American Horror Story Season 6 has turned out to be one of the most exciting seasons of the show in years, largely because creator/showrunner Ryan Murphy decided to make the season in a bubble. He and all involved kept the theme of the season under wraps until the first episode aired, which revealed Season 6 as American Horror Story: Roanoke, tackling the Lost Colony of Roanoke as the deadly ghosts (led by Kathy Bates) attempt to scare a couple off their land. However, as with most things Ryan Murphy is involved with, it wasn’t that straightforward. Roanoke had Sarah Paulson and Cuba Gooding Jr. playing the leads in “dramatic re-enactments” as talking head-style interviews narrated the events that took place.
But that’s not all Season 6 has in store. At the conclusion of the show’s fifth episode, everything seemingly wrapped up in a neat and orderly manner. Why? Because Murphy has been teasing that in Episode 6, a “big twist” occurs that radically changes the season, and ahead of Wednesday’s big episode, Murphy is teasing some tantalizing details about said twist.
If you don’t want to know anything about the Season 6 twist, this is your spoiler warning.
Speaking with E!, Murphy revealed that Episode 6 will see this season’s actors playing entirely new roles—switching things up mid-season for the first time in the show’s history:
“The thing I love about episode six as you are watching it is that we drop a huge bomb at the end of the third act, where you kind of are in disbelief at what the chyron on the screen is saying. And then that takes you into another world and the stakes are really, really, really high. This season has been all about redoing the narrative of what we’ve always done. I think it’s always been a sort of straight-forward version of storytelling. And what happened with this season, which is really broken into two halves, one through five, which everybody has hopefully seen, and then six through 10. And it’s a completely different show. It’s a completely different narrative form. Things that you thought to be true about people are revealed to not be true. And it was exciting to work on, because it was like working on two shows at once. The big twist of episode six takes you into a complete other world.”
The core cast, including Paulson, Evan Peters, and Kathy Bates, will be assuming new roles going forward, and Murphy revealed that the back half of the season will also see the return of Coven‘s Taissa Farmiga and Freak Show and Hotel alum Finn Wittrock:.
“Finn Wittrock is coming back soon, playing his most fucked-up character of all time. To the point where he was like, ‘This is so crazy that I don’t know that I can do it, but I’ll do it.’ And Taissa Farmiga is coming back for the first time ever since Coven, in I think a really, really great part and we love her.”
Murphy added that he didn’t even tell Paulson and Co. about the big twist until they were filming the season’s fourth episode:
“I had to call up Sarah Paulson and Kathy Bates. We didn’t tell them [the twist] this year. So we had them thinking this idea that they were playing one thing through the whole year, and right around the time we started shooting episode four, I called them up and I said, ‘OK, I didn’t want to tell you this, but it will be revealed that you’re actually something completely different than what the audience thought you were.’ And they all loved that challenge.”
Murphy is even already teasing Season 7, telling TV Line that it won’t be shrouded in secrecy like Season 6 and that they’ll reveal the premise in the spring. It has a big connection to a prior season as Murphy says it involves several Freak Show characters, and the creator even went so far as confirming that Lady Gaga‘s character in Roanoke is indeed the Original Supreme, adding that he plans to bring the character back in a future season tied more closely to Coven.
But back to the matter at hand, what could the Season 6 twist be, exactly? Is the season even really American Horror Story: Roanoke? The promo for Episode 6 saw Cheyenne Jackson playing a reality TV producer of some sort walking around with a camera crew, and the prevailing theory is that we’ll see them returning to the house haunted by the Roanoke colony. How do Paulson, Bates, etc. factor in? We’ll find out Wednesday night.