Each season of American Horror Story is its own world, a unique universe built around specific themes, and initially they weren't supposed to be connected at all. However, as the years went on it became clear that they were: little Easter eggs would be dropped into one season to reference another, or characters would cross over (like the return of the iconic Lana Winters in Season 6). But where does the newest season fit in? How does American Horror Story: Cult connect to past seasons?
Twisty the Clown is one major recurrence from a past season that has already appeared quite a lot in promotional material for Season 7. Twisty first emerged as a villainous (then tragic) figure in Season 4's Freak Show and now he's back for the new season. Clown imagery has been all over Cult's trailers and posters because Sarah Paulson's Ally has a fear of clowns that becomes exacerbated following the 2016 election. Twisty will appear in Cult as a comic book character and doll, though with John Carroll Lynch returning to the cast it also seems certain that Twisty will be back in the flesh as well.
The choice to reference Season 4 was in the works for some time, or so it seems. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly during Season 6, Ryan Murphy said, "Next year, we will be going back to some Freak Show characters, deeper histories and mythologies. So we're sort of still exploring Season 4 in Season 7."
Based on a statement like that, it might be worthwhile for fans to take a closer look at Freak Show to see what else might make the jump to Season 7. It seems like it may have an impact that extends past Twisty the Clown, though his return appears to be the biggest link between Cult and the previous seasons right now. However, there's always room for more callbacks as the season progresses and the story deepens.
While some of the connections between seasons have been obvious and explicit, like Gabourey Sidibe taking a trip from Coven to check into Hotel, others have been more subtle. Lady Gaga's character from Roanoke was confirmed to be the First Supreme in interviews, and Dandy Mott from Season 4 had his lineage revisited in Roanoke without Finn Wittrock actually showing up.
That means while Twisty is an obvious part of the new season, there could still be smaller connections scattered throughout AHS: Cult that longterm fans of the show will be able to catch. They just have to keep their eyes peeled.