Kathy Bates is back for more chills on "American Horror...

Kathy Bates is back for more chills on "American Horror Story: Apocalypse" on Wednesday. Credit: FX/Kurt Iswarienko

We know this much about the latest “American Horror Story”: The world is ending.

And that’s just the beginning.

Typically, any season of executive producer Ryan Murphy’s FX series is shrouded in secrecy at first, but just the title “American Horror Story: Apocalypse” appears to give up a chunk of the plot as the anthology starts its eighth round Wednesday at 10 p.m. Per Murphy, the story unfolds toward the end of 2019 … so those who buy into the tale’s premise have a little over a year to get their affairs in order.

Familiar faces abound, with Sarah Paulson and Evan Peters returning not only as actors, but also as debuting directors. Paulson’s episode will see her guide fellow “AHS” veteran Jessica Lange in the latter’s role from the show’s original “Murder House” season. Kathy Bates, Emma Roberts, Connie Britton, Dylan McDermott, Cheyenne Jackson, Adina Porter, Leslie Grossman, Billie Lourd, Billy Eichner, Lily Rabe, Frances Conroy, Taissa Farmiga, Gabourey Sidibe, Cody Fern and music icon Stevie Nicks also are among the returnees, with Billy Porter (of Murphy’s “Pose”) and Joan Collins as new additions.

“If you think about it — the apocalypse as a launching point, if that’s what launches it — what’s the fantasy of what happens next?” executive producer and longtime Murphy associate Alexis Martin Woodall asks. “As always, there is a specific mystery to the show that is better left unfolded. It is an experience. And this season is a very different show for us, as always, and it’s a great experience.”

Emmy winner Paulson maintains the newest “AHS” theme is “the apocalypse in the truest sense of the word,” adding that she’s happy to remain a part of the show’s company whatever the subject. “I think we are all aware that there’s a very unique reality to this world we get to live in, and that we are all here again, season after season … playing different parts, sometimes reprising things, but every year, you get to do something new and different with a group of actors that you admire and that you learn from.”

An Emmy recipient for “American Horror Story: Coven” (which “Apocalypse” is said to channel), Oscar winner Bates insists the series can be educational in other ways, too. “Sometimes, you’ll do shows and you’re in the baby pool,” she reflects. “It’s not very deep. You’re kind of trying to make something out of it. And with this, I feel like every time you read the scripts, you just go, ‘Oh, I didn’t notice that.’ And, ‘Oh, this works together.’ I feel like in a way, it’s taken me back to when I first started in the theater, and I worked on my script so hard.”

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