In 2014, Ryan Murphy delivered a Halloween surprise that was equal parts trick and treat, revealing that every season of American Horror Story takes place in the same universe. That opened the door for Lily Rabe’s Asylum character to appear in Freak Show, but that was only the tip of the comically bloody knife: As revealed during today’s AHS panel at the Television Critics Association press tour, characters from previous seasons will begin popping up midway through American Horror Story: Hotel. (Around episode six or seven, according to the producers.) No specific names were given, but Murphy and co-creator Brad Falchuk said the characters would be guests of the season’s eponymous hotel.
With the show keeping its guestbook confidential, The A.V. Club combed through the American Horror Story back catalogue to highlight a few AHS favorites we’d like to see resurrected in season five. We think you’ll agree that a shared universe of Ryan Murphy kookiness is simply incomplete without the following pieces.
Fan-favorite-turned-ill-advised-Halloween-costume from season one, American Horror Story: Murder House. Hotel cameo dependent on whether or not spirits can leave the most crowded haunted house in horror history.
Hotel will be the first American Horror Story season without Jessica Lange in a lead role, but that doesn’t necessarily preclude her from stopping by in the guise of Teutonic singing sensation and freak show proprietor Elsa Mars. Season five’s setting also establishes plenty of opportunities for Elsa’s signature, anachronistic-and-not-at-all-forced musical interludes: “Hotel Yorba,” “Chelsea Girls,” or, given the state Hotel takes place in (and the metaphor at the center of the song), “Hotel California.”
Member, Fleetwood Mac; muse to Louisiana witches. Nicks has magical powers in the AHS universe, so it’s entirely possible for her to travel back in time to Hotel—assuming the “more horror-based” world of Hotel can make concessions to witchcraft and witchy classic-rock hits.
Ian McShane reprises his only TV role that could possibly eclipse Al Swearengen, arriving for a Halloween episode about the horror of the “Christmas creep.”
The voice of Tom Bodett
For years, Bodett has been the voice of a Hotel prequel playing out on the nation’s radios, weaving folksy ghost stories about a chain of cursed motor lodges known to true believers as “Motel 6.” The tagline from that series can easily be adapted to American Horror Story: Hotel: “We’ll leave the light on for—ahh! I’ve been stabbed to death, probably in the middle of a sex act.”
The residents of American Horror Story: Hotel would love to have Freak Show’s best character… for dinner.