Elle Fanning is returning as Catherine the Great, and this season of Hulu’s comedy series sees that a baby makes three between Fanning’s Catherine and Nicholas Hoult’s Emperor Peter. Of course, you could also argue the addition of Gillian Anderson — as Joanna, Catherine’s mother — makes four, but that’s neither here nor there. The first trailer for Season 2 has dropped, and you can watch the new look below.
This season will mark Catherine’s further expansion into running Russia alongside her bumbling husband. Fanning’s lead finally takes the throne for her own — but if she thought coup-ing her husband was difficult, it’s nothing compared to the realities of “liberating” a country that doesn’t want to be liberated. She’ll battle her court, her team, and even her own mother in a bid to bring the enlightenment to Russia. Meanwhile she’ll also battle her heart as Peter slowly transitions from much-hated husband to… prisoner? Ally? Lover? Ultimately, Catherine will learn that to change a country, you must let it change you, that there is a fine line between idealism and delusion, and that becoming “Great” will ask more of her than she could have imagined.
The first season premiered last year to a largely positive response. Fanning and Hoult were praised for their performances, with the latter earning a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination. “The Great” is created, written, and executive produced by Tony McNamara, who also penned the screenplay for Yorgos Lanthimos’ Oscar-nominated 2018 film “The Favourite.” The series was recognized at last year’s Primetime Emmys for Outstanding Directing of a Comedy Series (Matt Shakman) as well as Outstanding Writing (McNamara).
With Catherine becoming more of a leader this season, the show may deconstruct more historical events while giving Fanning more room to shine. IndieWire’s Kristen Lopez said in her review of Season 1, “It could be that this light comes from Fanning herself, the literal embodiment of the fairy princess — if this fairy princess dropped F-bombs and had a lot of sex. Fanning may sound like her ‘Sleeping Beauty’ character but her Catherine is one stymied by the Russian kingdom, where women are praised for being dumb and the menfolk spend their days flinging fruit at each other and being petty.”
“The Great” Season 2 premieres Friday, November 19 on Hulu. Watch the trailer below: