EXCLUSIVE: ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Boss Teases Expanded World in Season 2

by Stacy Lambe 11:10 AM PDT, July 17, 2017
Photo: Hulu

The Handmaid’s Tale made a huge splash with fans and critics alike, earning 13 Primetime Emmy nominations last Thursday.

“It’s incredible to bring it to life and have people discover it,” executive producer Bruce Miller tells ET, adding that the recognition is “a testament to the work of the cast and the crew.” 

Alexis Bledel Returning to 'The Handmaid's Tale' as Series Regular in Season 2

Adapted from Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel, the Hulu original series tells the story of women placed in servitude -- and subjected to ritualized rape in order to stave off infertility -- shortly after the fall of the U.S. government to a totalitarian and Christian fundamentalist government known as Gilead. At the center of this near-future dystopian saga (and the audience’s narrator) is Offred (Elisabeth Moss), a woman caught while trying to flee to Canada and eventually forced to become a handmaid in the household of Commander Fred Waterford and his wife, Serena Joy (played by Joseph Fiennes and Yvonne Strahovski).

Following a successful first season, which ended on a particularly defiant note with the handmaids refusing to beat on of their own and Offred arrested, everyone’s eagerly waiting to find out what season two will bring us. In conversations with Miller, director Reed Morano, who helmed season one’s first three episodes, and Ann Dowd, who plays Aunt Lydia, ET put together a few clues about what’s to come when the show returns in 2018:

More POVs

“We’re looking at the second season as we’re in this world Margaret [Atwood] created, let’s keep exploring that world but without losing sight of Margaret’s voice and Margaret’s vision,” Miller says of season two.

With 13 episodes -- season one only had 10 -- the showrunner says the series will have more room to explore different characters and points of view that go beyond Offred. “The time that we spread out turned out to be so fascinating,” he says, referring to season one. “We’re definitely expanding.”

Life Outside Gilead

Expanding the points of view also means opening Handmaid’s world to different locations in and outside of Gilead, particularly Canada, where Moira (Samira Wiley) and Luke (O. T. Fagbenle) find each other after both escaping.

“One of the reasons we had a diaspora of characters at the end of season was so that we would have people that would guide us through other parts of this world,” Miller says, adding that audiences will get to see what life is like outside of Gilead. “Moira and Luke are in Canada together. There are all sorts of fascinating things happening up there that would be a show unto itself.”

Aunt Lydia

While Dowd says she has no idea what’s in store for season two, she did offer up what she’d like to explore with Aunt Lydia, who was left defeated when Offred and the rest of the handmaids refused to punish Janine (Madeline Brewer). “I clearly didn't get through to a few of my girls, so I have some unfinished business to attend to,” Dowd says. “It'll be interesting to see how Lydia copes quite honestly. I think she was totally thrown, with the rug pulled out from under her. If she can still stand up, she's got some serious soul-searching to do.”

Possibly No Morano

Despite earning an Emmy nomination for her work behind the camera, Morano says that as of right now, she will not be returning to direct in season two. “There’s currently a scheduling conflict that I have. Obviously, if there’s any way possible, I will try to come back toward the end,” she reveals.

The day before the Emmy nominations, it was announced that Morano will direct Blake Lively in an adaptation of Mark Burnell’s spy thriller, The Rhythm Section. With production set to begin later this year, it will overlap with season two, which is set to go back in production in September.