Series Co-Creator Ryan Murphy announced the theme for American Horror Story Season 7 late Wednesday night. It turns out the upcoming season will be based on the November 8 presidential election when Donald Trump was elected over Hillary Clinton.
This announcement, clear of the smoke and mirrors Murphy and the FX gang have used in recent years, is unusually grounded in reality for the anthology series. And that could be a truly good sign for what’s to come.
In an interview on Watch What Happens Live, Murphy revealed that the seventh season “is going to be about the election that we just went through, so I think that will be interesting for a lot of people.” When host Andy Cohen prodded him about the possibility of a Trump-esque character, Murphy responded with a blank-faced “maybe.”
The last official word on Season 7 came in the form of a teaser after the finale of Season 6’s Roanoke. The official American Horror Story Twitter account released a trippy 7-second video of peaceful waves, broken up by manic screaming and black-and-white flashes of the corn husk dolls from the previous season. The whiplashing video wished the world “sweet dreams” while the tweet read: “The monsters are all gone.” Fans and news outlets alike scrambled to interpret what this teaser could mean. Was the next season going to take place on a haunted cruise? Everyone was very wrong.
But maybe the world wasn’t so wrong after all. It seems there have been a lot of recent change-ups in AHS Season 7’s trajectory.
“Next year, we will be going back to some Freak Show characters,” Murphy told Entertainment Weekly in October 2016, speaking of the fourth season’s cast of carnival characters. Murphy’s comment about Freak Show making a reappearance was made less than a month before the November 8 election. So, there was already a plan in the works at FX back in October. Then Trump won the presidency.
A real-world based grounding point is exactly the kind of narrative framework AHS desperately needs. Murphy and the gang have a habit of weaving half-baked plots and dropping story lines on a dime when they don’t want to deal with them anymore. Cannibals in Roanoke, aliens and Raspers in Asylum, corporate witch hunters in Coven, and more all feel underdeveloped, rushed, or just plain forgotten.
There’s no word on whether Season 7 will be based on just the events of November 8, 2016, or if it will focus on the entire election cycle and the events after Trump took office. But having a solid storyline grounded in reality — one that’s constantly developing and painfully well-documented — could be AHS’s saving grace. The blueprint is already there. They just need to stay on the path.
American Horror Story Season 7 begins shooting in June.Photos via FX/Time