The Season 2 premiere of The Handmaid’s Tale is almost here. The dark but addicting first season sucked us into the chilling world of Gilead. While a few teasers for Season 2 have been released, the cast and crew have kept pretty quiet about the details when it comes to spoilers.
Yet at PaleyFest at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles in March, we were able to glean a few developments about the Hulu series that should whet your appetite. We already know that Elisabeth Moss is continuing in her intriguing role as Offred/June and Alexis Bledel has been upped from a guest star to a series regular as Ofglen/Emily. It gets even more exciting, though — expect the unexpected.
Here are some developments to look forward to. And one last warning: spoilers ahead!
Fans should expect two major themes to emerge — Gilead and motherhood. Executive producer Warren Littlefield explained those themes very clearly at PaleyFest.
“I think one of the thematics from this year that Bruce [Miller, show creator] really used is, ‘Gilead is within you.’ The other big theme is motherhood,” he said. “When we start the season, [Offred] has an unborn child. So in this extremely volatile chess game of Season 2, all her moves are about her unborn child and what life will be for that child.”
Viewers are also going to get a deep dive into the story behind how America became Gilead and what goes on in the Colonies. Let’s just say, it isn’t too pretty.
“It was a very ambitious year for us, as well as, how does this all happen? I think more traditional network television would have been forcing Bruce to say, how do we get from America to Gilead in the first couple of hours? Bruce, of course, didn’t do that,” Littlefield explained. “You want to know, how did it happen? So part of the ambition of Year 2 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.”
There will be some terrific new characters played by familiar faces joining the cast in Season 2. Look for Cherry Jones to step in and play June’s mother beginning in Episode 3. Bradley Whitford is a commander, and Clea Duvall plays Ofglen’s wife, which will be a part of several flashback sequences. Marisa Tomei will guest star on the show, but her role as Mrs. O’Conner is being kept under wraps for now.
The show is moving beyond Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel, so the writers are doing their best to honor her vision while rocking a major boat. These spoilers show how shocking Season 2 of The Handmaid's Tale will be.
The Waterfords (Joseph Fiennes and Yvonne Strahovski) will head to Canada on a diplomatic visit. This trip allows for an explosive meeting between the couple and Moira (Samira Wiley) and Luke (O-T Fagbenle) — and we can’t wait for that big moment.
In addition, Littlefield dropped a major hint that halfway through the season, there will be an act of terrorism that will be a game changer for Gilead.
“When you have this kind of world with these kinds of rules, there will be an uprising,” he said to EW. “The consequences will be devastating for both sides.”
The Handmaid's Tale will continue to explore the complexities of power and womanhood — those who use it for good and evil. Sometimes good and evil are encompassed by the same character, like Aunt Lydia (Ann Dowd), who shows moments of compassion only to be usurped by moments of darkness. Trusting other women in such a time of need can be a character's downfall in Gilead and the Colonies.
Offred will continue to explore her growing confidence in a world that bleakly diminishes women. She also has a pregnancy to deal with in Season 2. It's a harsh reality, and one that begs for some levity in such gravity.
"Whether this is my end or a new beginning I have no way of knowing," she said at the end of Season 1. "And so I step up, into the darkness within, or else the light."
All 13 episodes of The Handmaid's Tale premiere on Hulu on April 25.
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