At a screening of the first three episodes of the new season, showrunner Ryan Murphy spilled some details of what's to come. He revealed that Evan Peters will play six cult leaders from real lifethroughout the new batch of episodes. Among those six will be Charles Manson, David Koresh, and Jim Jones. Ryan Murphy is clearly swinging for the fences when it comes to infamous cult leaders.
Interestingly, Ryan Murphy has been trying to work Charles Manson into American Horror Storyfor a while now. Collider reports that Murphy was looking into incorporating Manson into Season 7 now that we're only a couple of years away from the 50th anniversary of the Manson family's 1969 murder of Sharon Tate and four others. Murphy was struggling to find a way to put a fresh twist on the Manson story; the heat of the 2016 presidential election and the powerful public personas that emerged out of the campaigns inspired Murphy to incorporate Manson as an example of an individual who rises from a group and inspires others by sheer force of personality.
Ryan Murphy elaborated on how American Horror Story: Cult will touch on so many legendary cult leaders in a single season, saying this:
"We examine how those people rise to power and why people followed them, when we can look at what happened and they're all such idiots. But for some reason, there was something going on in the culture, at that time, where people were so disenfranchised that they were like, 'I'm going to follow you, Charles Manson, and I'm going to do whatever you say."