The Apocalypse has arrived — on American Horror Story, that is.
The FX horror anthology, created by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, dropped the full trailer for its forthcoming eighth cycle, AHS: Apocalypse, on Wednesday, and the first look is a revealing one.
The trailer ushers in the end of the world, as a handful of characters declare — in over-the-top fashion — from either the chaotic streets of Santa Monica or sky-high from a crashing plane. “No need for the rules anymore: The chaos has won,” announces a voiceover. (Watch the trailer in the video player, above.)
Dystopian images abound, as well as glimpses of the highly anticipated returning characters from earlier seasons Murder House and Coven. Most tellingly, however, is the reveal that Sarah Paulson’s Apocalypse character, who is named Venable, is the leader of a new and sadistic underground world. Venable tells guests of her “Outpost 3” they must remain inside due to radiation contamination. The house rules also include “no unauthorized copulation” and those who don’t obey are punished. When Evan Peters’ character asks about the outside, he is told everything is gone.
“Strangely satisfying, isn’t it? Dispensing punishment. It’s our world now, to re-mold as we see fit,” Venable tells an equally chilling Mrs. Meade (Kathy Bates).
Two particularly haunting images from Murder House lore feature the antichrist himself, a grown-up Michael Langdon (Cody Fern), and Rubber Man (who is Tate Langdon, played by Peters, in disguise). “Hail, Satan,” Mrs. Meade tells Michael at one point.
Coven witches Madison Montgomery (Emma Roberts) and Myrtle Snow (Frances Conroy) arrive to the outpost in stride with Supreme witch Cordelia Foxx (also played by Paulson) at the helm. New characters played by Billy Eichner, Billie Lourd, Leslie Grossman and high-profile newcomer Joan Collins are also shown. Coven witch Misty Day (Lily Rabe) appears in a scene with Michael.
A teaser trailer released one day earlier (watch that, below) used callback images of Murder House characters Constance Langdon (Jessica Lange), the grandmother to Michael, Ben Harmon (Dylan McDermott), whose wife Vivien Harmon (Connie Britton) is Michael’s mother, and their daughter, Violet Harmon (Taissa Farmiga).
The eighth season features the much-hyped crossover between Murder House and Coven, seasons one and three, respectively. Murphy confirmed that the AHS world would be getting even smaller in the eighth season, also promising that fan-favorites would be back. Though the series is an anthology, Murphy has confirmed that all AHS seasons exist in one universe. This season, Murphy decided to invite back some of the franchise’s most exciting characters for the Apocalypse.
In addition to the characters shown in the trailer, confirmed returning castmembers include Gabourey Sidibe, Stevie Nicks and newomer Billy Porter. Cheyenne Jackson, Adina Porter and franchise newbies Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman and Kyle Allen are seen in blink-and-you’ll-miss-it scenes in the trailer.
The twist is that a handful of the actors will be playing dual roles, with Paulson playing three — the most ever in her storied AHS run.
Lange, who left the franchise after season four, appeared in both crossover cycles, but will only be reprising her Murder House character, Constance, in one episode. In season one, the satanic baby Michael was left in the care of Constance. His existence as the antichrist (a child born of human and spirit) seemed to bring about the “end of times,” according to an omen from Paulson’s Murder House character, Billie Dean Howard.
Michael is the offspring of Vivien and the Rubber Man. The entire Harmon family, including Britton, is set to return, with Farmiga playing double duty as both Violet and her Coven witch, Zoe Benson. When the Harmons were last seen, they were dead; their spirits trapped inside the spirit-happy Murder House for eternity. Peters and Paulson will be reprising both of their crossover seasons characters and will each be making their directorial debuts. (Head here for a full breakdown on the season.)
After seeing the trailer, hints from the AHS team are starting to add up. “The story begins with the end of the world. “It starts in the real world. It’s very tangible, and it’s a familiar panic,” AHS producer Alexis Martin Woodall has said of the plot. So far, the typically tight-lipped Murphy has offered only a few details, including that the season would be set in the near-future, placing the date around October 2019.
Apocalypse premieres Sept. 12 at 10 p.m. on FX. AHS was recently renewed for a 10th season, meaning the series will air through 2020. Watch the trailer for Apocalypse in the video player above.