After the election ended in a way that many of us did not expect, it didn’t take very long for pop culture nerds on one side of the opinion divide to joke that we were living in a season of American Horror Story. Well, be careful what you wish for — showrunner Ryan Murphy saw all your glib tweets, and now he’s making them a reality.
Last night on Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live (above), Murphy announced that the seventh season of the hit FX horror series would revolve around the 2016 presidential race. “I don’t have a title, but the season we begin shooting in June is going to be about the election that we just went through,” he told a visibly surprised Andy Cohen. “So I think that will be interesting for a lot of people.”
When asked by Cohen if this meant now-President Donald Trump would be featured as a character on the series, Murphy coyly replied, “Maybe!”
Regardless of your own personal political leanings, and setting aside whether or not 2016 fit the “horror story” mold to you, this is a very interesting departure for AHS. Up until now, the show has dealt primarily in supernatural fiction, generally leaving the real ripped-from-the-headlines stuff to Murphy's other series, American Crime Story... which will also eventually feature a character in Hillary Clinton, as the show has already optioned The People vs OJ Simpson author Jeffrey Toobin’s book about the Monica Lewinsky scandal of the late 1990s.
So why Horror and not Crime? My guess is that because the latter series is also rooted in more realism, Murphy moved the idea to Horror Story because he wants to enjoy the freedom to fictionalize some aspects of what happened in 2016. It’s entirely possible that he’s not interested in telling the story of the election as straightforwardly as Crime Story does, and is simply using it as a backdrop for a another elaborately demonic tale in the vein of the most recent season. "Roanoke" wasn’t so much about the infamous lost colony as it was the basis for a fake documentary series that took place thereabouts.
Savvy AHS fans should also know that next season won’t feature that crossover of "Murder House" and "Coven" that Murphy announced at Entertainment Weekly’s Popfest last fall, so don’t expect Connie Britton to make her triumphant return to the series just yet or anything... although, you never know. She’d make a very interesting Kellyanne Conway.
It’s also anybody’s guess whether this season will be as directly connected to its predecessors as previous ones have; Murphy has been firm in the notion that they’re all connected, but there’s a difference between making a reference in passing and prominently featuring a character from a previous season, like "Freak Show" did with Pepper or "Roanoke" with Lana Winters.
Finally, the most important question: who will Sarah Paulson and Evan Peters, the only two cast members who are confirmed to return so far, play in the season? Clinton seems like an easy choice for Paulson, but as Murphy says in the above video, he would rather have her play Linda Tripp over on American Crime Story. As for Peters, I could see him as an exasperated Jared Kushner...
Which recurring AHS actors would you cast as the players in last year’s election? Which new actors would you bring into the Murphyverse to round out the cast? Let us know in the comments below!