When American Horror Story first premiered in 2011, series creator Ryan Murphy initially intended for each season to be its own self-contained story, completely unrelated to other seasons. The plan made sense, especially since Murphy planned for the same pool of actors to play different characters each time. But by the time season four’s Freak Show rolled around, Murphy had changed his mind — as Murphy is wont to do — and started introducing connections to previous seasons.
At first it seemed like a game changer to see Pepper and Sister Mary Eunice (Naomi Grossman and Lily Rabe) pop up. But in the seasons since then Murphy has been giddily connecting the dots while fans delight in trying to unpack the connections.
By now we’ve seen Billie Dean Howard, Queenie, realtor Marcy, Dr. Charles Montgomery (and the Murder House) turn up in Hotel. Lana Winters appeared in Roanoke, which also explained the Mott family lineage and the origin of the Supreme witches in Coven. Given that the show jumps around in time and the dead don’t necessarily stay dead, it seems like any characters are fair game at this point.
With that in mind, here are the top ten American Horror Story characters we hope to see return someday. (Pretty please?)
10. “Twisty the Clown” (John Carroll Lynch) — Season Four, Freak Show
This one is sort of a given, since season seven’s clown- and election-themed Cult has already heavily implied that the folklore of Twisty is going to heavily influence the season. However, John Carroll Lynch has not been confirmed to reprise his role as Twisty. Lynch’s schedule notwithstanding, it seems very unlikely that they wouldn’t bring back the fan favorite character.
9. “Iris” (Kathy Bates) — Season Five, Hotel
When Hotel concluded, the season wrapped up with a nice little epilogue featuring the living, dead, and undead (or whatever vampires are considered in the American Horror Story universe), but it would be nice to check in (pun intended) with our favorite concierge at some point. Kathy Bates’ underdog Iris really came into her own over the course of the season, turning into one of the season’s most interesting characters.
8. “Elsa Mars” (Jessica Lange) — Season Three, Coven
This one is unlikely given that Jessica Lange has basically said that she and American Horror Story are never, ever, ever getting back together. But we can always dream, right? Elsa went off to spend the afterlife with Edward Mordrake and his merry band of freaks, but if Twisty can come back, why not bring the most fabulous wearer of pantsuits as well.
7. The Harmon Family (Dylan McDermott, Connie Britton, Taissa Farmiga) — Season One, Murder House
The Harmon family suffered the worst fate imaginable (all died horribly and are trapped with each other for eternity with Ben’s psycho mistress and Violet’s psycho boyfriend), but yet they seemed reasonably happy in the season finale, all things considered. Just, you know, everything still good with you guys? How’s (after)life sharing a house with like a thousand angry spirits?
6. “Zoe Benson, Kyle Spencer” (Taissa Farmiga, Evan Peters) — Season Three, Coven
She’s a bright young witch with a promising future. He’s a Frankenstein monster made out of dead frat boy parts with some serious mommy issues, to say the least — yet somehow, these two crazy kids make it work. For whatever reason people really, really like to see Taissa Farmiga and Evan Peters together, so there would probably be few complaints about picking back up again with these two.
5. “Misty Day” (Lily Rabe) — Season Three, Coven
Sure, Misty died in the last episode of Coven, but she’s brought herself back to life before, she can probably do it again. Who doesn’t want more of everyone’s favorite loony hippie witch?
4. “Scathach” (Lady Gaga) — Season Six, Roanoke
We did get a quick backstory on the Scathach in Roanoke. However, it still isn’t totally clear how Lady Gaga’s character as the first Supreme witch helped bring about an entire lineage of Supreme witches, and how her character relates to, say, Cordelia Foxx or Jessica Lange’s Fiona Goode in Coven. It would be nice to see the mythology explored in a little more detail, though it seems unlikely that we’ll see Gaga reprise the role given her busy schedule and short attention span.
3. “Cordelia Foxx” (Sarah Paulson) — Season Three, Coven
This one is also probably inevitable, as Ryan Murphy has said that he’s planning a Murder House/Coven crossover season, in which Sarah Paulson would ostensibly be “playing 18 characters.” If that ever comes to fruition, it’s pretty much a guarantee that this won’t be the last we’ve seen of Supreme Cordelia. Given Murphy’s apparent fondness for having Paulson play multiple characters per season, even if the crossover doesn’t happen he’ll probably find some way to squeeze her in.
2. “Bette and Dot Tattler” (Sarah Paulson) — Season Four, Freak Show
No really, I think we all need to understand how this family dynamic works between conjoined twins Bette and Dot, and Jimmy Darling, who apparently impregnated them (?) in the finale of Freak Show. This could turn into Jerry Springer territory real easy and suffice to say, I’m fascinated and want more.
1. “Tate’s Psychotic Devil Baby” (????) — Season One, Murder House
What. Happened. To. That. Baby.
If you’ll all remember correctly, Ryan Murphy didn’t announce that American Horror Story was going to be an anthology series until after the finale of Murder House (then, just called “American Horror Story“), when everyone just assumed that the series would be picked up for a second season. So it felt a bit like the rug had been pulled out from under when fans realized that Murphy had no plans (at the time) to revisit previous seasons. Tate’s baby was last seen as a toddler, just having murdered his nanny. What is that baby up to now? Probably no good. Jessica Lange or no Jessica Lange, eventually we need to find out what the hell happened with that kid.