Blessed be the fruit – It's time to return to Gilead!
Season two of The Handmaid's Tale is finally almost here and we've been praying to the TV gods to discover what's to come for Offred, her baby and the rest of the handmaids in the next chapter of Hulu's Emmy-winning drama.
ET caught up with leading lady Elisabeth Moss and the entire cast of The Handmaid's Tale to get the exclusive scoop on the "haunting" and "shocking" events ahead. Read on for eight can't-miss details you need to know before tuning into season two!
1. Offred's Fate Will Be Revealed: When we last saw Offred, she was being dragged out of the Commander's house by the mysterious members of the Eye and led into the back of a van. As we enter season two, Moss admitted that her number one question after the finale was, "Where does Offred go when she gets in that van?" Luckily, the Emmy-winning actress revealed to ET that fans will discover the answer "in the first 10 minutes" of the premiere.
"The first scene of the first episode in the second season is [something] no one could ever possibly guess," she dished to our cameras at the Winter TCA Press tour back in January. "Like, whatever you think is going to happen once she gets in that car and those doors close – whatever you think, it's not right. There's no way that anyone can guess and I love that."
2. Book Fans No Longer Have an Advantage:Season one ofThe Handmaid's Tale followed the dystopian journey of Margaret Atwood's 1985 novel of the same name, giving book lovers a keen foresight into the season's general timeline of events. However, Atwood's literary tale came to a close once Offred entered the Eye's van with her future left uncertain and up for interpretation.
Alexis Bledel, who won an Emmy in 2017 for her performance as Ofglen/Emily, dished that she was very curious to discover how the series would continue beyond Atwood's last chapter. "How are we going to keep telling this story without the book? Because we had the book as the template the first year and without that, the writers could have done anything," she spilled at the red carpet premiere last week. "I was just curious and excited to get my scripts. I just devoured them."
3. Your Biggest Gilead Questions Will Be Answered: Executive producer Warren Littlefield revealed that The Handmaid's Tale writers' room felt "ambitious" in their quest to create a new chapter for Atwood's characters and answer some of the series' most burning questions – but it might take a while.
"How did America go from the America we know to Gilead?" Littlefield pondered aloud to our cameras at PaleyFest. "More tranditional shows would have [answered this question in] a more linear, straightforward layout. Well, we don’t do that."
"We create the mystery and as you watch the show, there are many, many questions," he continued. "Some of those will be answered – [some] not all. And I think that’s the fascination of it. It allows us with our timelines – flashbacks as well as present."
4. Aunt Lydia's Cruel Punishments Continue: As the fiercely formidable caretaker of Gilead's handmaids, Aunt Lydia takes her role very seriously and, as actress Ann Dowd revealed, Aunt Lydia's tactics for keeping her "girls" in line will give fans nightmares. "She knew she dropped the ball at the end of season one and I think you’ll see what measures are taken to correct the situation," Dowd teased at the premiere.
In an interesting twist, the Emmy-winning actress admitted that she often forgets that "brutal" Aunt Lydia is one of the most-hated characters on the series. "What’s hard is realizing [the handmaids] can’t stand me," Dowd said. "I was reading one of the later scripts and one of the handmaids was making a joke about what they’d like to do to Aunt Lydia and my first reaction was, 'Really?' And I thought, 'Ann, snap out of it. They don’t like you.'"
5. The Colonies Will Haunt Your Dreams: Often referenced in season one, but never seen, The Colonies are a toxic wasteland where "women are sent when they're not good," according to Littlefield. "It’s terrifying, it’s haunting, but it’s also quite beautiful in a way," he revealed.
"I really wanted to see the Colonies," Madeline Brewer, who plays handmaid Janine, said at PaleyFest. "I had a vision of what the Colonies looked like in my mind just based on when I was reading the book and they nailed it! Oh my god, beyond my wildest dreams, just so creepy and beautiful and sad."
Bledel added at the Handmaid's premiere event that it's an "honor" to play Emily and to be the one who will lead fans into this new and shocking part of the Gillead landscape. "In the Colonies, we see her caretaking, so you definitely see that maternal instinct coming through," she teased.
6. We'll Explore Moira's New Canadian Life: One of the first season's few bright spots was watching Moira's dangerous journey end with a joyous arrival in Canada, but star Samira Wiley was quick to reveal that this is only the beginning for June's long-lost best friend.
"This season we’ll see that the refugees' lives are not all glitz and glamour," Wiley, who portrays Moira, spilled at PaleyFest. "She’s in the land of the free, but it’s not always like that. I think once we see her spending time there, we see the juxtaposition of, 'This is amazing, I’m free!' But also, 'I’m alone, and I don’t have my family and I don’t know anyone here and I can’t tell my left from my right.' So we see her struggle with that this season."
Wiley added that although season two is completely "unpredictable," the theme of friendship will continue to be a through line. "Moira’s motivation this season is June," she said.
7. Oh, Baby – Get Ready for Mama Drama: Actress Yvonne Strahovski, who plays the Commander's wife, Serena Joy, admitted at PaleyFest that fans are in for a "roller coaster ride" when it comes to the maternal rights of Offred's pregnancy.
"The thing about Gilead is everyone is trapped in a sense. Even Serena, who’s in a ‘powerful’ relationship. She can’t get out either, even if she wanted to," Strahovski said. "So there’s a lot of challenges within that and a lot of realizations. This season is going to be very confronting for Serena. She’s faced with a lot of scenarios that might beg her to question whether Gilead remains to be the place for her."
8. Prepare to Be Blown Away: Moss confessed to ET that she was "absolutely shocked" to see that season two is going to a "much darker place," and the rest of her Handmaid's co-stars were quick to echo her ominous sentiments.
"Brace yourselves," Max Minghella warned. "If you saw the first season of the show, this is going to be that on steroids. The scope of it, the twists, the turns, the emotionality – it’s all just kind of revved up. Unpredictable."
When asked what is the one thing that Handmaid's fans need to know before tuning in, Dowd was quick to offer a surprisingly cheery – yet viciously foreshadowing – response: "Hang in there. There’s hope," she said.