Since the debut of American Horror Story in 2011 with “Murder House,” there have been a few staples that fans can count on. Every season has some sort of supernatural element, from ghosts to zombies, witches to aliens. Every story hides some kind of unexpected twist, sometimes connecting back to older seasons. And the same faces will show up almost every year, with Sarah Paulson being one of the recurring fan-favorites. But Sarah Paulson may leave AHS after Season 10, a reveal that startled longtime fans of the series.
Warning: Spoilers for American Horror Story Season 10 follow. Along with Lily Rabe and Evan Peters, Sarah Paulson has been in nine out of 10 American Horror Story seasons. (She sat out from Season 9, AHS: 1984.) But even when she’s not in AHS, she’s in some Ryan Murphy joint. She’s appeared in two out of three American Crime Story seasons, she had a role in the short-lived Feud, and she leads Murphy’s Netflix series Ratched. It’s become something of a joke among fans how much Paulson appears in Murphy’s TV series — when American Love Story and American Sports Story spinoffs were announced, an entire raft of tweets asked what significant role Paulson would land in each.
But a decade is a long time to work with one collaborator, and Paulson hasn’t always been a fan of the work she’s been given. Paulson admitted she didn’t love all of her roles in AHS, and she recently said she regrets agreeing to wear a fat suit for her role as Linda Tripp in the current season of ACS.
All this to say, it seems like Paulson and Murphy may be taking a bit of a break. In an interview with E!’s Watch What Happens, Paulson admitted she didn’t have a current role lined up with Murphy for the first time in a long while — and, most crushingly, that she may not take another part in AHS. “It’s the first time in about three years where I don’t know,” she said. “I think this is my last season of Horror Story, probably.”
But don’t start sobbing just yet! Paulson isn’t setting this in stone. “Every time [Murphy] comes to me with some wackadoodle-stoodle character, I tend to be like, ‘Yes! Let’s do it!’ So, I don’t know ... we’ll see.”
The current season of AHS does feel a bit like Murphy might be getting ready to say goodbye to Paulson. In the Sept. 15 episode of AHS: Double Feature, Mickey (Macaulay Culkin), a newly-minted Hollywood superstar writer, leaves Paulson’s character, Karen, for dead. As he goes, he promises, “You’re my muse. You’ll be the heroine in every story I ever write.” Paulson’s character responds by murdering him.
Paulson certainly has been Murphy’s muse for the past decade and the heroine in nearly every story he writes. Perhaps it’s time for both to say goodbye, at least for the time being. But somehow, fans are sure even if Paulson does exit American Horror Story for good, it won’t be long before Murphy has her in a new series. After all, American Love Story and American Sports Story are on their way.