The Handmaid’s Tale roared onto television screens last year to critical acclaim, and, as promised, the star-studded dystopian drama is getting a brand-new series for 2018. Here, we reveal what we learned in the first trailer…
Based on Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel of the same name, The Handmaid’s Tale (in which Elisabeth Moss plays titular ‘handmaid’, Offred) takes place in Gilead, a near-future version of North America in which the Constitution has been overthrown.
As a result of this, women’s rights and identities have been stripped away, with fertile women being rounded up, red tagged, and forced into a life of sexual servitude and surrogacy.
The first season, much like the book, ended ambiguously: we saw a pregnant Offred/June being herded into a prison van, although it remained unclear as to whether she was being rescued or taken into government custody.
Elsewhere, Ofglen (Alexis Bledel) was dragged away by the Eyes after stealing a car and using it to run down one of their own. Janine (Madeline Brewer) is sentenced to death – but her fellow Handmaids refused to carry out the punishment, meaning that she is still alive… for now.
However, there was some hope to be taken from the episode when Moira (Samira Wiley) escaped across the border to Canada and found Offred’s husband, Luke (O-T Fagbenle).
Now, the trailer for the second season has landed – and it looks as if it has confirmed a number of theories: Offred/June is seen being violently assaulted by officials, although she later enjoys a brief, bittersweet reunion with Nick (Max Minghella). Janine has been branded an Unwoman and sent to the dreaded, contaminated colonies. Moira is finding it hard to adapt to life as a refugee up north, and to her and Luke’s makeshift family. The Handmaids have been bitterly punished for their previous infraction – although it quickly becomes apparent that a resistance is brewing.
And Ofglen? Well, her fate remains uncertain… but we do know she has been upgraded from “guest star” to “season regular”.
Check it out:
Moss whetted our appetites for the season two premiere when she told EW: “There is literally no way that anyone can guess what happens. You can try, but you won’t do it.”
She continued: “We have no intention of doing anything else than being even more balls to the wall than we were in Season 1.”
Meanwhile, showrunner Bruce Miller told the New York Times that Mayday will be a focal point of the second season, but it could very well become another enemy for June and the Handmaids – as dangerous, or more, than Gilead itself.
“Mayday is not the Handmaid rescue organization—it’s the anti-Gilead organisation,” he said. “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.”
Miller added that Serena Joy (Yvonne Strahovski) and Commander Fred Waterford (Joseph Fiennes) will also return – as, indeed, we see in the trailer.
“What is the commander doing all day long, and what is his life like? What are his responsibilities?” said Miller.
He added: “I can’t imagine Serena’s going to be too happy… I wouldn’t want to be in that house.”
Most importantly of all, though, Miller stressed that Atwood’s book – based on chilling real-life events –will continue to influence the second season.
“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,” he said.
“I read the book a lot. I pick out clues here and there, not so much to alter it, but to say, ‘OK, let’s logically extrapolate it.’”
Per the official synopsis, Season 2 is “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 favourite saying of Aunt Lydia. In Season 2, Offred and all our characters will fight against – or succumb to – this dark truth.”
It is set to launch on Hulu in April. As of yet, we don’t have a UK release date – but it seems likely Channel 4 will pick up the show as quickly as it did last time.