4 Things We Know About ‘American Horror Story’ Season 6 (and 2 Pretty Good Guesses!)

What do we know for sure about the upcoming season of American Horror Story? Admittedly, not much. But die-hard fans can be certain about one thing: Before the season 6 premiere is over, a lot of people are gonna need a fresh pair of pants. (To find out what actually happens in the premiere, read our full recap here!)

AHS‘ new season debuts on FX Wednesday, September 14, heralding the arrival of a story line that’s been atypically shrouded in mystery. Nobody — from diehard fans to professional TV journalists — has had so much as a hint from the showrunners about what kind of scares are in store. (Okay, not quite true: We have had *a* hint, but it was hidden in the midst of like 25 red herrings.) So, what can we expect when American Horror Story unleashes hell — or something worse — on its unsuspecting audience Wednesday night? Here’s everything we do know, plus a couple of reasonably believable rumors.

We’ve got Gaga!

Last year, she proved herself worthy of the mantle left vacant by AHS grande dame Jessica Lange — and now, Lady Gaga will be back to headline the series again in season 6. We’ve got literally no idea who or what she’ll be playing, but take note: It’s pretty much a foregone conclusion (not to mention an American Horror Story tradition) that she’ll be wearing something fabulous.

The cast you love is coming back for more.

Although American Horror Story has always experienced some turnover from season to season (we still miss you, Connie Britton!), you can count as always on a few key cast members making a comeback. Sarah Paulson, Angela Bassett and Matt Bomer are all confirmed for season 6, though of course we don’t know yet what their roles will be. And while Evan Peters hasn’t been officially announced this time around, he hasn’t sat a season out yet, which means we’ll be shocked if he doesn’t put in an appearance sometime between now and the finale.

And yes, there’s another Oscar winner aboard.

Cuba Gooding Jr. must have enjoyed his entrée into the Ryan Murphy–verse when he played O.J. Simpson in American Crime Story — because he’s joined up with this show, too. And gird your loins, kids, because this time, Cuba is diving in with both feet … and no pants. In an exclusive interview with Us Weekly at the Maytag Dependable Leader Awards in August, the actor describes the upcoming season of AHS thusly:

“It’s really scary, and there’s a high level of sexuality on the show in terms of what you’ll see my character do.”

The theme is still anyone’s guess.

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you know that FX decided to keep this year’s theme under wraps — and keep the mystery going all the way up to minute one of the season premiere. Instead of releasing a few trailers on a single theme, the marketing department outdid itself by creating two dozen teasers, each one an homage to a classic horror trope. Some were campy, some were creepy and some made sense only in the twisted psyche of one very disturbed marketing professional (we’re looking at you, nurse with the garden shears) — but only one held the key to this season’s plot line, and we still don’t know which.

However! We might have one huge reveal …

A couple weeks ago, some eagle-eyed fans noticed that an upcoming print issue of TV Guide listed the American Horror Story premiere as “American Horror Story: The Mist.” Whoops! Did someone just accidentally blow the cover off this year’s horror story? Ordinarily we’d be skeptical, or even chalk it up to an intentional misdirect on the part of the sly, savvy FX team — but the venue is so obscure (an actual, physical copy of TV Guide?!) that it seems like it might have been a legit leak.

… And another pretty good guess.

Amid all the speculation about what this year’s AHS theme would be, TMZ published some sneaky photos from the set, which included a tree with the word “CROATOAN” carved into the bark. Needless to say, the internet chatter ever since has centered on the possibility that American Horror Story is going back in time this season to Roanoke, Virginia, where a colony of 16th-century settlers once vanished without a trace. A legit theory? It certainly could be! For one, AHS has a bit of a history with Roanoke, as the story of the lost colony was featured briefly in the show’s very first season. For two, the series traditionally goes back and forth every other year between a contemporary setting and a historic one — and according to that schedule, it’s history’s turn. However, it also seems just a tad too convenient that the otherwise super secretive production let the press get a shot of such a giant spoiler … and it’s worth remembering that in season 1, the whole “CROATOAN” thing turned out to be a bunch of baloney.

In other words, maybe American Horror Story got sloppy. Or maybe, just maybe, we’re being trolled.

Tell Us: What do you think this season’s theme is?

American Horror Story returns to FX Wednesday, September 14, at 10 p.m. ET. 

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