Jessica Lange

The grande dame of ‘American Horror Story’, Jessica Lange swore she was done with the franchise… and acting altogether following Season Four, ‘Freak Show’.  But at the Television Film Critics annual press tour, ‘AHS’ co-star Sarah Paulson announced that Lange will return for at least one more spin, in the upcoming season, ‘Apocalypse’, which is a crossover merging the first season, ‘Murder House’ and the third, ‘Coven’.

“I have the great pleasure of saying, yes, she will be back.”

On ‘Murder House’, Lange played the seemingly nosy neighbor Constance Langdon, who turned out to be the mother of Tate, the school mass shooter turned ghost played by Evan Peters.  And in ‘Coven’, she portrayed the haughty, manipulative queen of the witches, Fiona Goode.  Incidentally, Lange won Emmy Awards for both of these roles.

Which character will she play in ‘Apocalypse’?  Both?  Or someone new?

Unfortunately, don’t expect all of ‘Apocalypse’ to hinge on Lange, as past seasons have.  She will not show up until the sixth episode, which will be directed by Paulson.   For her part, Paulson is confirmed to mainly be playing Cordelia Goode (Foxx), the daughter of Lange’s Fiona, from ‘Coven’, although she will also, to a lesser degree, appear as medium Billie Dean Howard from ‘Murder House’ (a role she also reprised in S5 ‘Hotel’).

One thing we can only cross our fingers and hope for is at least one scene in which Lange crosses paths with new cast member Joan Collins, another classic TV diva.  Not much is known about the new season, but one detail that has been disclosed is that Collins plays the grandmother of Evan Peters’ new character, a comedic hairdresser.  Once again, it remains to be seen if Peters will also reprise both his roles as S1’s Tate or S3’s “Frankenteen” Kyle.

In addition, the upcoming season welcomes back Kathy Bates, Billy Eichner, Leslie Grossman, Cheyenne Jackson, Billie Lourd, Dylan McDermott, Dennis O’Hare, Adina Porter and Emma Roberts.  McDermott played the lead in ‘Murder House’, as cheating psychiatrist Ben Harmon.  O’Hare portrayed the burned Larry Harvey in ‘Murder House’, one of Constance’s past lovers, and Spalding, the mute butler in ‘Coven’.  Bates and Roberts made their ‘AHS’ debuts in ‘Coven’ with Bates played the immortal and amoral plantation owner Delphine LaLaurie, while Roberts played the bitchiest witch, Madison Montgomery, who may have a familial connection to ‘Murder House’.

Cody Fern, who appeared in Murphy’s ‘American Crime Story: Versace’ will also be joining, as Michael Langdon, a grown-up version of the baby that Connie Britton’s Vivien Harmon conceived with ghost Tate.  At the end of ‘Murder House’, Lange’s Constance took off with her grandson.  Now we’ll learn what happened after that… which sounds like the end of the world.

Executive producer Alexis Martin Woodall described how the new season opens:

“The story begins with the end of the world.  It starts in the real world. It’s very tangible, and it’s a familiar panic.”

After the lackluster reception to last year’s ‘Cult’, this diva-drenched season could more than makeup for that and steer this series back to the soapy, campy delight it was in years past.  Can we get another Stevie Nicks cameo?

‘American Horror Story: Apocalypse’ premieres on FX on September 12.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter