“American Horror Story” is an anthology known for reusing cast members in its various installments, so it’s no surprise fans should expect plenty of familiar faces in “Cult.” But there are some stars who aren’t coming back for the seventh installment, and of course, a few newcomers to shake things up. Here’s what we know as far as who’s coming back, who you’ll be missing, and who to get to know.
The queen of “AHS” (she’s outlasted Jessica Lange, after all) is back in a big way. Paulson, who has appeared in all six previous seasons, will portray Ally, the clown-fearing protagonist of “Cult.” And according to Ryan Murphy, her list of anxieties extends even further. “She just has particular fears,” he said. “She has a fear of blood; she has a fear of coffins that we will explore. She has a fear of holes.” Add President Donald Trump to that list, if the trailer is any indication.
Get ready to see Peters in the “best performance” of his career, according to Murphy. Along with Paulson, he’s appeared in every season of “AHS,” and also takes center stage in this installment as leader of the eponymous cult. He’ll be playing Kai Anderson, but Murphy has teased that he’ll play as many as eight historical cult leaders this season, including Charles Manson, Jim Jones, David Koresh, and Andy Warhol.
I bet you thought you saw the last of Roberts, but good news! The actress returns in “Cult” as superficial and ambitious Michigan newscaster Serina Belinda in the heat of the 2016 election. Don’t get too excited, though — Murphy revealed that Roberts is only appearing in one episode “as a favor.” She previously starred in the “Coven” and “Freak Show” seasons.
Jackson will be playing Dr. Rudy Vincent, Ally’s therapist — therefore, the man who has to hear about her many, many fears. The actor previously made his “AHS” debut as Will Drake, the fashion-loving mogul who buys the titular Hotel Cortez in Season 5, and played the vicious reality TV producer Sidney Aaron James in “Roanoke.”
John Carroll Lynch
Coulrophobics beware: Twisty is back. Lynch will reprise his terrifying role from Season 4, “Freak Show,” in “Cult.” And it looks like Twisty will get quite the spotlight. In the trailer alone, we can see Paulson’s Ally holding a comic book starring the infamous clown, and Billie Lourd’s character hands a doll of Twisty to a small child.
Adina Porter is relatively new to the “AHS” family (if you don’t count a small appearance in one episode of “Murder House”), but she made a big impression in “Roanoke” as complicated protagonist Lee Harris. She will play Michigan TV reporter Beverly Hope in “Cult.”
Another “AHS” mainstay returns. Frances Conroy will be back for “Cult,” Murphy recently announced on Twitter, but has so far revealed little about her character this season. The Golden Globe-winning actress has appeared in every season of the series except for “Hotel.”
Murphy announced Winningham’s return at the same time he revealed Conroy’s, but similarly stayed mum on character details. Winningham is a veteran of the “Coven,” “Freak Show,” and “Hotel” installments of “AHS.”
With “A Star Is Born” coming out next September and having only just recently kicked off her massive Joanne World Tour, it’s no wonder that the megastar can’t return to “AHS.” She starred in “Hotel” as the Countess and had a smaller, but still significant role in “Roanoke” as the Witch of the Woods.
Due to a scheduling conflict with her new Chuck Lorre comedy “Disjointed” on Netflix, “Cult” will mark the first season of “AHS” without Bates since 2013. She made her debut in “Coven” as the evil LaLaurie, and continued to appear in the series as the bearded lady Ethel Darling in “Freak Show,” Cortez manager Iris in “Hotel,” and the Butcher/Tomasyn in “Roanoke.”
Sorry “AHS” fans, “Cult” will not be the season to see Lange’s return. Lange was the star of the series for its first four seasons, and won two Emmys and a Golden Globe for her work, but has not returned since “Freak Show.” Fear not, though — Murphy recently said that he’s “sure she’ll be back one day.”
Lourd will be making her “AHS” debut as one of the main characters of “Cult.” Based on what we can tell from the trailers and breadcumbs that Murphy has been dropping over the past few weeks, she’ll be playing Winter Anderson, a member of Kai’s cult. She previously worked with Murphy on Fox’s “Scream Queens.”
Eichner will be making a shift from comedy to horror in “Cult,” playing Harrison Wilton. While we don’t know much about Harrison, we do know he will be playing a significant role this season. Eichner’s best known for his TruTV series “Billy on the Street,” which is up for the variety sketch series award at this year’s Emmys.
Dunham’s casting in the series, which was announced by Murphy via Twitter in July, has received a lot of attention, but she’ll only have a guest starring role in episode seven. She’ll play Valerie Solanas, the woman who tried to assassinate Andy Warhol. Dunham created and starred in HBO’s “Girls,” which wrapped its six-season run earlier this year.
Pill will play one of the protagonists in “Cult,” Ivy, the wife of Paulson’s Ally. Early information indicates that Ivy is level-headed and patient, dealing with Ally’s many anxieties while helping to take care of their son, Oz. Pill is perhaps best known for her roles in “The Newsroom,” “The Book of Daniel,” “Milk,” “Midnight in Paris,” and “Scott Pilgram vs. the World.”
Haynes will be joining “AHS” as Detective Samuels. Murphy announced the news in June, accompanied by a photo of the “Arrow” and “Teen Wolf” alum with blood smeared across his mouth.
Grossman will play Meadow Wilton, one of Ally and Ivy’s neighbors, in her “AHS” debut. Grossman and Murphy go way back, with the two having worked together on Murphy’s series “Popular” on the WB (now the CW). In announcing the casting, Murphy called her “one of the funniest and most talented ladies I know.”