It’s that time of year again, wherein Ryan Murphy offers maddeningly opaque hints at the next American Horror Story theme. We’ve already learned Season 8 will take us to the future, and Murphy now offers tantalizing details of Sarah Paulson’s transformed appearance. That said – will Murphy’s muse have a more limited role this year?

Murphy previously told reporters at the TCA press tour that the as-yet-untitled eighth American Horror Story season was “set in the near future” and “has nothing to do with anything you’ve ever seen before,” without confirming who from prior casts might return. Paulson seemed a given, and Murphy now confirms as much with Entertainment Weekly, adding “Sarah Paulson is very excited about the dental appliances she will be wearing on the show.” Future dentistry! Sure, why not?

Whether or not Paulson’s return was assured, there’s a fair question of exactly how involved her toothy role might be. As you’ll recall, Paulson and Murphy are scheduled to start filming Netflix’s two-season Ratched prequel at some point this year, to say nothing of the already-delayed Katrina season of American Crime Story. On that note, FX boss John Landgraf recently told reporters the next installment “might be Katrina, it might be something else. I can just tell you there will be one.” Murphy had a more optimistic assessment (h/t /Film), again calling into question Paulson’s schedule:

The next American Crime Story is our Katrina story with Sarah Paulson as the lead. We decided to do a more intimate version of that story that I think is probably much more interesting and topical. It’s based on a book that Scott Rudin owned, now he’s partnering with us, called Five Days At Memorial that’s really a look at the health care industry and disasters and global warming. I’m very excited about that so we’ll probably shoot that in the fall. Sarah’s going to do that in the fall I think.

It’s also worth noting that Paulson previously juggled work on both American Horror Story: Hotel and The People v. O.J. Simpson; often moving from one set to the other. Coordinators of Season 8, Katrina and Ratched might similarly work out some frenetic schedule, but the same questions will arise if and when Murphy gets around to that Murder House and Coven crossover season; said to be next in the rotation.

We’ll take all the Sarah Paulson we can get, but what might this futuristic dental work be about?

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