What happens after a first-season Emmy?
Last year’s Best Drama winner Handmaid’s Tale showrunner Bruce Miller and executive producer Warren Littlefield talked about Season 2 during Hulu’s panels at today’s Contenders event. The new season launches April 25.
“It was very akin to the feeling in the first season: You just don’t want to f— it up,” joked Miller on the Contenders panel, moderated by Dominic Patten. Still, both producers talked about the way Season 2 episodes go beyond Margaret Atwood’s 1985 dystopian novel while still remaining faithful to her vision.
“It’s a very ambitious year and we didn’t want to duplicate ourselves … our ambitions were greater,” Littlefield said.
Both producers said the second season will expand Atwood’s landscape by focusing on the novel’s Colonies, areas of North America contaminated by pollution and radioactive waste. “Margaret mentions the colonies, but the narrative never goes there,” Littlefield said.
Littlefield added that the second season would explore novel’s Republic Gilead, where the “Unpeople,” convicted of various crimes, are sent as punishment. “From a distance, way up in the sky, it looks beautiful, and when you get close it is truly horrific,” Littlefield said.
Littlefield, who served as NBC Entertainment President from 1993 to 1998, said to laughter that if Handmaid’s Tale had been produced for network TV, Miller would probably have been compelled to explain the world of the Colonies last season.
Moderator Patten pointed out that the first season of the show played out against the inauguration of Trump, and the next season will be presented as the #MeToo movement marches on. Miller said the show must leave that contemporary hyperawareness out of this woman-focused tale.
“I definitely feel all of the eyes on me, but you have to look past that,” Miller said “None of us see the 30,000 foot view,” least of all main character Offred. Miller said new episodes focus on the more intimate details of life. “Her experience, feels more like our experience, that big things are happening, but we are not quite what they are adding up to,” he said.