Last night saw the Season 1 finale of American Horror Story satisfyingly wrap up the plight of the Harmon Family, with Ben (Dylan McDermott), Vivien (Connie Britton), and Violet (Taissa Farmiga) becoming ghosts determined to keep any future residents from staking a claim in their infamous Murder House.
There was no cliff hanger, and with the main cast dead, it has left many fans asking, "What's next for American Horror Story Season 2?"
Today, show creator Ryan Murphy and FX Network President John Landgraf took a conference call to discuss their plans for future seasons of American Horror Story, for the first time announcing that the series has always intended to be an anthology, not unlike Tales from the Crypt or The Twilight Zone. Only here, each new story will span an entire season as opposed to being contained in a single episode.
Ryan Murphy went onto describe his intent with taking American Horror Story into the future.
"Every season of the show will be a new haunting. What you saw in the finale was the end of the haunted house. The second season of the show will be a brand new home or building to haunt. Just like this year, every season of the show will have a beginning, middle, and an end. Which I really enjoy doing. I think fans of the show have loved that they have gotten various questions answered throughout the run of the season.
It was always our intent to do an anthology show. That was always the design from the beginning. Its what we talked about from the get-go. I think it's a cool, interesting way to tell a horror show. Every season, getting to tell a different aspect of what an American horror could be is very fascinating to me. Every season, also, along with being a new haunting, will have an overriding theme. The theme of Season 1, which we have mentioned numerous times, has been infidelity. Next year, in the second season, we will have a different theme and a different cast of characters to go along with that."
What happens with the main cast, then? Some of the actors will return, though in completely different roles. Ryan Murphy was reluctant to say who might be returning from Season 1, though.
"What we are doing with the actors...Some of them will be coming back. I have talked to several of them. We are in negotiations with several of them. There will be familiar faces, as well as new faces on the show. But they will be playing completely different characters. They will be playing creatures and monsters, and etcetera.
I wish we could (tell you who is coming back), but we can't. Because we are in negotiations with two or three of them. The only thing I can say about that...The fun of the show for me is...When we talked to Dylan McDermott, and Connie Britton, and Jessica Lange, one of the reasons we could get them interested in being evolved with our show is because this first season had a beginning, a middle, and an end. Connie, who had just come off of Friday Night Lights, in particular, was not interested in going back to the grind, and the possibility, of a five year commitment. When we explained what the story was going to be, she was very excited by that.
Right now, we are creating the second season. We don't start writing until February and we don't start shooting until the summer. This year, we have a much longer writing period. I wish we could talk about who is returning. I would have them all back in a heartbeat. What is interesting for me, and some of the actors, is that we are talking about having them play something complexly different than what they played last season. Having them play something they have never played before in their careers. We will continue talks and negotiations with a handful of them. We are also talking to some new actors that I have targeted roles for. I think we will be announcing the cast, and the storyline, sometime in February. "
It sounds as though Jessica Lange will not be returning to the series, but Ryan Murphy does hope his two leads will return in some capacity.
"I will say...Connie Britton and Dylan McDermott will not be playing the leads of the show. That said, I would love for them to come back and do something. A different part, a smaller part, a cameo...That is the fun of it. I have always wanted to do something like the Mercury Theater approach. Where you have a group of actors that you love. And you rotate them every season, where they are playing new characters with a new look. I have always loved that idea. That is our approach to the show. Each season is like a little novella. It is a tale that has a strong beginning and a strong ending. I am also excited about bringing in people that I have never worked with before, that I have wanted to work with for a long time. The allure of a show like this...There are a lot of actors I have spoken with over the years who are interested in television, but they aren't interested in a five-year commitment. This allows many actors, who never would have done television, like Jessica Lange, for example, to step up and say, "Okay, let's do this." Committing to a season of our show is like committing to a film. It's three and a half, four months, and then you are done. I have been getting a lot of calls from film actors who want to dabble in television, but they could never figure out how. They look at the model of this show, and they are interested in that."
One character that for sure won't be returning is The Murder House.
"The house is done. We have torn down the sets. On the first season of a show, you don't do that. It was a weird, but satisfying moment. That was always the plan. The second season will be onward and upward with a new haunting that has American Horror Story themes. Fans will love the second season even more, with what we've cooked up."
Ryan Murphy then went onto explain some of the story ideas about American Horror Story Season 2 without giving away any of the specifics.
"I am interested in period pieces. Trying to submerge a period piece with something modern is interesting to me. I really did love the true crime aspect of the show. I think we will have that in every season. We will have characters in real-life situations. Based on true American Horror crimes. We will be doing that. I am not interested in doing another house story. We will not move to Maine and do a haunted cottage. Every season will be different. There are all different types of American Horror Stories to tell. I am interested in all of those stories. Serial killing stories, true crime stories, prison stories. That's the thing. As long as we all do our good work, every year of the show will be like a little mini-series, and it will be a completely radical, different kind of show. The only thing I wouldn't do is a season about vampires. Oher than that, everything else is fair game. The season we are planning now is very different from the California house approach."
For fans who are eager to know what kind of atrocities may await them next year, Ryan Murphy did drop this hint.
"There is a clue in the final three episodes of Season 1, where we say what Season 2 will be. It is there. That is fun. We will create new monsters. And we will take it out of Los Angeles. It will be a different local."
FX Network President John Landgraf says that the series will most likely return in October.
"Yeah. It could be in late September. This is a great, fall, October, Halloween show. Our intent is for it to become a Halloween tradition. Especially for people who love the show."
American Horror Story Season 1 aired its finale Afterbirth last night to record ratings for FX.
American Horror Story episode 1.12, "Afterbirth" stars Connie Britton, Dylan McDermott, Evan Peters, Taissa Farmiga, Jessica Lange}.