Superfans and the TV press alike have stayed on top of each minute, painful detail that's been leaked about the upcoming fourth season of American Horror Story, dubbed Freak Show, and we at the -ists already provided you a run-down as of last month when the first photo leaked of Sarah Paulson as conjoined twins Bette and Dot. More details arrived this week, including the exciting news that the freakiest character from Asylum, Pepper, will return. Below are all the important bullet-point highlights as we mentally prepare for the show's October return.

  • The new season will be set in 1950 in Jupiter, Florida, at one of the last remaining freak shows in the country, led by German ex-pat Elsa Mars, played by Jessica Lange.
  • Kathy Bates returns this season as Ethel Darling, and Evan Peters returns as her son, Jimmy Darling.
  • Angela Bassett is also returning to the cast, and she'll play the wife to Michael Chiklis's Strong Man. Creator Ryan Murphy says of casting Chiklis, "I love the part because it’s really written to be quite vulnerable, which is something I think Michael does so well — the strong man who’s vulnerable. I’m very excited to see [him] tussle with all those great ladies. And he’s really up for it, really excited about it." Chiklis's character is also, reportedly, the ex of Bates's character.
  • Regarding the tone of the show as compared to other seasons, FX CEO John Landgraf said this week, "Some years it’s going to be big and bright and brash and campy the way Coven is. Other years it’s going to be dark and brooding — like Asylum was. I guess I would put Freak Show half-way in between the two. It’s not quite as brooding and formal and Hitchcockian as Asylum, it’s got a little bit more humor and a little bit more camp, but its got a brooding period feel to it also."
  • Landgraf also says Freak Show will have a "very different look from a design and cinematography standpoint."
  • A call sheet leaked to an Argentinian fan group on Facebook revealed this week that Pepper, played by Naomi Grossman, will return this season in what must be the character's backstory — Pepper ended up in the Asylum of Season 2 by 1964, but this will be 14 years earlier.
  • Also on the call sheet is what appears to be her sidekick in the freak show, Salty, played by large-eared actor Christopher Neiman.
  • The HuffPo surmises that the character of Meep, played by big-eared actor Ben Woolf, is likely also going to be a microcephalic along with Pepper and Salty — microcephaly was the birth defect that famed sideshow performer Schlitzie was born with, and Schlitzie inspired the character of Pepper.
  • 6-foot-8-inch trans female model Erika Ervin, who already has the nickname Amazon Eve in real life, has been cast as Amazona Eve. Ervin came out as trans earlier this year, revealing she had transitioned in 2004.
  • Creator Ryan Murphy tweeted today that he had cast All My Children star and recent Masters of Sex featured player Finn Wittrock in an unannounced role.
  • We already knew about Paulson playing two-headed Bette and Dot, and above is the recently leaked photo of her in costume from behind.
  • Meryl Streep's daughter Grace Gummer, who had a small, one-episode role on Coven, is cast as "Penny the Candy Striper."
  • The character that Murphy earlier referred to as "Clown Killer" now appears to be called "Twisted Clown," and will be played by The Americans star John Carroll Lynch, who's perhaps best known for playing Drew Carey's brother Steve on The Drew Carey Show. Murphy promises this will be "the most terrifying clown ever."
  • Neil Patrick Harris reached out to Murphy begging to be cast on the show, and Murphy replied on Twitter last week, "Of course you can be on Freak Show! I have a role I think you'd love."
  • Seasoned character actor Dennis O'Hare, who's appeared on all the seasons of the show, returns as an unidentified antagonist to Lange's character, who he says will be "working at cross-purposes" with her.
  • A creepy teaser for Freak Show came out last week and was published everywhere, but it turned out to be fan-made and was quickly pulled off YouTube by FX.
  • And though we know that Frances Conroy is supposed to be back as well, playing one of the freaks, we don't yet know who she'll be playing.

Addenda (Updated):

  • Also, American Beauty star Wes Bentley has been cast as Eddie, who is some sort of "dark tormentor" from Kathy Bates's character's past.
  • Angela Bassett's character is named Desiree Dupre, as EW reports.
  • And Jamie Brewer and Gabourey Sidibe are also set to return to the show in unannounced roles.

Prepare to be freaked out, fans, or just to generally freak out as the first official teasers hit the web in the next month or so. Freak Show premieres on Halloween October 21, on FX.


Previously: What We Know About American Horror Story: Freak Show, Debuting In October