Say it ain't so! While this isn't the first time that Lange has spoken of departing American Horror Story, there's a difference between hearing it as a distant fact having no bearing on our current reality and hearing it with this kind of finality. Lange announced that she was leaving the show back when American Horror Story: Coven was still a thing, but it's now officially "after next season" and it's clear she hasn't changed her mind. When Elsa died in AHS: Freak Show, that was the end of Lange's time on the show. Someone pass around the Kleenex; it's really happening, you guys.
"Yes, I'm done," said Lange at the American Horror Story PaleyFest Panel on Sunday night. "We’ve had a great run here. I mean, I absolutely love doing these four characters, and in all the madness, I love the writers and Ryan and the insanity of shooting it." Lange has been a staple of the American Horror Story family since the very first season of the hit show, cycling through such chilling characters as Constance Langdon, Sister Jude Martin, Fiona Goode, and Elsa Mars. Making this all the more tragic is that Lange is one of only six actors who have been regular, main characters on every season of AHS so far. I mean, what next? A season without Evan Peters? Will we be kissing Sarah Paulson goodbye? Oh, the humanity!
As a cornerstone of the anthology, Lange will be leaving behind some big shoes that even Matt Bomer will have to work very hard to fill. This is just a few of the character types they'll have to replace if AHS wants to come close to capturing the unique magic that is a Jessica Lange character.
The Prima Donna
Lange has played a terrifying nun, two washed-up actress, and the Supreme of a witch coven — and no matter how understated the character may seem, they all have a tendency to be arrogant, self-absorbed, and very ruthless in their pursuit of their goals. AHS would be lost without that character that steamrolls over (or straight up murders) anyone who gets in the way of their dreams.
The Aging Starlet
Both Constance and Elsa had the desire to become a star in common, but while, Elsa enjoyed a little bit of success before her career went down the drain, Constance never popped to begin with. A horrible hotel is the perfect place to have another aging starlet lamenting their lost career; after all, ending up in a murder hotel instead of a five star hotel more befitting of an actress is an entire plot in and of itself.
The Iron Ruler
BRB, still talking to my therapist about the nightmares Sister Judy gave me in early episodes of American Horror Story: Asylum. Whether she's an acerbic nun or a freak show owner, Lange's characters are not the leaders you want to mess with if you want to live a long and happy life. This is an area in which I hope Matt Bomer shines, because a hotel that isn't ruled with an iron fist is a hotel that just isn't going to last very long.
The Evil Blonde
I mean, this is just a given — not to mention the perfect role for Lady Gaga to step into. Yes, Lange isn't the only blond on the show, and, yes, Lange is far from the only evil one, but she just does it so well that I can't imagine the show without one. Lady Gaga is very theatrical as a performer, so here's hoping she can give us some over-the-top villainy that might help us forget our Lost Lange Blues.
Who's pulling the strings on every season of AHS? The answer usually isn't Lange, but her characters either tend to think they're in control of everyone around them or actively fight to be in control of everyone around them. We need a manipulative character who is working behind the scenes to make their own positions better, even and especially at the expense of others they care about.
The Terrifying Mama Bear
Even when she's abusing her children herself — as in the case of Constance — Lange's characters are usually willing to cut someone to protect the people she wants to protect. How you can make such a seemingly positive trait so scary is beyond me, but I don't question the epic acting prowess of Jessica Lange. This will be a difficult character type to get right, but I believe in Ryan Murphy.
The Fake Death
If Lange's characters aren't actually dead, then they're trying to fake their death or having their death faked for them. I don't even want someone to try to replace this role on the show. I just want this to be the truth, and for Lange to return in a surprise role after revealing that Elsa's death was faked or something. IDK, guys, just bring her back!
Image: Sam Lothridge/FX; Giphy (2); horrorstorygifs/Tumblr