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‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Season 2: Everything You Need to Know About the New Season

Here are the new cast members, storylines, and biggest questions surrounding Season 2 of the acclaimed Hulu series.

The Handmaid's Tale Season 2


[Editor’s note: Spoilers for “The Handmaid’s Tale” Season 1 below.]

The first season of “The Handmaid’s Tale” left Offred in an uncertain position, stepping into a van with a destination still unknown to us. In between the airing of that finale and now, the series cleaned up on the awards circuit, winning the Outstanding Drama Series Emmy and finally winning Elisabeth Moss a well deserved Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series Emmy. The highly anticipated second season is now approaching, and in preparation, we have compiled a helpful list of everything you need to know about the new season.

The Season Will Premiere April 25

Hulu has unveiled the premiere date for the new season: April 25, with a special two-episode premiere, followed by new episodes weekly. The season will run for 13 episodes instead of 10 this year.

There Are Some Exciting New Cast Additions

Fresh off of his roles in the Oscar-nominated “The Post” and “Get Out,” Bradley Whitford is hopping on board as Commander Joseph Lawrence. According to Deadline, he is “the architect of Gilead’s economy, who is gruff and intimidating, with a disheveled mad genius vibe.”

He will be joined by fellow new cast member Sydney Sweeney, who will have a recurring role as a 15-year old girl who wants to become a Commander’s wife.

Also joining the cast in guest roles are Oscar-winning actress Marisa TomeiClea Duvall as Ofglen’s wife, and Cherry Jones as Offred’s mother. In related news, Season 1 guest star Alexis Bledel has been promoted to a series regular.

The Handmaid's Tale  -- "Late" Episode 103 --   Offred visits Janine’s baby with Serena Joy and remembers the early days of the revolution before Gilead. Ofglen faces a difficult challenge. Ofglen (Alexis Bledel), shown. (Photo by: George Kraychyk/Hulu)

Reed Morano Will Not Return, but Women Will Make up Half the Directing Crew

Morano was instrumental in establishing the series stylistically, directing the first three episodes and serving as an executive producer for the first season. She will not be returning this year, likely due to projects like the Sundance selection “I Think We’re Alone Now.” However, series creator Bruce Miller said during a panel at the 2018 TCA winter press tour that women would direct half of the episodes in the second season. He also added that even though the series is moving into territory not covered by the novel, legendary author Margaret Atwood would still be actively involved. “She’s really the mother of us all in this project,” Miller told IndieWire.

The Scope of the Show Will Expand

The new season is set to explore new areas in the world of Gilead, including the forbidding Colonies. “They play a substantial role in Season 2,” Miller told IndieWire. “We just finished doing a quite long location shoot up there and it was incredible, the production design and the location we were able to find, building that terrible world.”

The Handmaid's Tale Season 2

The Show’s Expanded Scope Will Also Include More Race and Diversity Issues

The novel worked within an all-white world, but Miller and Atwood decided to focus on a diverse cast for the show. Miller told IndieWire that he is in “awe” of the show’s fans for the discussions they inspired, especially as it related to race in the first season. “I think we, like any other show, missed lots of opportunities,” he said. “That’s the whole point of moving onto Season 2 and 3, you can keep trying to improve and expand the world and cover more ground and cover more things that you weren’t able to cover in Season 1 or didn’t know would be that interesting.”

Aunt Lydia’s Backstory Is a Priority

Miller told The New York Times that he plans on exploring Aunt Lydia’s (Ann Dowd) character in more depth. “Aunt Lydia is one of my most fascinating characters,” he said. “We would like to explore her back story, and what the lives of the aunts are like. The networks between the Marthas. What is the commander doing all day long, and what is his life like? What are his responsibilities?”

The Handmaid's Tale  -- "Late" Episode 103 -- Offred visits Janine’s baby with Serena Joy and remembers the early days of the revolution before Gilead. Ofglen faces a difficult challenge. Aunt Lydia (Ann Dowd) and Offred (Elisabeth Moss), shown.  (Photo by: George Kraychyk/Hulu)

The Mayday Resistance Is Coming

At the end of the last season, Offred entrusted Rita (Amanda Brugel) with letters meant for the Mayday resistance movement. It may not entirely be a good thing, though. Miller said in a New York Times interview: “The part that I’ve been thinking about is that Mayday is not the handmaid rescue organization — it’s the anti-Gilead organization. And the anti-Gilead organization is not necessarily a friend to June or a friend to handmaids.”

Luke and Moira Are Reunited, but They’re Facing Their Own Struggles

The events of the first season finale saw Moira (Samira Wiley) escaping and reuniting with Offred’s husband Luke (O.T. Fagbenle). “They’ve got a lot of their own healing to do just to get their own selves back,” Miller said when asked about the search for Offred.

Motherhood Will Be Key

According to the official Hulu synopsis for the season, its events will be “shaped by Offred’s pregnancy” and will center on “her ongoing fight to free her future child from the dystopian horrors of Gilead.”

Someone Will Not Make It Out Alive

EW shared an exclusive image from the new season, which takes place at a Handmaid’s funeral.

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