Before we know it, Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk’s cultural phenomenon American Horror Story will be back for its ninth installation this fall on FX. With only a singular teaser trailer under our belts, we don’t know much other than the season appears to be an homage to the slasher genre and it’s titled “1984”. If you live under a rock à la Patrick Star and haven’t seen the teaser (or maybe you just want to re-watch so that Billie Eilish song can get stuck in your head again) click here. Is the latest theme a nod to George Orwell’s novel of the same namesake, or just “totally awesome” ode to 80’s horror?
Read along below for a look behind the meaning of the theme, a rundown of the confirmed/speculated cast, and hopes for the season.
What Could “1984” Mean?
The interesting nuance about this season’s surname is it’s unlike anything American Horror Story has ever done before. In the eight seasons the themes can be broken down into three categories, locales (Murder House, Asylum, Freak Show, Hotel, Roanoke), groups (Coven, Cult) and events (Apocalypse). The idea that a season can be themed a year in time completely shatters form. The ambiguity is certainly exciting and raises a lot of questions. The internet at large has already decided—this can go one of two ways.
Option One: The season is a play on George Orwell’s 1984. If that novel wasn’t force fed to you in grade school it’s essentially the story of a dystopian America where government practices methods of hyper-surveillance to monitor the population. That’s where the phrase “big brother watching you” was born, and thank Julie Chen-Moonves it was.
Option Two: This is Murphy’s thank you letter to 80’s slasher masterpieces. Many notable scary movies came out in 1984 including A Nightmare on Elm Street, Children of the Corn, The Prey, and Gremlins, not including a batch of lesser know B-List movies which defined the rules of a genre.
The later option is almost confirmed just by watching the trailer alone, but that doesn’t mean that elements of the Orwell novel won’t find their way into the script.
At this time, only very few actors are 100% confirmed for the upcoming season. As tight lipped as production is, it’s still fairly easy to read between the lines if you watch enough cast interviews. Here’s my guess at a portion of the roster…
Sarah Paulson 70% Chance – Although she’s told media outlets that she has no idea about a part in this year’s installation of AHS, Paulson was quick to admit on Watch What Happens Live! that she knew the theme back in January. She may not have a large part, but she didn’t in Murder House either. And that’s still regarded as one of the franchise’s strongest seasons to date.
Gus Kenworthy 100% Chance – Murphy hand selected the olympian for his first venture in acting. It’s confirmed, it’s happening.
Evan Peters 0% Chance – After eight seasons, Evan Peters is officially taking a year off after claiming that the show has been “emotionally taxing” on his psyche. Alternatively, he plans to focus on his music career. See you in Season 10, Tate.
Billy Eichner 20% Chance – Appearing alongside Paulson on Watch What Happens Live! Eichner also admitted he knew the theme of season nine, but didn’t seem certain about his involvement. It would be nice to see him this installment, but the prospect looks unlikely.
Emma Roberts 100% Chance – Season nine will mark Emma’s fifth appearance in the AHS-verse. She has been confirmed via Murphy’s Instagram, where Ryan revealed that she and Gus will be playing lovers.
Cody Fern 99% Chance – With Peters out of the picture this season, the franchise needs Fern. Who else will the ravenous tumblr tweens write uncomfortable fan fiction about? But seriously, he’s only been in one season, critics love him, it’s very safe to assume he’ll be in 1984.
Other rumored names attached to this season are Charlie Carver (Desperate Housewives, The Leftovers), Darren Criss (Glee, American Crime Story Versace), and Brandon Flynn (13 Reasons Why).
Hopes for Season 9
Give us Sarah Paulson in the opening act, but let the killer take her out within the first ten minutes. Not only would that be an unexpected demise (seeing as how she’s typically a staple of each season), but it would serve as a great homage to Drew Barrymore in Wes Craven’s Scream.
Inspirations From the Past
Introduce a murderer who finds inspiration in other famed AHS serial killers like Bloody Face, the Axe Man, and Twisty. By referencing the prior seasons it strengthens the shared universe element of American Horror Story. This guarantees more thoughtful Easter eggs for loyal fans.
Twists That No One Sees Coming
Maybe 1984 is more than meets the eye? What if the surprise of the season is that— it’s both a tribute to George Orwell and classic slasher movies? Imagine, A serial killer is stalking a group of kids, picking them off one by one. By the end of the season, audiences learn this scenario is taking place across the country, orchestrated by the government in an effort to control the population. Could we witness all-seeing big brother in the form of a serial killer for hire? Stranger things have happened in the world of American Horror Story.
What actors and themes do you hope to see in American Horror Story 1984? Let us know in a comment below.
American Horror Story 1984 premieres this Fall, on FX