The first day of summer camp has arrived — almost.
Ryan Murphy began to roll out details for the ninth season of American Horror Story after FX promised "many more" cycles of the long-running horror anthology earlier this year. But it wasn't until summertime that American Horror Story: 1984 would really begin to take shape.
FX CEO John Landgraf first teased an exciting new idea from co-creator and showrunner Murphy during the network's Television Critics Association's winter press tour. Since then, Murphy, who created the show with Brad Falchuk, has revealed the theme and the official title to be AHS: 1984 and — on the first day of filming on July 11 — introduced the star-studded cast with a video revealing their 1984 camp set and looks. A teaser introduced the summer home as Camp Redwood and the official trailer revealed an even bigger horror romp than could be expected.
The famously tightlipped Murphy, however, has yet to officially comment on the missing status of the franchise's biggest stars, Sarah Paulson and Evan Peters. Below, THR rounds up all the confirmed details for AHS:1984 and will continue to update this post as information drops. AHS returns on Wednesdays when it premieres Sept. 18 at 10 p.m.
Murphy revealed the title — AHS: 1984 — with a clip (watch in the player, above) that invokes slasher horror films from the '80s, particularly the Friday the 13th franchise, which launched in 1980 and saw serial killer Jason Voorhees terrorizing a group of counselors at the overnight Camp Crystal Lake. The year 1984 welcomed a slew of classic horrors to the big screen — including A Nightmare on Elm Street, Children of the Corn and Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter — and would provide Murphy and co-creator Brad Falchuk with a deep bench of horror classics to reference for their newest season.
"Camp Redwood" is the name of the summer grounds where AHS: 1984 will be set. A teaser to the tunes of John Cafferty & The Beaver Brown Band‘s "On the Dark Side" and The Motels' "Suddenly Last Summer" plays out like a camp recruitment video — except that a killer with a knife is ready to prey.
The first confirmed returning castmember was Emma Roberts. Murphy revealed that Roberts will be returning to star in AHS: 1984 and that her boyfriend will be played by franchise newcomer and Olympic freestyle skier and silver medalist Gus Kenworthy. Roberts has starred in four AHS cycles — including the most recent crossover season Apocalypse, where she reprised her beloved Coven witch Madison Montgomery — and has cameo-d in a fifth cycle.
Pose star Angelica Ross, now known for a pivotal role in the groundbreaking FX drama from the AHS co-creators and Steven Canals, also nabbed a series regular role and will be playing the "unforgettable" camp nurse, according to Murphy. The showrunner announced the notable casting along with Ross, who was one of five trans women of color to make up Pose's leading cast, on social media.
One day later, Murphy returned to social media to drop the official cast announcement with a video to mark the first day of filming on the season. The star-studded cast includes returning and new faces, who all debuted their summer camp "lewks." Billie Lourd, Cody Fern, Leslie Grossman and villain John Carroll Lynch (aka Twisty the Clown) are all returning, alongside franchise newcomers Matthew Morrison (marking a Glee reunion with Murphy and Falchuk), DeRon Horton (Dear White People) and Zach Villa (Shameless).
The teaser (watch, above) introduced the main cast to the tune of Dan Hartman's 1984 hit "I Can Dream About You," while teasing Lynch as the killer and having fun with a mustachioed Morrison (who has quite a revealing package in his short shorts).
Sources have confirmed to THR that leading lady Paulson will not be returning as a series regular. Though she won't be back in the starring role she has filled since season two (she was a guest player in Murder House), Paulson could return in some capacity throughout the season, similar to Jessica Lange making a special guest return for last season's Murder House and Coven crossover for Apocalypse.
When speaking to THR after her Emmy nomination for season seven's Cult, Paulson — who is collaborating with Murphy on the upcoming Netflix series Ratched — said of AHS: "There will be crawl marks on the walls from them trying to drag me out if they ever ask me to go." In addition to starring in and producing the One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest prequel, which has already nabbed a two-season order, Paulson, who made her directorial debut last year on AHS, has a busy slate ahead. She will appear on the big screen in Goldfinch and Abominable in the fall, followed by Run; and her next FX limited series Mrs. America begins filming this summer.
Peters, who like Paulson has appeared in every cycle of AHS, also won't be returning for season nine, THR has learned. Though the Dark Phoenix and Pose star could return to the franchise in the future, he will be sitting this season out entirely. (Peters and Roberts also reportedly called off their engagement earlier this year.)
Initially, Murphy said he planned to make the ninth season his big crossover cycle with the season three Coven witches. That plan instead came to fruition, in part, with season eight's Coven-Murder House crossover and in December, he teased that the witches would return once again. "Not next season, but we have something really fun planned," he said of the future. Murphy typically holds plot details close to the chest, though he was more forthright about the nostalgic news around Apocalypse.
Given the 1984 title and clip: Could season nine be a horror slasher inspired by classic films from the decade? AHS has always played with time by using flashbacks as major story threads and also taking small jumps to the future to tie up seasons. The franchise traveled backwards to set seasons in the past (the 1960s for Asylum and 1950s with Freak Show) and most recently jumped to the future in a major way with Apocalypse, but this would be the first cycle to tackle the nostalgia of the horror movie-filled 1980s. Indeed, all AHS seasons are connected within the same universe, but the 1980s remains relatively untouched in AHS lore and could provide Murphy and Co. with an opportunity to reinvigorate the long-running series.
The official trailer for 1984 has more than enough jump scares and campy horror tropes to satisfy the anthology's audience. The footage teases a hooded murderer nicknamed "Mr. Jingles" who escaped from a nearby psychiatric hospital and is now terrorizing campers at night by slashing their throats. The counselors, who include Fern, Robberts, Lourd, Horton and Kenworthy, quickly learn that Camp Redwood is the site of the worst summer massacre of all time. "You're all gonna die," they are ultimately warned.
The Future of AHS
The FX mainstay (which is now a Disney property) was renewed through season 10 after news broke that the network's prolific producer would be moving to Netflix in a mega five-year deal. Though more seasons of Murphy's other series, Feud and American Crime Story, are still in the works (including the recently announced Impeachment: American Crime Story), Pose and AHS are on schedule. Beyond a 10th season, Landgraf said during the TCA press tour, "It's up to how long [Ryan] wants to keep going and how many years he has inspired ideas."