If human history can be divided into two major epochs (B.C. and A.C.), then so can seasons of American Horror Story, which either exist in Jessica Lange time or After Jessica Lange time. Even now, a few years since her last appearance, fans will still be disappointed to hear that Jessica Lange won't be in AHS: Cult. The actor — who was nominated for an Emmy for each of the four seasons she starred on the anthology series, and won two of them — departed AHS after Freak Show. The two ensuing seasons, Hotel and Roanoke, were by far the show's most divisive, so it makes sense that fans would want Lange to return to cast her magic spell over the anthology once more. But sadly, it doesn't seem to be in the cards… this year, at least.
Jessica Lange has not been the part of any official cast list, press release, or promotional material for AHS Season 7; and if by any chance you're holding out hope that Ryan Murphy is simply hiding a surprise Lange cameo up his sleeve, then Sarah Paulson's recent tweet should disabuse you of that notion. When asked by a fan whether she missed working with her former AHS co-star, Paulson responded: "More than I can say."
But just because Lange won't be back for Cult doesn't mean a return to AHS is completely out of the cards. After a press screening of Season 7's first three episodes in August, Murphy himself told the crowd, as reported by Variety, that he was "confident" that Lange — and other AHS alums who are absent from Cult, like Kathy Bates — will return to the fold eventually. And with the connections between AHS seasons only growing more and more apparent, it makes sense that Lange's face would have to pop up again at some point.
It's comforting to know that Lange's departure from AHS wasn't due to any bad blood between the actress and the producer — as her starring role in Murphy's second FX anthology series, Feud, indicates. (Lange's performance as an embittered Joan Crawford has her up for her fifth Emmy nomination from a Ryan Murphy show.) The continued good relations between Lange and Murphy make her eventual return to AHS all the more likely.
Indeed, the showrunner already seems to planning for Lange's next AHS role… and it's one that should be familiar to longtime viewers. Murphy has been teasing the idea of a crossover between Murder House and Coven for a while now, and he's on record as saying that Lange's involvement would be integral to the success of that unholy mash-up. Murphy told TV Guide in April that, "I haven't really talked to her about it at all because we are still figuring out that story," but that he was certain Lange would reprise her Season 1 and Season 3 roles "if I bribed her enough."
After four seasons on the show, perhaps Lange is simply waiting four more before she makes her triumphant return, for symmetry's sake. If so, then fans may have to wait through one more Lange-less season of AHS before she graces TV screens again with her regal presence in Season 9.