'American Horror Story': All the 'Murder House,' 'Coven' Details to Know for the 'Apocalypse'

The first and third cycles of the FX horror anthology will be woven into season eight — a greatest hits album of 'AHS' lore.
Michele K. Short/FX
The witches of 'Coven,' played by Lily Rabe, Taissa Farmiga, Sarah Paulson, Gabourey Sidibe and Emma Roberts (with Evan Peters)

The witches are back and so is the Antichrist.

Recent seasons of American Horror Story have delighted dedicated viewers of the FX horror anthology, but season eight, Apocalypse, is set to feature more AHS universe callbacks than ever.

AHS: Apocalypse is about the world's collapse, and the end of times is also ushering in the long-hyped crossover between earlier seasons Murder House and Coven. Though AHS is an anthology, co-creator and showrunner Ryan Murphy confirmed in recent years that the seasons are all connected and exist within the same universe.

The end of the world was a prophesy back in season one, Murder House, and now that it has become a reality, the most beloved characters from Murder House and season three, Coven, are returning. That means a handful of actors are playing more than one character and that AHS lore will be tapped as the season goes, starting Sept. 12.

Here is a refresher on Murder House and Coven, including how those cycles ended and which characters will be returning. Read on for everything to know about AHS' past before jumping ahead to October 2019 for the Apocalypse.

• Murder House Set the Rules

Season recap: American Horror Story debuted with Murder House, an eternally haunted Los Angeles mansion that retains the spirits of anyone who dies while on the premises. The Harmon family — Vivien (Connie Britton), Ben (Dylan McDermott) and Violet (Taissa Farmiga) — moves into the house, completely unaware of its power. They are tormented by a revolving door of spirits, including Tate Langdon (Evan Peters). Tate poses as a patient of Ben, who works out of the house as a psychiatrist, and though he develops a romance with Violet, he also rapes and impregnates Vivien.

It is later revealed that Tate is the son of tortured neighbor Constance Langdon (Jessica Lange) and is an evil spirit trapped in Murder House after killing several students in a school shooting. Vivien dies during childbirth (along with one of her twin babies), Violet kills herself and Ben is murdered by his the ghost of his mistress (Kate Mara) — all inside the house. Though the trio was tortured in life, their spirits are seen as a united, happy family in the afterlife as they become the reigning protecters of Murder House. Violet banishes Tate, who vows to wait for her. Custody of the surviving baby, Michael, is given to Constance and in a three-year time jump, the season ends with a delighted Constance discovering that Michael has killed their nanny.

How it connects to Apocalypse: Michael is conceived by a human, Vivien, and a spirit, Tate. Sarah Paulson's Murder House character, medium Billie Dean Howard, warns that "a child born of human and spirit will usher in the end of times." In Apocalypse, baby Michael is all grown up and being played by Cody Fern. In the trailer, he appears feared and revered by the inhabitants of Outpost Three, an underground safe house for survivors of the apocalypse run by Paulson's new character, Wilhemina Venable. One of those houseguests, Ms. Miriam Mead (Kathy Bates), says to him, "Hail, Satan." From the first look and season marketing, it seems likely that Michael has come into his own as the Antichrist, the child who would usher in the end of the world. 

Returning characters: Tate Langdon, aka Rubber Man (Peters), Michael Langdon (Fern), Constance Langdon (Lange), Billie Dean Howard (Paulson), Ben Harmon (McDermott), Vivien Harmon (Britton), Violet Harmon (Farmiga) and housekeeper Moira O'Hara (Frances Conroy). Lange is returning for one episode in week six. The episode is Paulson's directorial debut and is also likely the Murder House-themed episode that will feature Britton and McDermott's comebacks. Paulson and Peters are also playing new Apocalypse characters; Paulson is also reprising her Coven witch and so are Farmiga and Conroy (see below).

Burning question: The spirits of Murder House can't leave the house, but Rubber Man is seen in Outpost Three in the trailer. Did the safe haven sprout up on the Murder House land after the nuclear event? The Coven witches feature more heavily in the trailer, but questions remain about how the Harmon family, and Constance, will be woven in. Halloween night, however, does provide the spirits with a one-night opportunity to travel and leave the house.

Coven Unleashed the Power

Season recap: The third season of AHS traveled to New Orleans and inside the walls of Miss Robichaux's Academy, home to the remaining descendants of Salem, Massachusetts. In charge is "Supreme" witch Fiona Goode (Lange), a witch born once a generation that embodies the Seven Wonders of Witchcraft. She shirks her role as the all-powerful leader of a dying coven, however, and instead dedicates her efforts to finding tricks to remain young and strong. The witches of the Academy include her daughter, headmistress Cordelia Foxx (Paulson), and students Madison Montgomery (Emma Roberts), a movie star; Nan (Jamie Brewer); Queenie (Gabourey Sidibe); Stevie Nicks-inspired Misty Day (Lily Rabe); and Zoe Benson (Farmiga). Denis O'Hare plays the house servant, Spalding, and Peters lives in the house as frat boy Kyle after he is brought back to life by Zoe and Madison.

Throughout the season, the dissonant coven has to ban together in order to survive invading forces, including rival Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau (Angela Bassett), 19th century slave serial killer Delphine LaLaurie (Bates) and even Fiona as she usurps the coven. As they fight, their powers amplify. In the end, Cordelia takes over as Supreme and Fiona dies of cancer and is banished to hell. Kyle kills Madison (for the second time) when she threatens to out the group of witches, Nan is killed by Fiona, and Misty doesn't survive the test of the Seven Wonders to reveal the new Supreme. Cordelia, Zoe and Queenie are the only surviving witches. Their Academy is now famous and the trio opens the doors to new prospective witches in the finale. The sixth season of AHS, Roanoke, reveals that Lady Gaga's character, Scathach aka The Witch of the Woods, is in fact the original Supreme witch.

How it connects to Apocalypse: Cordelia; Zoe; Madison; and Myrtle Snow (Conroy), former head of the Witches Council who was burned at the stake, are all seen in the Apocalypse trailer. The premiere summary says a "matriarchal Coven controls" the inhabitants of Outpost Three, the underground haven that provides refuge from the radiation fallout, and "punishes those who violate the rules." By the end of their season, the coven's superpowers included everything from transmutation, descending into the worlds of the afterlife and the resurgence of life — making it likely that the Coven witches could indeed survive the apocalypse, whether they made it to the end of their original season or not. 

Returning characters: Cordelia Foxx (Paulson); Madison Montgomery (Roberts); Zoe Benson (Farmiga); Queenie (Sidibe); Misty Day (Rabe); Myrtle Snow (Conroy); and Stevie Nicks, who played herself as a white witch.

Burning question: Which "coven" is in charge and can they overcome the Antichrist? The premiere introduces Venable and Mead as the Outpost Three rulers and the trailer suggests Michael Langdon is a potential Satan. 

American Horror Story: Apocalypse premieres Wednesday (Sept. 12) at 10 p.m. on FX. Watch the trailer below and bookmark THR.com/AHS for full season coverage.