American Horror Story is a television series defined by firsts. Each season, FX's horror anthology tells a new story all about new horrors, in a new setting, with new characters.
But that's about to change, at least in part. For the first time, a character from a previous incarnation of American Horror Story is set for a return. Entertainment Weekly reports the upcoming season, American Horror Story: Freak Show, will bring back Asylum player Naomi Grossman to reprise her role as Pepper, one of the patients/inmates of the sophomore outing. Here, she'll appear as part of the troupe of curiosities at the heart of the new season.
Co-creator Ryan Murphy explains that Jessica Lange's character, side show manager Elsa Mars, "goes around to hospitals and jails and rescues these 'freak' circus performers who are going to be shipped away to asylums and she signs the waivers and she becomes their guardians." That's how Pepper comes into the mix; Freak Show takes place in 1952, more than 10 years before Asylum, after all.
"We thought about it long and hard," Murphy said of the decision to bring back a character, "and we decided that it was interesting to do."
But what does this say about American Horror Story moving forward? Can we expect other characters from past seasons to reemerge down the road? Does it indicate that other stories, like the Murder House of Season 1, could return in their entirety in seasons yet to come? Or is this a one-off deal with Pepper?
American Horror Story: Freak Show premieres on Oct. 8.