A familiar face is returning to Gilead.
Alexis Bledel, who recurred in the first season of The Handmaid's Tale as Ofglen/Emily, has signed on to return as a series regular for season two.
Bledel appeared in half of the acclaimed Hulu drama's first season. Production on the 13-episode second season begins this fall.
The actress drew praise for her performance in the first season as Ofglen, a friend of Offred's (Elisabeth Moss) who is — spoiler alert — later captured and mutilated because of her romance with another female.
Bledel was one of the last castmembers to be announced, due to her commitment to Netflix's Gilmore Girls revival, which launched in November. At the time, Bledel had an option to return for season two.
Speaking with THR in April, Bledel called her role on Handmaid's one of the most challenging of her career. "It’s great to play really different characters," she said. "I’ve always tried to play characters that are as different from one another as I possibly could. I’ve been trying to find out what my wheelhouse is as an actor."
The role reunited Bledel and Moss, who had previously worked together on Mad Men when Bledel recurred on the Emmy-winning AMC drama. "When Alexis' name came through, it was perfect," Moss, who is also an exec producer on the series, told THR in January. "She has this incredible fragility and vulnerability to her, but there is another side — a strength and a toughness to her — that some people maybe haven't seen. Obviously it doesn't hurt that she's a friend of mine."
Bledel's return as a series regular seems to put to rest the possibility of another Gilmore Girls revival, at least in the immediate future. After the success of the first revival, which consisted of four 90-minute installments, Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos said the streaming giant was in "preliminary talks" about doing more episodes of the beloved family dramedy, which originally ran for seven seasons on The WB and later The CW.
"We hope [there are more installments]. We obviously loved the success of the show; fans loved how well it was done; it delivered what they hoped," he said. "People were really excited about more, and we have been talking to them about the possibility of that."
However, series creator Amy Sherman-Palladino and her husband and fellow exec producer/director Dan Palladino are also busy with their new Amazon comedy The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, which earned a rare two-season pickup at the streamer in April.
News of Bledel's return comes a week after The Handmaid's Tale wrapped its first season. When announcing its season two renewal in May at its NewFront presentation, Hulu noted that the TV adaptation of Margaret Atwood's book has been watched by more Hulu viewers than any other series debut — original or acquired.
Bruce Miller penned the adaptation of The Handmaid's Tale and serves as showrunner. He exec produces with Warren Littlefield (Fargo), Daniel Wilson, Fran Sears and Illene Chaiken. The series hails from MGM Television.