In Season 2 of “The Handmaid’s Tale,” the Hulu drama will venture beyond the borders of Margaret Atwood’s renowned novel to the menacing setting of “The Colonies.”
Showrunner Bruce Miller and executive producer Warren Littlefield teased that the second episode of the dystopian drama would venture to the Colonies — which are described in the novel as polluted and deadly parts of North America where dissents are sent, but are otherwise never seen.
“It’s a pretty forbidding world, although in the narrative of the book [Atwood] never goes there. In episode 2, we go to the Colonies,” Littlefield said at the Television Critics Association press tour on Sunday, calling the detour an “expansion of our world.”
In addition to the return of Alexis Bledel, whose character Ofglen was sent to the Colonies as punishment for homosexuality in the first season, the journey there Season 2 will bring another familiar face in the form of guest star Marisa Tomei.
Miller didn’t reveal much about Tomei’s role, simply saying that it was a “complete pleasure” to have the Oscar-winner appear on the show. “But it was very cold for her [to film in Canada],” he joked.
The showrunner was similarly cagey when asked for details about Bledel’s character and the circumstances of her return to the show, now as a series regular.
“I think one of the fun things about TV is that you don’t know what’s going to happen,” Miller said.
But even though the series will expand on the world of “The Handmaid’s Tale” novel, Miller emphasized that Atwood remains very much the “mother of the series” in her role as consulting producer.
“We did get a bigger budget,” Littlefield said. “Creating colonies, and using the narrative approach of multiple timelines, we’re able to see how Gilead came about, how did that all happen?”
“It was a bigger show, and both MGM and Hulu embraced that we were ambitious,” he concluded. “[But] we’re still in the world of television, and it’s a pretty controlled budget.”