Horror fans reached collective climax over the weekend when television overlord and American Horror Story creator Ryan Murphy announced his anthology series would produce a crossover season of its first and third seasons. As is typical with AHS breaking news, this reveal offers far more questions than it does insights.
The AHS universe has become more and more self-reflexive in the past year. Fans have speculated since Murphy began dropping hints that his whole world is connected back in 2014, with references and appearances of characters from past seasons. Sure, we’re still caught in the trenches of another murky season with ‘Roanoke,’ but even if Murphy can’t always tie a single season of television that makes sense together, he sure knows how to keep fans thinking about his next thing.
So, what can we expect from a ‘Murder House’ and ‘Coven’ crossover season? Let the speculation commence.
How will the crossover season will be one step closer to tying together the entire series?
With the announcement of both a ‘Murder House’ / ‘Coven’ crossover and Sarah Paulson’s Season 2 ‘Asylum’ character slotted to make an appearance this season on ‘Roanoke,’ the whole idea of a Pixar Theory-style storyline that ties every season of AHS together is becoming clearer than ever after six seasons. While the witch-y themes of ‘Coven’ weren’t as prominent in ‘Murder House,’ the increasingly dark magic themes that have emerged in recent seasons makes the connection almost certain.
Why ‘Murder House’ and ‘Coven?’
Of all six seasons, why has Murphy chosen Seasons 1 and 3 to combine in such a direct manner? This season has drawn a lot of comparison to Season 4’s ‘Freak Show,’ with a promise to bring characters from ‘Asylum’ back later this year, but Murphy’s declaration that a whole season would directly overlap two previous storylines is the most direct application of the long con that has been the series referencing itself. Unlike ‘Asylum’ and ‘Freak Show,’ these two seasons take place in the present (or the present when they were originally broadcast), meaning we won’t be getting the time travel that would be necessary to bridge the historical fiction seasons.
How does magic tie every season together?
Even before the more heavy-handed allusions to season crossovers emerged in the past year, there has always been one consistent element through the consistently messy anthology series — magic and the supernatural. This season, it’s the political commentary laced into a deadly reality show in ‘Roanoke’ (Who’s dead? Who’s alive?), and goes all the way back to the traditional haunted house format of the first season, ‘Murder House.’ With the modern-day technology that unfolds in ‘Roanoke,’ it’ll be interesting to see if characters like Lady Gaga’s Salem-era witch or other supernatural characters can make the jump into the present.
Will every version of Sarah Paulson survive?
If there’s one thing we can count on in an AHS storyline, it’s that whichever character Paulson plays, whether it’s the recently returned Lana Winters from ‘Asylum’ or her current, unconvincingly British character on ‘Roanoke’ this season, fans have come to expect that her character will prevail at all costs. Will two Paulsons — Billie Dean Howard of ‘Murder House’ and Cordelia Foxx of ‘Coven’ — make a difference on who will live to see the final moments of the season finale? Will we get some green-screened Paulson-on-Paulson violence?
What will happen before the crossover season?
Murphy confirmed that while the ‘Murder House’-‘Coven’ season is happening, it won’t be the basis of Season 7. While the theme of the next season won’t be announced until ‘Roanoke’ wraps, the showrunner has already revealed that next season will be heavily referential to Season 4’s ‘Freak Show.’ Maybe Season 8, then? How far will Murphy tease ahead, and how many more seasons will AHS have before the overarching themes finally connect once and for all?
No matter how the crossover plays out in future seasons, AHS fans remain the most patient in the television universe — after all, aren’t we just waiting for six messy seasons to be connected?