The Modern Family Star We Never Got To See In More Seasons Of AHS

One of the unique qualities of the anthology format of "American Horror Story" is that it allows its actors to return season after season, despite setting and story changes, to play different characters. However, there are a few high profile guest stars, here and there, that never got to return to "AHS." Joseph Fiennes, for example, was a one-and-done character when he played Monsignor Timothy Howard, the man in charge of the "Asylum," in that particular season. James Cromwell appeared in the same season as a Nazi scientist, Dr. Arthur Arden. Cuba Gooding, Jr. was in the "Roanoke" season, playing Matt Miller in the reenactment segments, and also actor Dominic Banks. Naomi Campbell played Vogue editor and ghost Claudia Bankson in "Hotel."

And in Season 1, one guest star, who was a regular cast member of "Modern Family," showed up during the "Murder House" season in a high profile guest spot that should have give him an opportunity to return later on. In fact, an appearance in Season 2 was actually announced. However, it didn't quite work out that way, and this actor has never appeared on "AHS" again — so far, anyway.

Eric Stonestreet played fearful Derek in AHS: Murder House

The actor in question is Eric Stonestreet, whose character, Cameron Tucker, features a big personality on his regular show, "Modern Family," which aired for 11 seasons. When he was tapped for the "Piggy Piggy" episode of "AHS" in 2011, it was reported in the trades, and Stonestreet gave interviews on how his "AHS" character, Derek, was different from Cam. "Cam is lighthearted, fun, passionate, excitable, exciting and confident," Stonestreet told The Hollywood Reporter. "Derek is meek, timid, scared, unsure of himself, embarrassed and ashamed of where his life is. He has this unreasonable fear of children's ghost stories that has crippled him. He has no social life, while Cam's social life is obviously thriving and he has tons of friends. Derek is sort of alone and this is a last step effort to get control back of his life."

Derek turns to Ben (Dylan McDermott) for help in overcoming his fear of urban legends during the "Murder House" season, specifically the Piggy Man. Ben has him saying the words that are supposed to call the Piggy Man into his mirror. In one effort, overseen by the psychiatrist, he accidentally gets a visit from Gladys (Celia Finkelstein), who thinks he's calling her because she is overweight. And then, in his own bathroom, he uses the pig call again only to have a robber, hiding in his bathtub, think Derek knows he's there. The robber shoots him in the head. "The sad thing is Derek is just a regular guy who has this crippling unreasonable fear," Stonestreet said, noting that this makes Derek very different from the fearless Cam. "I think that's something that's relatable when we all are smart enough to know better, yet we can't get around it."

It's unclear why Eric Stonestreet's Asylum return never happened

In late 2012, media outlets such as TV LIne reported that Stonestreet was headed back to "AHS" for a turn as a killer rather than the victim during the "Asylum" season. However, this appearance never materialized. No reason was ever given for the fact that he never showed up on the series again, either. 

On Reddit, fans speculated that the season had gone through rewrites, or that they'd asked the actor to do something he didn't want to do... or, perhaps, that he was meant to be Santa and it didn't work out. 

However, it was clear he wanted to return. In early 2012, he told E! Online that there was one reason he really wanted to be on the next season of "AHS." He said, "I would love to be with Jessica Lange. My gosh — in so many different ways I would love to be with Jessica Lange." At the time, it had recently been announced that the show's actors, including Lange, would be playing other characters in the following season, so the possibility that he would be back was definitely there despite his character's death. "I don't know what [series creator] Ryan Murphy is going to do with it," Stonestreet said. "His brain is so creative and so cool that I have no idea what direction he's going to go in."

Murphy did indeed take the series in more creative directions — but alas, Stonestreet wasn't along for the ride.