'Handmaid's' Tale' Team Talks "Darker" Season 2; Marisa Tomei to Guest-Star

Showrunner Bruce Miller says author Margaret Atwood is "still the mother of this series" — even after they've passed their source material.
Courtesy of Hulu
'The Handmaid's Tale'

Less than a week after a very good evening at the 2018 Golden Globes, TV's drama darling of the moment, The Handmaid's Tale, previewed season two for reporters Sunday morning.

In addition to speaking about how the show is evolving now that it's moved past the narrative of Margaret Atwood's famous source material, executive producers Bruce Miller and Warren Littlefield, alongside star/producer Elisabeth Moss, announced some rare stunt casting for the Hulu hit — Marisa Tomei.

"In episode two, we have a colony story," said Miller, "and we're very excited to have Marisa Tomei."

That's about all he had to say on the matter, other than that the Oscar winner's episode will be featured in a part of the fictional future-America not previously in the show's first season. New territory seemed to be a theme of the trio's panel at the TV Critics press tour.

"I wouldn't predict too much about season two from season one," said Miller. "And I don't think anything we do is post-Atwood. I think we're living in an Atwood world. We saved a lot of things from season one that we weren't able to cover. It's just an expansion of the world. We're certainly not beyond the story that she was telling. She's still the mother of this series."

The trailer for the series, which returns April 25, appears to continue the series' thread of timeliness — albeit more intentionally this go-around than when it unexpectedly premiered in a Trump presidency in 2017. Protesting characters in the first clips are carrying signs that read "resist." Miller said they are leaning into that, though not as much as people might expect.

"The scary things in this series, some of them are happening today," said Miller, referring to the flashbacks to explain how the show's totalitarian regime came to be. "We have a few more months to go before we premiere, and currently things can catch up with us. We've written things and then seen them on TV. I don't think it's a reason to jump in and start changing stuff. We're separated enough [from reality] that it's never going to feel like it's happening out there in the world."

Littlefield admitted that the new season has a bigger budget than the first — a product, he noted, was out of necessity to expand the world and not so much the Emmy darling's runaway success. (Additionally, half of the directors are women.)

Moss, keeping things close to the vest, offered only a few details about where the series is going.

"So much of the season is about motherhood," she said, when not demurring at compliments from the fawning room of critics. It's a bit of a ticking time bomb. And the complications of that are really wonderful to explore.... It's a dark season. I would say, arguably, it's darker than season one — if that's possible."