Just call it the mother of all American Horror Story reunions. The first AHS: Apocalypse set photo of Jessica Lange and Sarah Paulson is sure to scare up some nostalgia for fans. In honor of reaching 300,000 Instagram followers, series co-creator Ryan Murphy shared what he called "a first look at the return of Queen Constance...the one and only Lady Lange...being directed by that dynamo of wit and talent Sarah Paulson." Added Murphy, "Love them both!"
Viewers caught a glimpse of Lange as her AHS: Murder House character Constance Langdon in an August teaser trailer for the FX anthology series, but this is the first time anyone has seen the powerhouse AHS vets back in action together since 2015's AHS: Freak Show. While Paulson has been a mainstay throughout every AHS season, Lange is returning for the first time following a three-season absence from the franchise — albeit just for one episode. During her tenure, she and Paulson have gone toe-to-toe onscreen in roles ranging from a terrifying nun and psych ward charge to a dysfunctional mother-daughter witch duo.
As fans have been aware for some time, Apocalypse is a crossover between Murder House and Coven, and Lange's long-awaited return only made sense, given she appeared in both installments. Aside from the role of murderous neighbor Constance from Season 1, she also gave a bewitching performance as outgoing Supreme— and Paulson's onscreen mom — Fiona Goode in the latter.
Murphy's photo is clearly all Constance though. One of Apocalypse's central characters will be the demonic grandson that Murder House's season finale hinted Constance was set to raise as her own. The baby, Michael Langdon (now grown and played in Apocalypse by Cody Fern), was hailed as "Satan" in the official Apocalypse trailer, so it seems safe to say fans can guess how that child-rearing experience went.
Paulson was actually the first to let slip back in August that Lange — who won two of the four AHS Emmy nominations she earned over four seasons — would be coming back for Season 8, according to TVLine. This year, in addition to playing three roles — Murder House's Billie Dean Howard, Coven's Cordelia Foxx, and her new character Ms. Wilhemina Venable — Paulson is also jumping behind the camera to direct not just Lange, but Murder House vets Dylan McDermott and Connie Britton as well, for the sixth episode.
Lange's re-appearance was, to say the least, a welcomed surprise for fans after the Oscar winner announced her departure from AHS back in 2015. "When I originally agreed to do this, it was for one season. (I thought) 'this will be interesting to try this. I’ve never done this kind of television before,'" she explained to Deadline at the time. Added Lange,
"Then I had such a great time doing it the first year, when they approached me to do it again I thought, 'well okay, maybe we can do it season to season.' Instead, I agreed to do three more seasons. And that was fine because I’ve had just such a great time doing it. I have no regrets or second thoughts about that decision. But there’s always an end to everything."
Credit Murphy for tireless campaigning over the years to get Lange back on the FX hit. "It always starts with a character for Jessica, so I think I'd have to present her with something she was very interested in," he explained in 2014, per TVLine. “Before, I was met with a really quick ‘No.’ Now, I’m hearing, ‘Well, let’s keep talking.’ So I thought that was a very good sign. … I think if I presented her with the right character, and it could work with her schedule, she might be interested. … That’s my hope.”
It seems that his efforts finally paid off, and now fans will have Lange's sure-to-be-unforgettable return to look forward to later this season on Apocalypse.