Without a doubt one of the best aspects of American Horror Story's anthology format is guessing which of the actors from past seasons might be making a reappearance as a brand-new character. There are a few – like Evan Peters and Sarah Paulson – who have appeared in every season so far. Others, like Lily Rabe, appear more sporadically. As epic as Paulson's and Rabe's performances have been, the early queen of American Horror Story was Jessica Lange, who departed the series after Season 4. But do Jessica Lange's American Horror Story characters connect to Season 6?
Once the pre-season summer-long casting guessing game is over and the season has actually premiered, my next favorite part of AHS fandom is trying to untangle the many, many plot threads of the past seasons and seeing how they each might connect to the current one. Series creator Ryan Murphy told Entertainment Weekly back in 2014 that each season's world was separate but in some way connected and the International Business Times pointed out that each Season 6 promo seemed to have some connection to a theme from a past season.
The most obvious and specific connection to a past season is Roanoke's Season 1 link.
In a later episode of "Murder House," Billie Dean Howard (Sarah Paulson's first character, a medium) told the story of the most successful exorcism, which happened in Roanoke in 1590. Billie Dean recounts how all of the Roanoke colonists mysteriously died, but their spirits remained to haunt the living Native Americans on the land and torment them. The tribe's elder cursed the spirits, banishing them by burning their possessions and saying "Croatoan."
If the worlds of Season 1 and Season 6 are, in fact, connected, it seems pretty clear that the elder's curse wasn't exactly a permanent fix. Oops.
Though Lange formally left the show as a regular after Season 4, she told The Wrap last year, "If Ryan [Murphy] came to me and said, ‘Would you want to do a small character for a couple episodes?’ I would absolutely say yes if I liked it," confirming that there remains a possibility we will see Lange (though briefly) on the show once again.
And what better way to lure Lange back than having her appear briefly as a character who serves as the lynchpin connecting Roanoke to past seasons? Alternatively, since several of the characters have two actors playing the role, a fun callback might find a different actor (not Lange) portraying a dramatic reenactment version of one of her former characters.
Of course, the likelihood of some of Lange's characters being connected to the current season is better than others. Here are all of Lange's characters ranked from least to most likely to be connected.
Lange's Season 4 freak show proprietor/entertainer is unlikely to be connected to the current season. Thematically, "Freak Show" had nothing to do with hauntings and possession – aside from Wes Bentley's Edward Mordrake, supernatural aspects of that season were pretty limited, in favor of body horror and good old-fashioned serial-killing instead.
Also, Elsa, a former prostitute and snuff film victim, was from Germany in the 1930s – even if "My Roanoke Nightmare" were to have a flashback of some kind incorporated into the dramatic reenactment, I fail to see how something from Elsa's time in Germany might connect to the mystery of the spooky lost colony. If the writers somehow prove me wrong without totally jumping the shark, I'll eat my words.
Sister Jude Martin
A Sister Jude connection is slightly more likely than an Elsa Mars one. "Asylum" did deal with demonic possession, which could be an aspect of what's going down in "Roanoke," but it took place in the '60s and Jude was long dead by the time Lana Winters was recalling the events of "Aslyum" in 2012. If there is a flashback, we could potentially see Jude, but it's not particularly probable.
There are already theories circulating saying that Shelby might be a witch (courtesy of Redditor SweetBaconTater). If Shelby does, in fact, have Salem witch ancestry, it would explain why she was able to connect with the Roanoke spirits almost immediately (and, incidentally, why Matt woke up immediately after she touched him).
We don't know exactly when, in modern day, the "Roanoke" dramatic reenactments take place, so it is possible that Fiona was still alive at the time the events were taking place (she died in 2014, according to "Coven's" established timeline). Or maybe the then-Supreme and Shelby even crossed paths at some point?
Constance is by far the most probable option for a Roanoke connection. For starters, she was part of the scene when Billie Dean Howard introduced Roanoke in the first place with her story about the colonist spirits' banishment. Constance was also originally from Virginia, before moving to Los Angeles to become an actress. Virginia isn't super far from North Carolina, so it's entirely possible that Constance may have had a run-in with the creepy Roanoke house/land at some point in its long, dark history.