Paleyfest 2018: Three things we learned from The Handmaid's Tale panel

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Mar 18, 2018

In a little over a month, Hulu subscribers will be able to return to the dystopian nation of Gilead for the second season of The Handmaid's Tale, a television adaptation of Margaret Atwood's 1985 novel of the same name. Before we revisit June, Serena, Emily, Janine, Luke, Aunt Lydia, and the rest of the show's characters, a good portion of the cast as well creator Bruce Miller and executive producer Warren Littlefield visited Paleyfest 2018 in Los Angeles to discuss the sophomore season.

Visibly absent were Elisabeth Moss and Alexis Bledel, but those present still spoke at length about the returning series and all the great stuff we can expect from it. 

Here are the three pieces of trivia we took away from the panel...

1. Season 2 will show us how Gilead came to be:

The Handmaid's Tale takes place a United States, which has transformed into a totalitarian state dictated by Christian ideals after a second Civil War. Women serve no purpose other than to produce children for the male leaders of this newly-established nation. According to Miller, we'll get to learn how this theocratic dictatorship came to be through the eyes of the various characters in addition to stories in the American press during the time Gilead was starting to form. 

2. The show's male bosses aren't afraid to ask for help:

While Miller and Littlefield are calling the shots, they never assume they know more than the show's female actors, writers, or directors. Miller said that there's no shame in admitting that there are aspects of the female gender that he just can't wrap his head around. He embraces his ignorance as a man and asks as many questions as he can to the writers and directors who are predominantly women. "The last thing I want to do is mansplain what people should take away from the show. It's up to people to decide what to take away when they watch it," said the creator. Even Margaret Atwood, 78, is always providing input on the series and excited to see what new stuff the writers can cook up for the new season. "I wanna grow up to be Margaret," said Miller. 

3. The cast and crew feel like they wouldn't last long in Gilead:

When asked by a fan where they'd all fit in within the heiarchy of Gilead, the cast, Miller, and Littlefield all admitted that they probably wouldn't fit in to the opressive and dystopian society. In particular, Miller and Littelfield (being men) said there'd probably be nothing left of them if they lived in such a place. To underscore this, he replied with a resounding "Oh, no!" when prompted on whether everyone is safe, but did tease that someone will escape. 

Season 2 of The Handmaid's Tale returns to Hulu April 25. Marisa Tomei (Spider-Man: Homecoming) and Bradley Whitford (Get Out) join the cast as newcomers to the show.