It’s no secret that Ryan Murphy‘s American Horror Story franchise thrives on secrets. At the start of each installment of his addictive horror anthology series, plot and character details are revealed less and less, to the point where we now usually have no idea what the new season will entail. Going in blind makes each season premiere all the more terrifying, because it’s truly the devil you don’t know. Thankfully the cast and and one of the executive producers of American Horror Story: Apocalypse decided to show mercy on all of us dying to know something (literally *anything*) about the upcoming ninth season of the FX thriller. Showrunner Alexis Martin Woodall joined stars Sarah Paulson, Kathy Bates, Emma Roberts, Adina Porter, Billie Lourd and Leslie Grossman for a panel at the 2018 Summer Television Critics Association press tour on Friday to dole out a few hints and teases about the crossover season between American Horror Story: Coven and American Horror Story: Murder House, and they actually revealed some real intel! Okay, it’s not much, but it’s way more than we expected. So Nerdist rounded up all the biggest pieces of info revealed about American Horror Story: Apocalypse all in one handy place.
1. What kind of apocalypse is it?
According to Woodall, it’s *the* Apocalypse with a capital A. “I’m going to say one thing: the story begins with the end of the world and then our world begins,” she told the room of reporters. “It starts in the real world. It’s very tangible and it’s a familiar panic. Is that cagey enough? Should I be cagier?”
“It’s the end of the world,” Paulson elaborated, and started to say something more but stopped herself. “The biggest – mm, shit. It’s the apocalypse in the truest sense of the word.” Woodall then jumped in again with, “All joking aside, if the apocalypse is what launches the show, what’s the fantasy of what happens next? If we’re still here, the world didn’t totally end.”
2. The presiding AHS queen is returning
While revealing that her Coven character Cordelia is still the Supreme witch when Apocalypse begins, Paulson had a very exciting piece of news to announce. “I do have the great pleasure of letting you all know that yes, she will be back: Jessica [Lange] will be returning as Constance in an episode I am going to direct,” she said, revealing that’s episode 6.
3. The devil child is definitely not here to do good
With the announcement that the Murder House baby Michael Langdon will return as an adult (played by American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace’s breakout Cody Fern), it begged the question of what kind of role the devil child will play in the end of the world.
“The devil doesn’t really do anything good,” Woodall teased. “As always, there is a specific mystery to the show that is better unfolded. It is an experience. This show is very different, as always, and it’s an experience. As for what the devil will do, it’s not good. It’s not fun.”
4. When Apocalypse takes place
Mark your calendars, because the world ends 18 months in the future. “That timeline still applies,” Paulson confirmed.
5. Character names!
While a lot of the plot is being kept under wraps, at least the stars were able to reveal their character names. “I play Coco Saint Pierre Vanderbilt,” Grossman said, as the room of reporters laughed at what that long, ridiculous name could mean for her character.
“I play Mallory, just Mallory,” Lourd said to even bigger laughs.
“I play Dinah Stevens,” Porter said.
“I play Madison Montgomery again,” Roberts said of her Coven character.
“I play Ms. Meade,” Bates said, adding that she has an adversarial relationship with some of the characters played by the women gathered for the panel.
Paulson then revealed that she’s pulling triple duty this year. “I play Venable and Cordelia and can I say the other one too?” she asked Woodall, and then added, “I’ll also be playing Billie Dean.”
6. More comedy
Just like Coven, American Horror Story: Apocalypse will dial up the dark comedy for more meme-worthy moments. Roberts laughed at how there are “a lot” of great one-liners for her character again. “I was actually told by the director yesterday to be bitchier which I didn’t think was possible,” she said. “It’s delicious to get to play her again. This year is meme-able for sure.”
7. There will be more familiar faces … potentially
American Horror Story has a large cast of actors who return season after season, as well as some actors who only participated in one season of the anthology series. Apocalypse has the potential to bring back some fan-favorites … if they take up the offer. “[Ryan Murphy] invited all of the witches to return,” Woodall revealed of the Coven cast. “Whether or not they return is TBD but the invitation is out there.”
8. Hairstyles are a clue
Apparently some of the characters’ haircuts provide some insight into who they are, most specifically Bates’ new black, sweeping pixie cut. “[But] it’s not essential to the plot,” she admitted. “I turned 70 when they did this to me; it softened the blow.” Woodall then added, “There’s a lot of good hair. Leslie wears a lot of different looks.”
9. The end of the world isn’t the end of this franchise
During the panel, FX head of PR John Solberg revealed that American Horror Story has been renewed yet again. “I can confirm that we have ordered a tenth installment of American Horror Story,” he said. Let the speculation on the theme of season 10 begin!
American Horror Story: Apocalypse season nine premieres Wednesday, Sept. 12 at 10 p.m. on FX.