'The Handmaid's Tale' Season 2: Everything the Cast Wants You to Know
The Handmaid's Tale Season 2: Everything We Know So Far
The first season of Hulu's The Handmaid's Talecame to a , as Nick, using his privileges as an Eye, removed pregnant June from the Waterfords' home, ushering her toward a fate unknown. While it's a relief to come up for air after 10 hours exploring Gilead's horrors, we're more curious than ever about the fate of its inhabitants—especially since the the show has technically reached the end of its source material, Margaret Atwood's 1985 novel of the same name.
Hulu picked up the series for a second season—to premiere April 25, 2019—just days after the first three episodes premiered, so you can rest assured its producers, writers and cast were already thinking about the future long before the season finale aired. Showrunner Bruce Miller promises, "The world can get a lot bigger," so here, we're looking at all the clues those closest to the show have dropped surrounding Season 2.
1) It will air April 25, 2019 and run for 13 episodes.
We have just one month left to wait for the new season. Here's how Hulu's describing it:The Emmy-winning drama series returns with a second season shaped by Offred’s pregnancy and her ongoing fight to free her future child from the dystopian horrors of Gilead. “Gilead is within you” is a favorite saying of Aunt Lydia. In Season 2, Offred and all our characters will fight against—or succumb to—this dark truth.
2) Atwood's vision for the future of her characters will play heavily into Season 2.
"I think [my participation] will be more involving in the second season because we will be in uncharted territories so more invention will have to take place," she toldEW. Miller echoed that toTHR, noting that Atwood has had a long time to think about what happened to her characters after the book's conclusion.
3) June (Elisabeth Moss) isn't going anywhere, of course—and most of your favorite characters will be back, too.
"Offred being pregnant, her being dragged off were all parts of that tantalizing and frustrating ending [in the book]," Miller said. "So now we get to go down that road and we get to explore that. But certainly the people that we met and the situations we got into and the things that Margaret Atwood set up in Season 1 are not going away."
The first image of June from Season 2 shows the mother-to-be covered in blood, as if from a head wound. Who would harm a pregnant woman in Gilead?
4) The theme of the season is motherhood.
At a pre-Emmys panel discussion in August, Miller told the audience Season 2 will focus on "what it means to be a mother,"Us Weeklyreports. It'll go beyond the obvious of June's pregnancy, too: “It’s the way we mother our good friends and the people in our lives.”
5) Some of your favorite characters might not make it.
A new image from Season 2 released by Hulu shows a group of Handmaids attending a funeral, whichEWreports is for a Handmaid.
At a Television Academy For Your Consideration panel over the weekend, executive producer Warren Littlefield told the audience, "Anyone could die."
6) June is done being passive.
"Season 2 is what happens after you become a little rebellious," Miller toldEW.We already saw June say no to Aunt Lydia (Ann Dowd) in the season finale, dropping her rock instead of stoning poor Janine to death. This seems to be the point of no return for June.
7) It will be even darker than Season 1.
"It's going to get worse," Moss toldThe Pool.
8) It will be more intersectional.
A majorcomplaintsurroundingThe Handmaid's Tale's first season was its refusal to acknowledge race within Gilead while cherrypicking plot points from the real experiences of enslaved people.Angelica Jade BastiénatVultureargued, "[The show is] more concerned with the interiority of white women at the expense of people of color who recognize that Gilead isn’t a possible horrifying future, but the reality of what America has always been." Cate Young atCosmopolitan.comcalled it a "profound failure of storytelling."
Miller toldInversehe saw the critiques and conversation on Twitter and is working to make amends: “The thoughtful conversations online really inspired a lot of thoughtful conversations in the writers’ room about this,” he said. “It’s always hard to add another topic that is complicated and deserves real attention, but we’re up to the challenge."
9) Alexis Bledel will return as Emily—and a full-time cast member.
Hulu announced Bledel has been upgraded to series regular from "guest star" in Season 1. Last time we saw Emily, in Episode 5, she'd been apprehended by Gilead officials after stealing a car and running over an armed guard. At the pre-Emmys panel, Bledel confirmed Emily's been sent to the Colonies: “I’m very interested to see what that looks like because it's a completely different world we haven't seen on the show yet—and I'm scared."
The first image of the Colonies offers a positively eerie landscape. Poor Emily has been through so much, and it looks like it will only get worse.
10) We'll also meet Emily's wife.
Veep's Clea Duvall will play Sylvia, whomTHRdescribes as:"...Emily's (Alexis Bledel) loving wife and co-parent to their young son. As the Gilead regime takes control of America, the family attempts to escape to Canada, only to confront more restrictions and obstacles."
It sounds like this storyline will take place through flashback, because Gilead is already in control in the present day. It's likely Emily will be thinking about her family while stuck in the Colonies.
11) Episode 2 will cover the Colonies, with Marisa Tomei appearing as a guest star in this storyline.
Miller revealed this at a TCA panel in January, and also told the audience, "I wouldn't predict too much about Season 2 from Season 1."
12) Bradley Whitford is joining the cast in the recurring role of Commander Joseph Lawrence.
TheGet Outstar is headed to Gilead. According toDeadline, Lawrence is "the architect of Gilead’s economy, who is gruff and intimidating, with a disheveled mad genius vibe. His sly humor and flashes of kindness make him a confusing, mysterious presence for his newest Handmaid." Who will that Handmaid be?
At the Emmys FYC panel, it was revealed that Commander Lawrence will oversee Emily in the Colonies. That should make for someveryinteresting interactions.
13) Mayday will be a focal point, but it could very well become another enemy for June and the Handmaids—as dangerous as Gilead, even.
"Mayday is not the Handmaid rescue organization—it’s the anti-Gilead organization," Miller told theNew York Times. "And the anti-Gilead organization is not necessarily a friend to June or a friend to Handmaids. If I was going to try to hurt Gilead, the first thing I might do is kill all the Handmaids. You’re trying to weaken the state."
14) Rita (Amanda Brugel) and the Marthas will play a much larger role in Gilead.
Brugel has been promoted to series regular, which means we'll see a lot more of her character in Season 2. Miller says the Marthas were purposely made "invisible" in the first season, but they do have "networks" through which they communicate. The final moments of the Season 1 finale signal Rita is involved with Mayday, so it'll be interesting to see whose side she takes if it turns into a Mayday/Handmaid face-off. tRita seems to really care about June, and we can't imagine her killing any of the Handmaids just to show the leaders of Gilead a lesson.
15) June and Nick (Max Minghella) might eventually find Luke—and things could get awkward.
June's pregnant with Nick's baby—and beholden to him to keep her safe, for the time being. Meanwhile, Luke is trying to save her and their daughter from Gilead. "She's in this position where she might be in love with two people," Moss toldELLE.com. "I think she does love Nick—if I can speak for her—but I don't know if she knows that she does, yet. But she has a husband who she also loves, who's the father of Hannah, who she also now knows is alive. It's the most complicatedReal Housewivesepisode you've ever seen."
16) Things "get complicated" for Luke (O-T Fagbenle) and Moira (Samira Wiley).
Their reunion in Canada at the end of Episode 10 is one of the most moving moments in the series, but that doesn't mean it's a happy ending, Miller tellsTHR. Luke will obviously keep searching for June and Hannah, while Moira will focus on recovering from her time at Jezebels. During an appearance on ABC News, Wiley said Season 2 will follow Luke and Moira as a "makeshift family."
17) Janine will go to the Colonies.
Poor Janine. A screenshot from the Season 2 trailer makes it look like she's in the Colonies, and Madeline Brewerconfirmed that's where she's headedin Season 2. "In the second season she’s just grateful to be on Earth," Brewer revealed at the FYC event. "There’s a little bit more of her finding her own personality within the guidelines of Gilead. There’s so much more to her than meets the eye!”
18) The Waterfords will return.
"They're still a part of our plans for Season 2 but in interesting ways," Miller toldTHR. We'll definitelysee moreof Joseph Fienne's Fred, in particular. Season 2 will explore, "What is the commander doing all day long, and what is his life like? What are his responsibilities?" Miller toldNYT.
As for Mrs. Waterford, Miller says, "I can’t imagine Serena’s going to be too happy... I wouldn’t want to be in that house.” What does that mean for June's daughter Hannah, whom Serena dangled over June's head as collateral for a safe pregnancy in the finale?
The new season will also dive into Serena's backstory. "We're certainly going to keep exploring another significant part of Serena's past," actress Yvonne Strahovski said. "Bruce and the team, they never take the most obvious route... If we’re so surprised and the scenes are so juicy and challenging, it’s going to translate that way for the audience.”
19) June and Serena will develop an unlikely companionship.
"[June's] getting to know and building a relationship with Serena that even though they wouldn't like it to turn out that way, [it] is getting more honest," Miller revealed at that FYC event. Does this mean June ends up back at the Waterfords after that finale scene?!
20) We'll see some of Aunt Lydia's back story, as learn more about the role of the Aunts in Gilead.
"We would like to explore her back story, and what the lives of the aunts are like," Miller toldNYT. And at that pre-Emmys panel, Ann Dowd revealed Aunt Lydia used to be a teacher: "I bet she was fabulous. I can see her in an all-girls school with all the promiscuity.”
Dowd also discussed Lydia's unshakeable faith in an interview with Newsweek:"Her devotion to [the Handmaids] is real. She believes that without her, they cannot become the women they need to become to stay alive and have a meaningful life. I think she would go to her dying breath with that belief."
21) June's mother, Holly, will be played by Emmy and Tony-winner Cherry Jones.
Moss toldTHRJones was her "fantasy choice" for the role of June's feminist activist mother. “She's a terrific literary character who’s now going to come to life for the first time, and so it was important to me who that was,” said Moss.THRreports Jones will appear in Episode 3 (and possibly more episodes) in a guest star role. Holly is mentioned in the book—Moira tells June she saw her in a training video for the Colonies—and briefly in Season 1 Episode 7, but Miller toldTHRin May there wasn't enough time to do her justice in the first season. "We've been talking about her from day one of Season 1... It's a story we want to tell."
22) The Econowives are coming.
These are the wives of low-ranking men within Gilead, and they're required to perform all three of the main female roles in Gilead—Wife, Martha, and, if possible, Handmaid. Costume designer Ane Crabtree told Gold Derby, “The Econowives will become very important in Season 2." Will we see rebellion or complicity from these women?
23) And so are the Unwomen.
That's the Gilead name for women incapable of reproducing. We'll them in the Colonies, where they're forced to work in radioactive fields. "They have probably six months—at best two years—to live," costume designer Ane Crabtree told MarieClaire.com.
24) Actress Sydney Sweeney will play a 15-year-old named Eden.
And her role sounds chilling: she'll play a "pious and obedient" young women who belongs to the next generation of Gilead evangelists and longs to be a Commander's wife,Varietyreports.
25) The new season will be more political.
The timeliness of the show was mere coincidence when it aired in April (it was largely filmed before the November election), but Miller told MarieClaire.com that the U.S.'s political climate had a big effect on Season 2. "We can't help but let it influence us," he said. "Wehavelet it influence us. And there are a lot of issues we brought up last year that we want to address this year in ways we never had time to."
Miller also said the references won't always be overt. "The last thing that I want to do is mansplain about what people should take about from the show," he said at the FYC event. "What they take away from the show, what allegories they see, I hope is up to them."
26) We're not done with the flashbacks, which means more opportunities to explore a pre-Gilead world.
"I was happily surprised at how well the flashbacks worked for everybody, that they weren't jarring or hard to follow," Miller said. "So because of that we'll definitely do more."
That extends to the history of Gilead, and how the nation came to be. “You want to know, 'How did it happen?' Littlefield said. "So, part of the ambition of year two is to show that, the moment where we went from America to Gilead. That’s very powerful, and only brings us closer to these characters and understanding this world.”
27) The book itself will heavily influence Season 2, so it might be worth a re-read before the show returns.
"Everybody says, 'You got to the end of the book!' And I’m like, 'No, there’s still a whole bunch of stuff we didn’t even touch,' Miller told theNYT. "I read the book a lot. I pick out clues here and there, not so much to alter it, but to say, 'O.K., let’s logically extrapolate it.'"
28) Moss called the Season 2 premiere "f*cking ridiculous."
She toldEW: "There is literally no way that anyone can guess what happens.
Video: 'The Handmaid's Tale' Season 2 Finale: The Cast Reacts to All Those Cliffhangers!
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