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Is American Horror Story even American Horror Story without Evan Peters? In Season 9, it looks like well all have to find out—because the franchise stalwart has confirmed that he wont appear in the seriess upcoming chapter. When asked recently if hell be involved in the new season, Peters replied without ambiguity: “Nah, Im gonna sit a season out.”

For anyone who keeps close tabs on the A.H.S franchise and interviews with its repertory cast, this news might be a blow—but its likely not a surprise. Speaking with GQ last year, Peters got candid about the toll of playing such consistently dark characters, saying, “Its just exhausting. It's really mentally draining, and you dont want to go to those places ever in your life. And so you have to go there for the scenes, and it ends up integrating it somehow into your life. Youre in traffic and you find yourself screaming and youre like, What the hell? This isn't who I am.

A representative for FX did not immediately respond to V.F.s request for comment regarding Peterss hiatus from the show next season, but his absence will certainly be felt by fans. Peters is one of the few performers who has appeared in every single season of the series so far, giving life to some of its most memorable characters. He and Sarah Paulson have been a stabilizing presence that, even through lackluster seasons, can still make the series watchable. Although some seasons—like last years Apocalypse—have had less Peters than others, it will still be strange to see a chapter without him altogether.

Petersss ex-fiancée, Emma Roberts, has already been confirmed as part of Season 9s cast, along with skier and Olympic medalist Gus Kenworthy, who will play her characters boyfriend. It will be Robertss fifth season on the show. Paulson has not been officially confirmed, but has been presumed likely to return—although now is perhaps the time to stop assuming anythings a given.

American Horror Story has been renewed through Season 10, but after that, its future feels less certain—especially as longstanding cast members are starting to bow out. With Ryan Murphy already ensconced in his new job at Netflix and ratings steadily dwindling, season by season, perhaps its time to start wondering how many American horror stories we really have left.

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