After eight seasons of basically playing the face of Ryan Murphy‘s American Horror Story franchise, Sarah Paulson will be stepping into a tiny role for season 9, if any. Variety reports that it’s “possible Paulson could appear in a cameo”, but the basic gist is that the Emmy-winning actress will definitely not be a major character in American Horror Story: 1984.
After appearing in just three episodes of the anthology series’ inaugural season, since re-dubbed Murder House, Paulson became one of the main reoccurring stars of the show alongside other mainstays like Evan Peters and Jessica Lange. (Lange exited the show for a while before appearing briefly in season 8, while Peters has already said he’s sitting out season 9.) During that time, Paulson racked up five Emmy nominations without a win—including that time she quite literally acted with two heads—eventually snagging a statue for her role in American Crime Story: The People vs. OJ Simpson, also produced by Murphy.
While this all probably just comes down to Paulson being mighty busy lately—she’s currently working on the FX series Mrs. America and still has Murphy’s Ratched coming down the pipeline—it’s still a huge bummer for the show. American Horror Story is about as consistent quality-wise as an acid trip, but the one constant at the center was usually always Paulson putting in a powerhouse performance. For what it’s worth, though, this almost certainly doesn’t mark the end of her tenure on AHS for good, seeing as how Murphy confirmed there are already plans for the witches from Covento return after their appearance in Apocalypse. “The witches will be back,” the producer said last year, before clarifying “Not next season, but we have something really fun planned.”
As for AHS: 1984, which premieres September 18, Murphy teased the upcoming season’s theme in the title announcement, which seems to be a take on the iconic slasher franchises of the 80s like Friday the 13th, Halloween, and A Nightmare on Elm Street. Check out that teaser below.