At today's Television Critics Association panel, American Horror Story producer Tim Minear finally confirmed what the third season, subtitled Coven will be about.
Guess what? Kathy Bates will indeed play Marie Delphine LaLaurie, something which has been at the center of much speculation. Madame LaLaurie was a real-life socialite in New Orleans. A house fire revealed that she kept her slaves bound and tortured. Angela Bassett will play Marie Laveau, another real person who lived around the same time as Madame LaLaurie. Laveau was a Creole voodoo priestess in New Orleans who some claim to have seen continue to practice her voodoo after her death in 1881.
Jessica Lange will play a witch named Fiona who, as far as I can tell, is not based on a historical figure. Sarah Paulson will play her daughter, Cordelia, named for the daughter in King Lear. The actual plot is still being kept a secret, but Minear promises that this season will feature bigger themes such as oppression of minorities, and "minority groups going after each other." There will also be a strong "feminist theme" going through the season - no surprise because the cast this season is almost entirely female.
AHS: Coven is set in modern times, so if I had to guess, Jessica Lange and her coven (which, judging by these pictures, I assume includes Emma Roberts, Gabourey Sidibe, and Taissa Farmiga) are trying to conjure up LaLaurie or Laveau, or both. But of course, knowing AHS, shit will get really crazy. But Minear promises that this season will have a higher "fun quotient" that might make it a little more "welcoming" to an audience.
American Horror Story: Coven will air on FX in October.