One of the great things about any given AHS season, is that every year feels like a brand new show. Sure, many of the actors themselves may be familiar, but the characters and storylines could not be more different. But that's a big part of what makes this anthology such a unique entity. You never quite know what to expect. However, there is one thing (or rather, one person) that will be missing from the American Horror Story: Hotel premiere for the first time in all four years of its existence: Jessica Lange. (What is the AHS universe without its Supreme?) But even in the wake of this particularly heavy casting blow, Ryan Murphy has risen to the occasion and rounded up an incredible cast for AHS: Hotel .
Of course, that's not to say that Lange will be any less missed. Her absence will leave a huge hole in our horror-loving hearts. However, if she had to go, then this season's cast of characters are bound to make that pill a little less difficult to swallow. But before we officially check into Season 5 and ruin our thoughts of hotels for life, here's a helpful reminder of all the cast members that will be greeting us upon our arrival. You might say they're just dying to meet us…
Lady Gaga As "The Countess Elizabeth"
Forget everything you thought you knew about Mama Monster. This high-society socialite has a taste for blood in both a literal and figurative sense. Not only does she love killing with the use of her razor-sharp metallic glove, but Gaga's character takes things one step further by also drinking the blood of her victims. Because you don't need to be a vampire to possess a strong bloodlust.
Kathy Bates As Iris
Since this is the legendary Kathy Bates that we're talking about, it makes sense that Murphy would put her character in charge of running the hotel. Nothing happens at this place without her knowing about it. She holds the keys to the kingdom, but just because she checks people in, doesn't always mean she always ends up checking some of them out. Iris is also the mother of Matt Bomer's character, Donovan, so get ready for some motherly smothering.
Angela Bassett As Ramona Royale
Much like Bassett herself, Ramona will serve as a famous actress throughout the season. However, unlike Bassett, she shares a romantic past with The Countess, who apparently has a tendency to break a few hearts. Once their relationship inevitably turns sour, you can expect to see Ramona team up with Matt Bomer's character, Donovan (another of The Countess' lovers), for revenge. After all, there's no wrath like not one, but TWO lovers scorned.
Wes Bentley As Detective John Lowe
As you can see from the wedding ring on his finger, this detective is a happily married family man. Unfortunately, though, all that is put at risk when he decides to investigate the Ten Commandments Killer after a series of murders plagues the hotel.
Matt Bomer As Donovan
As I mentioned before, Donovan serves as one of The Countess' main lovers, though their relationship becomes immediately threatened by the presence of Finn Wittrock's character, who catches Gaga's eye. Get ready for the world's most twisted love triangle, folks!
Finn Wittrock As Tristan Duffy
Speak of the devil! Aside from playing one-third of what's sure to be an epic love triangle, Wittrock's character will also serve as a model, who quickly falls for The Countess' charms after running into her at a fashion show.
Sarah Paulson As Hypodermic Sally
Addiction will be a huge theme throughout the season and Paulson's character, Sally, will be at the very heart of it all. As an addict living at the hotel, Sally will prove to be a force to be reckoned with. You won't be wanting to get in this chick's way.
Evan Peters As Mr. James March
We've seen him play everything from a deranged teen ghost to a Franken-Kyle, but now Peters will face his greatest challenge yet: pulling off a mustache. (Just kidding… sort of.) Meet James March — the owner and creator of the Cortez Hotel, whose character will be introduced throughout a series of flashbacks that date back to the 1930s. Let's just hope that his staff is more friendly than he appears to be.
Cheyenne Jackson As Will Drake
As an AHS newcomer, Jackson will play a fashion designer who decides to stay at the hotel with his son. But, perhaps more importantly, this character will also serve as the means of connection Hotel to Season 1's Murder House. In other words, you're going to want to see what this guy has to offer.
Max Greenfield As Gabriel
This Hollywood junkie is nothing like Greenfield's New Girl character, Schmidt, we've all come to know and love. Between that bleach blonde hair and drug addiction, prepare to to start seeing this actor in a whole new light.
Denis O'Hare As Liz Taylor
If you thought playing a mute butler or half-burned man were major transformations for O'Hare, that's nothing compared to what Season 5 has in store. Channeling the spirit of Elizabeth Taylor, the actor admitted to shaving his head for the role… along with some "other body parts."
Chloë Sevigny As Alex Lowe
Described as being both a mother and a doctor, Alex is also the wife of Wes Bentley’s character, John Lowe. (Hence the same last name.) And luckily, this season, Sevigny seems to have both legs firmly secured to the rest of her body. At least for now.
Naomi Campbell As Claudia Bankson
Just in case seeing her on Empire wasn't enough, Campbell will once again grace the small screen with her presence, playing the role of Claudia, the editor of Vogue magazine who (given the expression on her face) may not have the most pleasant of visits at the hotel.
Lily Rabe As Aileen Wuornos
Just in case you needed yet another reason to get excited for AHS' traditional two-part Halloween episode, Lily Rabe will return to the franchise to play real-life serial killer, Aileen Wuornos, who claimed to kill several men in "self defense."
Mare Winningham As Ms. Evers
And last, but certainly not least, Winningham will reside at the hotel, playing the establishment's one and only laundress who will share a lot of screen time with Evan Peters' character, Mr. March.
Images: Suzanne Tenner/FX (2); Frank Ockenfels/FX (12); FX