Warning: This article contains spoilers from American Horror Story: Roanoke.
American Horror Story has created a brand new world with it's current season — subtitled Roanoke — and has been commended for its terrifying new tone and realistic documentary style approach. After the fictional documentary My Roanoke Nightmare concluded, the re-enactors and their real life counterparts agreed to take part in a new series entitled Return to Roanoke: Three Days In Hell. However the twist led to many of the main characters dying and even the producer Sidney Aaron James fell victim to the haunted land. We have been informed that only one person makes it out of Return to Roanoke alive and that the show planned by producers never aired.
Series co-creator Ryan Murphy revealed something huge earlier today and, although he has promised us many more twists before the show reaches it's conclusion, this latest news is the most exciting yet. American Horror Story is no stranger when it comes to re-using characters from previous seasons. In the past we've seen Sarah Paulson's Billie Dean Howard pop up in both Murder House and Hotel. Murphy announced that Before Roanoke ends, one of AHS' greatest characters ever — who is also played by Sarah Paulson — will reappear. That's right folks, Sarah Paulson's unforgettable character from Asylum — Lana Winters — will be returning to American Horror Story at some point during the final few episodes of Roanoke.
Ryan Murphy confirmed this exciting news on his Twitter account today as a special Halloween celebration for fans of the show. Lana — or Lana Banana as Sister Jude often referred to her as — is remembered as one of the greatest #AHS characters ever. As great as this announcement is, the news of Lana's return has left many wondering how the character will fit into Roanoke, but the answer is likely right in front of us.
Lana Winters Is Behind Return To Roanoke: Three Days In Hell
As we've seen in recent episodes of Roanoke, only one participant survives the fictional Return to Roanoke reality series alive. However, some of us were left confused by the fact that the series never aired — it is clear that edits have been made to the found footage, so clearly somebody was readying the footage for broadcast. Perhaps we actually interpreted the message wrong — the initial show planned by producers never aired, which leads me to believe that a completely different version of the assembled footage actually does air and that Lana Winters is behind it.
Asylum is widely regarded as the greatest season of the horror anthology series and Lana Winters is often referred to as Paulson's strongest performance on the show. The rookie reporter was locked up at Briarcliff Asylum in the early '60s and was later part of the #horror when she was abused by serial killer Oliver Thresdon. Lana managed to escaped Briarcliff and her coverage of the corruption of the insane asylum turned her into a reporting legend. Asylum culminated with an aged Winters interviewing Thredson's son.
As Lana is a well established news reporter and documentary producer, it is more than likely that she is responsible for the final version of Return to Roanoke: Three Days In Hell — the version that we are witnessing unfold each week. Sidney Aaron James had planned a reality series like Big Brother, but it appears that the found footage of his Return to Roanoke has been cut and edited into a documentary exploring the horrors of the Roanoke house instead of the personal relationships between the occupants. The use of other footage such as the scenes of Audrey and Rory's wedding tape, as well as the production footage of My Roanoke Nightmare are clearly proof that the footage has been turned into a documentary.
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How Will Lana Appear In Roanoke?
Ryan Murphy told fans that the current season of American Horror Story is three separate stories — Chapters 1-5 focus on My Roanoke Nightmare, Chapters 6-9 focus on Return to Roanoke and Chapter 10 is something completely different. I have a feeling that the final episode will reveal Lana to be the producer of Return To Roanoke. Lana never ran away from the truth, instead she faced it head on and that's what made her a great reporter. Her experience in Briarcliff with Oliver Thredson cost her so much but she refused to let that stop her from following her dreams of becoming a good reporter.
Asylum culminated with Lana murdering Thredson's son, meaning that her nightmare of over forty years had finally come to an end. Perhaps the story of the lone Roanoke survivor is a chance for the character to start again and judging from how successful Sidney Aaron James' My Roanoke Nightmare actually was, it is likely that Lana pounced on a successful franchise in an attempt to boost her career into the twenty first century.
Lana Can Relate To The Roanoke Survivor
The Roanoke farmhouse has claimed hundreds of lives over the years and it's set to claim even more in the coming episodes so whoever makes it out alive certainly deserves to be applauded for doing so. Lana knows all about escaping from an impossible situation after she managed to break out of Briarcliff and expose Oliver Thredson's true nature to the world. It is likely that Lana will be able to relate to the lone survivor of Roanoke because they've both been through hell and back. They have been through an ordeal and that is what makes Lana a much more worthy producer of this story than Sidney ever was.
Moreover, the version of Return to Roanoke that is currently airing showed Sidney in a negative light — it showed him as the horrible person that he really was. In fact, I would argue that this actually seemed to be an intention of the documentary, to expose him as a fraud. Lana wouldn't like someone like Sidney so perhaps she set out to tell the truth one last time. As I mentioned above, Lana always chased the truth and in exposing the horrors of Roanoke, she also exposed the horror that was Sidney Aaron James.
I can't describe how excited I am to hear that Lana Winters is returning to American Horror Story — in the shared universe of AHS, characters don't come much bigger than her. Lana may have endured a horrifying experience during her stay at the Briarcliff institute, but she came back tougher and stronger than ever. With only three episodes of Roanoke left, Lana will likely play a huge part in the culmination of the Roanoke storyline. Get your notepads out, the Queen of #TV truth is finally returning to American Horror Story.
American Horror Story airs Wednesdays on FX. How do you think Lana Winters' return will impact American Horror Story: Roanoke? Tell me in the comment section below.