesn't mean you're dead forever," Murphy says, noting Misty is obsessed with Stevie Nicks -- the only "other witch she's ever known. Lily has an amazing Stevie Nicks shawl twirl scene in episode three, and we use, like, eight of Stevie's songs this year." Says Rabe: "Misty knows there's something going on, but she's not in control or in touch with it; it's something she figures out how to use as the show goes on."
11. Sarah Paulson's Cordelia -- daughter of Fiona -- will go much darker. As part of her story, her husband will be introduced in episode two, though Murphy declined to spill on just who would be playing the character. "Suffice it to say, he's no good," Murphy warned. Adds Paulson: "For Cordelia, it gets significantly darker, but it ain't Lana Winters. I don't have coat hangers in my vagina this year!"
12. How much worse will we see LaLurie get? Bates warns it will get "much worse. This season is very much about race and having grown up in a segregated South, it resonates for me in a lot of ways," she says of the real-life horrors of slavery. "There was a code that governed how slaves could be treated and though that existed, it was pretty lenient and people ran roughshod over what they could do to people."
13. Madison's horrifying rape will have its effect on the young starlet. "That event she brushes off for a while, but obviously something that serious catches up to you," Roberts says. "It does catch up to her in many ways that you'll see unfold for bad but also for good in some ways -- she's not pure evil."
What did you think of the Coven premiere? Will you be back for more? AHS airs on Wednesdays at
10 p.m. on FX. Hit the comments below with your thoughts -- and theories.