After seeing just how fantastically well the promotional campaign went for American Horror Story: Roanoke, which kept viewers in the dark on its central theme until the premiere actually aired, it makes sense that both FX and co-creator Ryan Murphy would decide to hold tight to that cloak of secrecy. In fact, Murphy has already been working on a follow-up season in the shadows. Here's how he put it.
It's my secret season. I've been working with a writer on a season that only he and I know. It's like a two-year project that we'll continue to work on the sly and not tell anybody.
Only Ryan Murphy would announce a secret project in the middle of putting it together, thus negating the secret aspect of it. I mean, fans still don't know what the season is about, so that part is still secret. But now we know there's another season already in development with even fewer people at the helm of the creative side, which actually does sound pretty great. Fewer writers means a stronger through-line, at least in most cases, and as much as I love the show, the seasons do tend to fall apart in the mid-to-late episodes when every episode has a different writer behind it.
Now, before we go off all half-cocked speculating what Season 7 might be about - and it wouldn't be out of the question for "half-cocked" to be a descriptor for a physically damaged American Horror Story character - FX still hasn't put an order in for another year. It's as guaranteed as a sunrise, don't get me wrong, but still. Actually, what if Murphy worked it out with John Landgraf so that the Season 7 renewal happened completely behind the scenes, so that fans don't even know it's happening?
Something else Ryan Murphy told EW could possibly feed into that mini-theory as well.
I don't know when it will [air] but it's also an experiment. It's a different way of doing it. It's one person writing all episodes. I don't know if it's going to work but it's like, well, let's try that. We might get them done and shoot them on the sly and drop it.
With American Horror Story: Roanoke, the decision was made to start early and with ten episodes instead of the standard 13, so that the season wouldn't extend through the Christmas hiatus. How crazy would it be if January got here and FX not only announced that Season 7 was ordered, but that it would be premiering the very next Wednesday? I don't know if that kind of gamble would be worth it on the TV front, where front-loaded marketing is usually key, but it would be extremely unique.
Not that long ago, discussions were being had about putting two seasons of American Horror Story out in the same year, and it sounds like this secret narrative is what prompted all that to come out. And because the anthology series has taken so many cues from horror movies of the past, it is quite logical that the show would now get inspired by recent horror movies like 10 Cloverfield Lane and Blair Witch, two sequels that were filmed mostly in secret and went under different project names while filming. Horror is all about surprises, and that's a great way to flip people's expectations super early in the game. (And if Ryan Murphy would rather say he's inspired by Beyonce's Lemonade, that works, too.)
American Horror Story: Roanoke, with all of its season-connecting and twisty goodness, airs Wednesday nights on FX at 10:00 p.m. ET. To see when everything else will be hitting the small screen completely openly and without any secrets involved, check out our fall TV schedule.