'American Horror Story': Ryan Murphy on Supreme reveal, season 4 and 5
[SPOILER ALERT IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE SEASON FINALE OF AMERICAN HORROR STORY: COVEN!!!!]
The Supreme has been crowned!!! On the season finale of FX’s American Horror Story: Coven, Cordelia was named the Supreme, following in the footsteps of her mother Fiona. But people with M names had a rougher night with the deaths of Myrtle, Misty, and Madison. EW talked to co-creator Ryan Murphy about the wrap-up plus his plans for season four…and five!
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Did you always know Cordelia was going to be the Supreme?
RYAN MURPHY: Yeah. I mean I think that was always the trajectory of that character. The whole season has been about mothers and daughters, second chances, second phases in your life, believing in yourself when no one does. And if you look back she was always that character. Even in the first episode they say, “Are you the Supreme?” and she says “No” with such adamants and sadness. So you can really go back and clock Cordelia’s arc which we’ve enjoyed doing.
Did Sarah always know she was the Supreme?
No, we never tell anyone those things.
When did she find out?
I told her a couple episodes before just so she knew what was coming.
The scene with Cordelia giving the TV interview reminded me a bit of Lana’s interview in AHS: Asylum’s finale “Madness Ends.” Was that a deliberate homage?
Perhaps a little bit. I always loved that — that all the girls from all across the world were now free to be a little more open and out of the closet. It was a metaphor for so many things. But I can see the similarity there.
I loved everyone’s personal hells. Were those fun to come up with?
It was fun. Of course the most fun was Madison’s. They were all sort of fun. They were all about not being seen, not being heard. I think the most fun one to come up with was the Misty Day stuff, because I’ve always thought dissecting frogs was such a horrifying thing for kids to do. And it was also sort of sad. Her arc was about all living things and having to kill them over and over. It was very upsetting.
That was a dark ending for her.
It was tragic. It was sad. But I think the show always does stuff like that. There were some happy endings on the show, but I think Fiona’s ending is the most hideous of all and the most stunning of all, but she has that coming.
Did you always have that ending in mind for Fiona? That her hell was being in a relationship with The Axeman and living in the country?
I don’t think that was what the hell was. I think her hell — and maybe this is because I’m a new parent that I really felt this — but I think true hell is waking up and realizing you’ve blown it with your kids. The whole season she’s been socializing and partying and traveling the world and having sex with men. At the very end, particularly in that beautiful death scene, she got the tragedy of her mistake and her life.
I know Sarah and Jessica love working together. Did they like shooting that final goodbye?
Yeah, they love working together. They’re good friends. I don’t think Jessica liked all the hours in the makeup that we put her through. But she was a real sport about it. I know she loved the writing of the scene and she loved what it was about. She’s a mother with daughters, and those two love really emotional scenes.
How long did Jessica’s makeup take?
Hours and hours. First you have to start with a skullcap, and then you have to do the hair coming through. It’s not easy. But she’s a trouper, Jessica. Jessica is one of the world’s true beauties but has always loved to hide behind character-y things. She likes that. Look at her work in Grey Gardens.
One of my favorite moments is Queenie dancing under mind control from Cordelia.
Yeah, that’s very funny. There’s some funny things in this episode.
Is Myrtle’s last word “Balenciaga”?
Yes! “Any last words?” “Only one: Balenciaga!”
The opening scene with Stevie was great. So that was her idea?
Well, she brought it to my attention that we had been writing about the Seven Wonders, and she said, “Hey, do you remember I did this song?” And as soon as she said that, I instantly remembered that she did. So I got her to stay an extra day and do that as the cold opening, because I thought it was fun. So we added that to the script. I think it’s really great and clever and cute and a great homage to her.
So my guess for season 4 is that it’s set in Paris based on Fiona going there. Am I close?
No. You could not be more far off.
Can you say anything about who’s returning next year definitely?
I don’t wanna say because we haven’t even started the deals, and I literally just locked this thing on Monday. I’m meeting with people too and the writers haven’t even started yet.
Did you guys always intend for the Delphine/Marie storyline to be wrapped up before the finale so you could focus on the Seven Wonders?
Pretty much. That’s what we were always heading towards. I did love Kathy and Angela so much on the show that we tried to interweave a scene with them in hell in the last episode, but it was way off course. I told Kathy about it, and she said, “Well, if this is the way I go out, it’s a helluva way to go out, so I’m down with it.” So when she said that, I felt better about that plan. I just thought it was stronger.
Do you imagine that Madison is now a doll in Spalding’s attic?
Yes, I think she’s a forever doll.
I like the idea of Kyle as the new Spalding.
I particularly really enjoyed the whole Frankenstein [plot], like I love that he kills his creator. It’s almost the same thing that Fiona wants Cordelia to do. I was worried about Evan having to strangle Emma, because they’re deeply, madly in love and dating [in real life], but they went for it and had a great time doing it.
I was thinking that must have been so weird for him to kill his fiancée at work.
I think they both approached it in a very respectful way from the point of view of the characters. I like that whole Frankenstein ending. Season 1 and season 2, Evan died at the end, and in this one, he sort of lives on in an immortal way, and I like that we changed that.
This season had probably the least bleak ending. Do you ever think you’ll return to Miss Robichaux’s?
Never. No, I would personally never return to something we’ve done. I hear from people now who — because of Netflix, for example — are just now watching season 1. TV is different now, and the way people watch TV is different now. I know you’re sad. I’m a little sad to say goodbye to those characters. But next year comes along, and it’s a new, exciting batch of people and story, and I think that’s the energy and power of the show. So no, I would never go back. You know, I had considered, because I loved writing those women so much, spinning it off and making it a separate thing. But I was just like, “That’s not the show.” That’s not why I did the show.
Do you still think next season will be darker?
Hmmmm. I don’t know what to say. It’s a combination of things. It’s a combination of two time periods, with the main one being the 1950s. I don’t know. We haven’t started writing it yet, so I don’t really know the tone. I like that we had a lot of comedy in this year, and I like the comic characters, so I think that will remain.
Looking back now that it’s over, what do you think of Coven?
I do feel it’s my favorite, but I say that for every season, because I have sadness about saying goodbye. I thought it was a lot of fun to work on and challenging. I have the next two seasons plotted out, and I like both of them. I did marvel that the show grew so much, because we went into this season and everybody thought it would be our lowest-rated season because it would be so specific. The fact that it became the highest-rated one was interesting to me, and it proves you can never predict what people are going to like. I was surprised and shocked. I’m really proud of it. I love the actors in it. I love the costumes, and the production design was amazing this year. I thought all the department heads did an amazing job. Next year will be equally as challenging, because so much of it is period and bizarre and crazy and gothic. My feeling is, if you loved this season, you’ll love next season. It has the same sort of comedic tone to it.
Has anyone online guessed it yet?
No. No one has guessed it.
People seem to really want American Horror Story: Circus.
I saw those posters. I don’t know where people came up with that idea. Sometimes I think its people wanting us to do topics and doing fan posters. No one has completely guessed what it is.
But you already know what season 5 is?
I do, because it’s a radically different idea from the stuff we’ve been doing and it will take a lot of playing.
An anthology series that centers on different characters and locations, including a haunted house, an insane asylum, a witch coven, a freak show, and a hotel.