‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Season 2: Release date, casting news and fan theories

Spoilers for Season 1 below

There’s probably never been a more perfect time for Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel The Handmaid’s Tale to be turned into 10-hours of toe-curling television. Real-life parallels between Donald Trump’s America and the dystopian state of Gilead are rife – but the first season of The Handmaid’s Tale hints at a world far darker than this.

As a result, audiences have reacted immediately to the first season of the Hulu-produced show, so much so, that Season 2 has already been confirmed. Here’s all the concrete information we know about The Handmaid’s Tale Season 2 so far. Stay tuned to this page for regular updates.

Spoilers for The Handmaid’s Tale Season 1 below

When is The Handmaid’s Tale Season 2 released?

It was announced in May 2017 that Hulu would begin production on a new set of episodes, but there is currently no release date for the new episodes. Production is slated to begin in September, and judging by the timescale of the first season, we could expect new episodes by mid-2018 at the earliest.

Where will The Handmaid’s Tale Season 2 be shown in the UK?

It’s been confirmed that the new episodes will be shown on Channel 4, though whether it’ll be shown closer to the US dates in currently unknown.

Is there a trailer for the The Handmaid’s Tale Season 2?

Not just yet. Filming is yet to begin, but it’s likely that a few teasers will start emerging from the set when it’s all under way.

How many episodes will there be in The Handmaid’s Tale Season 2?

The first season contained only 10 episodes, but it has since been announced that Season 2 will feature 13 episodes.

Will the entire cast be back for The Handmaid’s Tale Season 2?

Currently it’s hard to tell. For those who have read the novel, they’ll know that the show and the book in similar circumstances, with a pregnant Offred (real name June) being bundled into a back of a van – with her future unclear.

Well, it can’t have been too bad, because Moss, who plays Offred, has confirmed that her character will be back for the new episodes, and Alexis Biedel – who played the rebellious Ofglen (real name Emily) – has been announced to be a regular in the new series too. Fans on Reddit have been quick to theorise that we could potentially see a shift in narrative style from to Ofglen, and that we might see the story now told from her perspective, with the Offred being a secondary character.

Outside of that, no one else has been ‘officially’ confirmed to return. It’s likely that we’ll see many of the same Handmaid’s, like Ofwarren (real name Janine) – who was spared a stoning by her fellow maid’s and the return of Aunt Lydia, who will no doubt suffer consequences by the mini-rebellion.

How big of a role The Waterfords – aka The Commander and his wife Serena Joy – will be in the new episodes is still unknown. Remember, that Offred’s rebellion is likely to cause serious consequences for The Commander. It’s unlikely Offred returns to their home, but showrunner Bruce Miller confirmed The Waterford’s “part of our plans for Season 2 but in interesting ways.”

The same could be said for Nick, the father of Offred’s unborn baby. In the finale, he hinted that Offred would be safe going in the van, but we know that he’s been an informant for the government bigwigs. Where will his loyalties lie? Nick, therefore, will almost certainly return.

We’re almost certainly set to see more of Luke – Offred’s husband before the revolution – and her best friend Moira. Luke and Moira reunited when the latter successfully escaped to Canada, a neutral country. The pair are likely to start working on how to get Offred out of Gilead, now that they both know she is still alive, as is their daughter Hannah.

Miller seemed to confirm to The Hollywood Reporter that pretty much everyone involved in the first season would be back in some capacity – “the people that we met and the situations we got into and the things that Margaret Atwood set up in Season 1 are not going away.”

Will there be any new characters in The Handmaid’s Tale Season 2?

That is very likely, though with the suggestion that many of the cast will remain put – it’s hard to tell just how many characters will be able to be introduced.

What’s going to happen in The Handmaid’s Tale Season 2?

See this is where it’s interesting. As the novel and the TV show ended in the same way, the new episodes are going to be telling a completely new part of the story. Margaret Atwood will therefore become heavily involved with the process of writing the episodes.

Miller explained to The Hollywood Reporter that he’ll be working even closer with Atwood on the new episodes because “we don’t have a text that was written stating specifically what happens next”. He also suggested that Atwood has been thinking about what comes next in Gilead since she first published the novel in 1985. “There are things Margaret thought about a lot because over the years, and that’s one of the biggest questions she’s been asked, is what happens next to these characters.”

Margaret Atwood

Speaking at a panel in July, Moss confirmed that the division between what is told in the books and in the show will likely grow. “In the same way we did in season one, it really explores things in a way that, as a reader, you wanted the book to but it’s only one novel so what are you going to do?” Moss said. “It kind of goes places that as a fan of the book, I want it to go.”

The Waterford’s servant, Rita, is also likely to play a bigger role in exposing the treatment of The Handmaid’s in the new episodes. In the finale, Offred entrusts Rita with the package that plays a huge part in the Mayday operation – which aims overthrow the oppressive regime of Gilead. Miller said that as a result of this friendship and revelation, “we can use her [Rita] more in season two”.

Most importantly, we’re going to see some kind of collaboration between Moira and Luke to get Offred out of Gilead – but that it might not be as simple as it first seemed. “Things get rather complicated, definitely Luke and Moira would collaborate to try and find June” says Miller, “but they both have their own journeys that they’re going through.” Could there be friction between the pair? Or will they unite to rescue Offred?

Elizabeth Moss (Offred) also told The Hollywood Reporter that Season 2 is likely to continue to expand the universe The Handmaid’s Tale is set in. “There are so many lines from the book we haven’t said in the voiceover and so many things we haven’t explored, like The Colonies and things like that.” Miller agreed with Moss, that “the world can get a lot bigger”, and that we could even see the introduction of Offred’s mother into the show.

Basically, nothing is off the table right now, but judging by the tidbits revealed by the star’s and producers – Season 2 is likely to be more dramatic and bigger in every single way.