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Britton’s and McDermott’s comebacks to the FX franchise mark two more key castings in what is shaping up to be an all-star eighth season of Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk’s FX horror anthology, titled AHS: Apocalypse.
The actors played husband and wife Ben and Vivien Harmon in the first season, Murder House, which saw the pair moving into the haunted house at the center of the inaugural cycle with their daughter, Violet, played by Taissa Farmiga. McDermott also appeared in season two, Asylum, playing a different character; Britton only appeared in the first season. Farmiga, who also appeared in Coven (and Roanoke) has already been confirmed to return.
A since-deleted video and photos from the set of Apocalypse first leaked on social media late Wednesday, showing McDermott returning to the Murder House set. Both Murphy and Britton later shared photos from the Murder House set, including one of AHS star Sarah Paulson as a director. (See below). That means Britton and McDermott’s return will be featured in the sixth episode, when Paulson makes her directorial debut. That episode is also set to feature the return of Jessica Lange.
The upcoming season, Apocalypse, will feature the long-promised crossover of Murder House with season three’s Coven and will see a slew of familiar franchise faces returning to reprise their roles. That includes the entire Coven of witches played by Paulson, Farmiga, Emma Roberts, Gabourey Sidibe, Lily Rabe, Stevie Nicks and Frances Conroy. Lange starred in Coven but will only be reprising her Murder House character.
Also set to star in season eight are returning castmembers Evan Peters, Kathy Bates, Adina Porter, Cheyenne Jackson, Billy Eichner, Leslie Grossman and Billie Lourd, along with newcomers Billy Porter, Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman and Kyle Allen.
During Murder House, Britton played a pivotal role in birthing the Antichrist baby, Michael Langdon, who will be played by newcomer Cody Fern in the upcoming season. That season ended with Lange’s character, Constance Langdon, taking custody of Vivien and son Tate Langdon’s (played by Peters) satanic baby after the toddler murdered the nanny in the season finale. The rest of the Harmon family died at the end of the season, their spirits trapped in the Murder House for eternity.
The events of the first season have been threaded into the AHS mythology in subsequent seasons. Murphy has confirmed that all cycles exist within the same universe and the Antichrist baby (a child born of human and spirit who will usher in the “end of times,” as Paulson’s Murder House character warned) is playing a role in the Apocalypse theme and marketing. Paulson will be reprising her Murder House character, but will mainly be featured in her Coven role as Cordelia Foxx. She is also playing a third, new character named Venable.
Despite the highly anticipated crossover, the end of the world is indeed the theme of Apocalypse, which will open with a cataclysmic event. “The story begins with the end of times,” executive producer Alexis Martin Woodall recently revealed: “It starts in the real world. It’s very tangible, and it’s a familiar panic.” Set in the near future, Murphy has placed the date of Apocalypse around October 2019.
The Wrap was first to report the casting news on Thursday.
Britton recently starred on the first season of Murphy’s Fox procedural 9-1-1 and will next be seen in Bravo’s Dirty John adaptation. McDermott last starred on the small screen in Fox’s one-season comedy LA to Vegas.
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Aug. 27, 7:30 a.m. Updated with social media posts.
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