Twisty the clown may be making an appearance in American Horror Story season 7, according to a new tease Ryan Murphy posted to Instagram on Monday. Details around the next installment of the horror anthology have been few and far between, but Murphy’s social media has proved a hotbed for potential clues. He’s already dropped hints about a pair of deformed new monsters, announced the casting of Leslie Grossman (Popular, What I Like About You), and shared a number of yet-to-be-decoded snapshots.
Outside of Murphy’s Instagram, we already know that this chapter will center around the 2016 presidential election — though it won’t include characters for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton — and will pick up on election night. Series regulars Evan Peters, Sarah Paulson, Adina Porter, and Cheyenne Jackson are confirmed to return along with newcomers Billie Lourd (of Murphy’s recently canceled Scream Queens), Billy on the Street host Billy Eichner, and Arrow‘s Colton Haynes.
Murphy has also told EW last fall that season 7 will be delving into “deeper histories and myhthologies” for several Freak Show characters, and Twisty seems to be the first. Viewers will recall the character, played by John Carroll Lynch, as the murderous clown from season 4. He joined the circus as a young man, but his jealous co-workers started a rumor that he was molesting children, and he was promptly fired. Upon returning to his hometown of Jupiter, he found that his mother had died, and after an unsuccessful run selling kids’ toys, he blew off his lower jaw with a shotgun in an attempted suicide. He, of course, survived, and began abducting children to “save” them from their parents, eventually becoming a mentor of sorts for the equally demented Dandy Mott (Finn Wittrock).
At the end of Freak Show, Twisty was claimed by two-faced ghost Edward Mordrake as the one to drag back with him to hell, and Mordrake stabbed and killed him. He was last seen when Elsa Mars summoned Mordrake and his ghoulish coterie to kill her.
So, given that Twisty died in the 1940s and AHS season 7 takes place in present day, he’ll likely appear as a spirit, or as Murphy’s photo seems to suggest, simply live on through his demented legacy — a ghost story to be shared in hushed tones. But at this point, Twisty’s exact involvement is strictly speculation. Murphy has been open with clues, but not with specifics, and knowing his proclivity for twists, it will be quite some time before the curtain is pulled back.
American Horror Story season 7 premieres this September on FX.