Bruce Miller Talks \'The Handmaid\'s Tale\': Season 2 Finale And What To Expect For Season 3

Elisabeth Moss as Offred/June Osborne in Hulu's 'The Handmaid's Tale'.Photo by George Kraychyk

Just before Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale premiered its 13-episode second season, I sat down with show creator Bruce Miller and he said this season was all about motherhood, specifically what it means to be a mother. Earlier this week, Miller spoke with reporters on a conference call and answered many questions about season two and what fans can anticipate for season three, which he confirmed will also have 13 episodes.

The show, based on the 1985 dystopian novel by Margaret Atwood, was an immediate fan favorite and awards darling, with the 10-episode first season amassing 13 Emmy nominations and eight wins. The show made history when it scored the Emmy for Best Drama Series, which is the first time a streaming series has ever won this award. The show also won Emmys for Best Lead Actress (Elisabeth Moss), Supporting Actress (Ann Dowd), Writing, Directing, Production Design, Cinematography and Guest Actress (Alexis Bledel). In addition, the show was nominated for three Golden Globes, with two wins: Best Drama Series and, again, Moss for Best Lead Actress.

The story is set in the near future in the Republic of Gilead, a theocratic military dictatorship located within what was formerly known as the United States of America. For the sake of clarity, Miller's answers are broken down by character and theme. To begin, here's what Miller had to say about where he's left certain characters, and where he sees them going moving forward.

Offred/June Osborne (Elisabeth Moss):

At the end of the finale, June has the opportunity to finally escape Gilead, but once she knows her baby will be safe with Emily, she decides to stay. "As badly as fans wanted to see Offred freed from the horrors of Gilead, she could never leave her eldest daughter behind," explains Miller. Once she knew her baby, Nichole, was safe, there really was only one thing she could do: stay and fight. This was the perfect set-up for next season, but it was also a hard decision for Miller and his team to make. He explained that, though there was an incredible amount of pushback from everyone involved, they had to stay true to the story. "Offred has gotten one child out of Gilead and is determined to get the other out,” Miller said. “All we want is for her to get out,” he said of his feelings from an emotional standpoint. But, story-wise, she couldn’t leave. And, he says, he knew this would be the ending of season two from the mid-point of the first season.

 

This decision was solidified for Miller, he says, “Once we started to feel the kind of deep vein of regret that Offred was feeling, or June was feeling, at the prospect of leaving Hannah behind, and how it was tearing her apart. I don't think it's a choice about whether you're going to stay behind to try to rescue your child, I think it's a need to. I wouldn't be able to leave one of my children behind. It felt very natural to the character. It is an impossible choice, but we are faced with those all the time, so it is interesting to see what she does.”

Decisions as to which characters to focus on always depend on Offred. The entire show, Miller points out throughout the interview, is from her point-of-view. “I mean, it is The Handmaid’s Tale. And, as much as everybody else is interesting and fascinating in terms of their backstory, it really does focus on her. And, in this season, the most important person in her orbit was Serena, because she was having a child that she felt like she was going to have to leave with Serena.”

Serena Waterford (Yvonne Strahovski):

Yvonne Strahovski and Elisabeth Moss in Hulu's 'The Handmaid's Tale'.Photo by Sabrina Lantos/Hulu

Since Serena was so significant to Offred, the character became a huge focus this season. “It's all driven by who Offred, who June, is focusing on for the season. And, in this case that was Serena because of the baby that tied them together. But, moving forward, I mean, we kind of let two things guide us, which is the plot and pure curiosity. The problem is now pure curiosity has gotten to the point where everybody is super interesting to us.” Moving forward, he says, they’re going to have to pick and choose. “We only have 13 episodes, so we'll do what we can.”

 

Miller discusses Serena’s massive shift this season, and how he and the writers built her up to this point where she could make the best decision for her child, which is to allow Offred to escape with her baby. “I’m in awe of what Yvonne's been able to do this season, and what Lizzie and Yvonne have been able to build together in terms of the arc of a character who really can be despicable and completely unredeemable in one moment, and then you feel sorry for her in the next moment, which is just an astonishing sleight of hand that Yvonne works very, very hard to make seem easy. She's spectacular. So, I think that Serena is a complicated character. But, in her own mind, doesn't have evil motives.”

 

Serena, he explains, is left with one thing she’s allowed to want: a child. “Everything else has been taken away from her. The desire to run a country, the desire to serve God in the way that she wants to.” Her knowledge, says Miller, that this child she loves absolutely cannot grow up in Gilead, forced her to make this decision. “She will not be with this child that she genuinely loves, and she has a choice to make. Is she going to find something else to focus on? Is she going to stay bereft, and empty, and live in Gilead? Or, is she going to find a way to get her daughter back? Is she going to change her mind about her daughter and try to get her hands on that child again? All those things are possible.”  

 

He describes Serena as a woman that’s incredibly intelligent with a force of personality and tunnel vision that is unrivaled. “What is she going to bring that force on next?” He’s working on where Serena goes now and hints that he’s not so sure she'd be so quick to let go of the idea of a child just because she made a decision in a moment.

Aunt Lydia (Ann Dowd):

Ann Dowd as Aunt Lydia in Hulu's 'The Handmaid's Tale'.Photo by George Kraychyk/Hulu

The big question of the season finale: Does Aunt Lydia die? “Aunt Lydia doesn’t die,” he laughs. “I don't think Aunt Lydia can die. I don't think there are forces in the world strong enough to kill Aunt Lydia. And, by extension, the incredibly strong, fabulous Ann Dowd, I think is with us for a long, long time, as well.”

Aunt Lydia is, however, transformed by this event. “She thinks there’s love between her and her girls,” he says. “The fact that one of her girls has literally stabbed her in the back, I think that alters your workplace feelings on a day to day basis. So, I think that in some ways there are a lot of possible effects. But, I think in her case, it makes her double-down. She feels like she just wasn't strong enough in her discipline. So, she has decided it's time to get tough.”

Emily (Alexis Bledel):

Alexis Bledel as Emily/Ofglen in Hulu's 'The Handmaid's Tale'.Photo by Take Five/Hulu.

Miller confirms that we have not seen the last of Emily and Nichole. “We'll follow them on their journey after they leave Offred in the tunnel in the finale.” Of Bledel’s performance, Miller says, “Alexis has brought Emily to life in a way that is subtle and complicated and strong and very believable. Emily’s journey with Nichole is a huge puzzle piece of our world. It's June's child and just as much as Hannah has been a huge part of our show, Nichole's going to be a huge part of our show. She is the next generation that they're all doing all of this for.”

Nick Blaine (Max Minghella):

Max Minghella as Nick Blaine in Hulu's 'The Handmaid's Tale'.Photo by George Kraychyk/Hulu

Nick takes a very brazen and definitive stand against Fred Waterford (Joseph Fiennes) in the finale as he helps Offred escape with their baby. “Nick did take a stand and impulsively. He's not an impulsive guy in general.” Miller says this act shows just how much Nick was willing to risk. “He's putting his life on the line...yes, there will be repercussions for Nick. The interesting thing about Nick and Fred is that power dynamic between the two men and the two positions that they hold. One is kind of outwardly a leader of Gilead, and the other, Nick, is quite a powerful person behind the scenes because he's a spy, and because he has dirt on people, and because he knows all the good and bad things people are doing, going to Jezebel's and all those things. So, I don't think it's a hammer that the commander can bring down so easily on Nick. It's certainly interesting the way these two men, who are so different from each other, tango with each other, and how they settle things out is absolutely fascinating to me.”

Luke Bankole (O-T Fagbenle):

“Luke has been trying to take care of himself and kind of be a person who's the voice of people like him, who have suffered these great losses and are trying to somehow maintain hope, but I think he's done with maintaining and has moved on to acting,” says Miller. “I think that now that he's met Fred, face-to-face, Fred is the focus of his fury. All of the sudden Gilead, and the Gilead system, has been reduced to Fred Waterford and he's going to find a way to get Fred.”

Moira (Samira Wiley):

“Luke and Moira have definitely turned a corner in terms of their feelings about how much they can effect of the lives of people in Gilead and the world of Gilead. I think for a while, very understandably, Moira was trying to get her footing. And, in Gilead she's a very tough person and a very strong-centered woman. I think she's been trying to put her experience in Gilead into some sort of place in her past. Through the season she's realizing it has a place in her present, and that you can't put it behind you. I think that that is going to activate her towards a lot more. The season is really about confrontation and resistance, and taking to the streets in force, and it's time to rise up and get involved. And, I think for Moira, that's exactly what she does in a very aggressive way in Canada in any way that she can. I think she's making a decision that her best course of action to change things is to be aggressive.” Moira, in the book, was a character Miller remembers as one of his favorites in literature. “She was absolutely fascinating to me.”

Joseph Lawrence (Bradley Whitford):

When Miller was asked about Whitford’s character, Joseph Lawrence, he confirmed that we haven’t seen the last of him. "Bradley's coming back for season three. He was exactly the kind of character we wanted to start building in season two. I think we're going to learn a ton about him. He's our Oppenheimer character; the man who designed an atomic bomb and then saw what it could do. He's a designer of Gilead, and now he's seen what it can do. So, he is a mass of contradictions and dangers. You never know what he's willing to do, what he's not willing to do. He's been protecting himself for a very long time. And, his adventure to keep himself alive certainly is not always an adventure that's going to keep the people around him alive. But, now that June has crossed paths with him, she's going to cross paths with him a lot more in season three.”

Rita (Amanda Brugel):

“Amanda has really done a remarkable job with Rita. She's both incredibly strong and invisible in the house. She really has made her a powerful force and you just completely forget that she exists," says Miller. "That's supposed to be mirroring the way the Waterfords and the people in Gilead just let her fade into the woodwork, on purpose, because that's the role that she's supposed to play. It's great that she uses it strategically, and so everybody forgets about her, and then all of a sudden, she has this freedom to build this network with all the other Marthas. They trade things back and forth, information and cinnamon and cheese and all sorts of stuff. They have a life going on there and a resistance network; it's used for other things, black-market things, gossip, but now she's turning it and using it as a resistance network. I think her arc through the season has been amazing. She started out not wanting to be involved at all. She was giving the letters back to June, as if the letters were on fire. She was so unhappy to have them in her hands. When she does what she does in the final episode, I don't have a moment's doubt that's her, and that she has the capacity to do that. I think she's going to have to do some very deft dancing to get around her complicity in this. And, I don't know whether she will, but she is our representative of this group of women who have been pushed into invisible domestic roles like so many women in real society, in our society. I think in season three, we're going to see some of the results of her coming out of her shell and becoming a little more visible. The key for me is that she is a very smart survivor, and that's what she's going to continue to be.”

Season Three Will Be About 

Terrorists, Resistance And Revolution:

The third season, says Miller, will follow the themes of rebellion and uprising. He discusses how he and the writers plot out the story. Storylines are mapped out on both a moment-by-moment basis, or as he ponders, “How are you going to get through each scene and each moment?” Then, he says, they look at things from a season-by-season perspective. “Okay this is the shape of the season, this is the arc of the season, this is where we're going, where we're weaving towards. And, you don't want to do it too clearly because if you do it too clearly then everybody knows where you're going. But, we want to have an idea of possible endings.”

 

That’s the starting point per season, but Miller says he also looks at the cards that are up in his office of things he found interesting in the book. “I start looking at how many of those cards I have done and how many of those cards have I not done. And, every time I take one down I put two up.” He’s not sure how many seasons the show will have, but he aims to create “a good, solid, well thought out, well told companion piece” to the book. “I don't want it to live beyond the time where it feels relevant and well done because I think that would be a disservice to Margaret Atwood's world and book.”

As for season three's theme, the show, says Miller, has done a lot to tease that conversation. “One person's resistance fighter is another person's terrorist. That's always been the way it is. Usually, we're on the side of the force of rule of law, and we're saying that anybody that breaks that rule of law is an enemy of peace and a terrorist. Here, as we build the season, you can feel sympathy for the people who are being called terrorists in this particular world. It gives me a lot of things to think about. That's always what I'm trying to do with the show."

Of putting his characters into the position of resisting, he has many questions he contemplates and he puts himself into the headspace of his characters. "Okay, I've decided to take on a task of resisting. What does that mean? And, when do I turn into, even in my own mind and heart, a terrorist? And, when do I force myself to do things that are so morally compromised I worry that, as an individual, I'll never come back, even if that's a cause for moving forward? The theme that we're toying with, not to get too heavy, is really what is resistance like for a person? Not for a movement, but for a person.”

Miller says it goes back to point-of-view. “The show is from June's point-of-view. And, the experience is from June's point-of-view. That's what makes this show relatable, that's what makes the experience relatable. I think that most of our experience, most of the world's experience with anything like this, resistance or terrorism or rebellion, is not in the room where it's planned. You have no idea about that. The reason we’re not in the room where those decisions are made is because we’re in the room with Offred. And, we’re experiencing it the way she is. It’s a very different experience to have it come out of the blue, or to not know where things are coming from. I associate myself much more with the person who is surprised than the person who plans these things. We're used to certain things happening off screen in our real lives. For June, that's the feeling you want; the feeling of things hitting you from all different directions and putting you in danger. You do not understand how decisions are being made and maybe you want to start getting involved with that decision-making process. It's a lot easier to be the person who doesn't know it's going to happen, than the person deciding what is going to happen.”

Next season will also focus on race. Miller references reading many books on World War II when the Jews were sent off to concentration camps. “In our world of Gilead, I do not think a lot of the people who have been castigated for their religion, were very focused on their religion. I do not believe that Moira saw herself as someone who was not a member of the Gilead religious community. She saw herself as lots of other things; as a lesbian, as a woman of color, as a fiancé, girlfriend, wife-to-be. And, all those kinds of things. How does race play for Moira as opposed to how does race play in Gilead? Gilead has such a twisted view of everything. I think that they see people as commodities and products to serve their needs.”

The Colonies And Jezebel Next Season:

“Absolutely, I see us returning to both Jezebel and the colonies and not just these colonies but other colonies,” Miller says. “In the book, it's underlined that there are colonies where teams of women are taking care of toxic waste and there are colonies where teams of women are picking apples and working in the economy and doing all sorts of other things. I'd love to see the factory where they make hand-made costumes, but that's just me because I figure it's terrifying to see a whole wall of hand-made costumes and realize each one represents a woman in June's position. But, we will be revisiting the colonies, it was really such a stunning achievement in terms of art direction and cinematography and directing. It was so beautiful, and I would love to continue to dive deeper into how Gilead uses the discarded people, how they use the discarded women. In terms of Jezebel also, I would really like to return to Jezebel, the machinations of that place were so fascinating; the drugs and the black-market stuff, and sex, and sex as trade and perversity, and all sorts of heretical sexual gains, and it's a mess and I like a mess. So, Jezebel's and also perhaps those kinds of places in Gilead's secret places that men have built for themselves to escape the other world they built, which is sad and awful and also fascinating.” Miller reiterates that the locations fall back to June. “It’s the story of her journey through Gilead and beyond. We go with her. We were with her in the places she went in Gilead, and the underside of Gilead, as she was trying to escape, those places were seen through her eyes and experienced with her.”

The situations the show doesn’t follow, explains Miller, are often things that June wouldn't have any capacity to follow. “Our world has very limited information. Gilead has even more limited information. She has no capacity to ask a question, much less find an answer. We will continue to focus the show on the experiences June has in this world because, in some ways, it was the thing that drew me to the book. I was fascinated by how a limited point-of-view can make it so terrifying. I think that's realistic. And, our show does not pretend to, or try to, paint a picture of Gilead, the world. We're just trying to paint a picture of June's Gilead.”

How Big Is Gilead Really?

“Gilead has taken over all 48 states of the continental U.S. There are a lot of areas that are not nearly as well controlled as the Boston area, where the movement was very strong," explains Miller. "Our show takes place in Cambridge, Massachusetts, outside of Boston. Alaska and Hawaii are the United States, the two states that are united still. And, the rest of it has turned into Gilead, with lots of pockets of resistance and unease and places where the grip of Gilead is not nearly as firm.”

Canada As A Part Of The Story:

“I love including Canada because it opens up our world. And, it means that people who disappear from Gilead don't just disappear and you have no idea what happens. The story of a place like Gilead is the story of what it does to you over the long-term; the changes that it makes in you, or how it kind of lives, breathes, and eats away inside of you after you're gone. I was really happy that we did include stories in Canada this season. I love the international feel of the show. Within Gilead is only part of the story. You’ve got to understand how Gilead is viewed. Canada figured very prominently in the book as a place of refuge, and a place of escape, and a place of hope, and a place of rebellion, the basis for rebellion. All of those things we’re focusing more on in season three. Certainly we will focus more on Canada.”

Will There Be A Happy Ending?

“No, I don't think there is a happy ending and I don't think everything's always going to be terrible. But, I believe in June and if June's story is the story we tell, we've told it because it's a story of hope. I feel like every episode where it ends, and June is alive, is a huge victory and a story worth telling. To see how someone in this world doesn't just survive, but in their own way, finds a way to live, finds a way to actually have a life, have intimacy, she sees her daughter, which she never thought would happen. All of these things are huge victories for me. But, in terms of an ending, I think this is a story of a woman getting out of bondage. In the end, that’s the story; whether she’s able to get out herself, or whether she’s able to get one or more of her children out, or reunites with her husband. I think the story is bending towards a happy ending.” If June does get out, says Miller, that’s a story of the triumph of the human spirit. “The fact that this woman survived and told her story in this place certainly encourages me to get off my ass and do something politically in these strange times we live.”

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Elisabeth Moss as Offred/June Osborne in Hulu's 'The Handmaid's Tale'.Photo by George Kraychyk

Just before Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale premiered its 13-episode second season, I sat down with show creator Bruce Miller and he said this season was all about motherhood, specifically what it means to be a mother. Earlier this week, Miller spoke with reporters on a conference call and answered many questions about season two and what fans can anticipate for season three, which he confirmed will also have 13 episodes.

The show, based on the 1985 dystopian novel by Margaret Atwood, was an immediate fan favorite and awards darling, with the 10-episode first season amassing 13 Emmy nominations and eight wins. The show made history when it scored the Emmy for Best Drama Series, which is the first time a streaming series has ever won this award. The show also won Emmys for Best Lead Actress (Elisabeth Moss), Supporting Actress (Ann Dowd), Writing, Directing, Production Design, Cinematography and Guest Actress (Alexis Bledel). In addition, the show was nominated for three Golden Globes, with two wins: Best Drama Series and, again, Moss for Best Lead Actress.

The story is set in the near future in the Republic of Gilead, a theocratic military dictatorship located within what was formerly known as the United States of America. For the sake of clarity, Miller's answers are broken down by character and theme. To begin, here's what Miller had to say about where he's left certain characters, and where he sees them going moving forward.

Offred/June Osborne (Elisabeth Moss):

At the end of the finale, June has the opportunity to finally escape Gilead, but once she knows her baby will be safe with Emily, she decides to stay. "As badly as fans wanted to see Offred freed from the horrors of Gilead, she could never leave her eldest daughter behind," explains Miller. Once she knew her baby, Nichole, was safe, there really was only one thing she could do: stay and fight. This was the perfect set-up for next season, but it was also a hard decision for Miller and his team to make. He explained that, though there was an incredible amount of pushback from everyone involved, they had to stay true to the story. "Offred has gotten one child out of Gilead and is determined to get the other out,” Miller said. “All we want is for her to get out,” he said of his feelings from an emotional standpoint. But, story-wise, she couldn’t leave. And, he says, he knew this would be the ending of season two from the mid-point of the first season.

 

This decision was solidified for Miller, he says, “Once we started to feel the kind of deep vein of regret that Offred was feeling, or June was feeling, at the prospect of leaving Hannah behind, and how it was tearing her apart. I don't think it's a choice about whether you're going to stay behind to try to rescue your child, I think it's a need to. I wouldn't be able to leave one of my children behind. It felt very natural to the character. It is an impossible choice, but we are faced with those all the time, so it is interesting to see what she does.”

Decisions as to which characters to focus on always depend on Offred. The entire show, Miller points out throughout the interview, is from her point-of-view. “I mean, it is The Handmaid’s Tale. And, as much as everybody else is interesting and fascinating in terms of their backstory, it really does focus on her. And, in this season, the most important person in her orbit was Serena, because she was having a child that she felt like she was going to have to leave with Serena.”

Serena Waterford (Yvonne Strahovski):

Yvonne Strahovski and Elisabeth Moss in Hulu's 'The Handmaid's Tale'.Photo by Sabrina Lantos/Hulu

Since Serena was so significant to Offred, the character became a huge focus this season. “It's all driven by who Offred, who June, is focusing on for the season. And, in this case that was Serena because of the baby that tied them together. But, moving forward, I mean, we kind of let two things guide us, which is the plot and pure curiosity. The problem is now pure curiosity has gotten to the point where everybody is super interesting to us.” Moving forward, he says, they’re going to have to pick and choose. “We only have 13 episodes, so we'll do what we can.”

 

Miller discusses Serena’s massive shift this season, and how he and the writers built her up to this point where she could make the best decision for her child, which is to allow Offred to escape with her baby. “I’m in awe of what Yvonne's been able to do this season, and what Lizzie and Yvonne have been able to build together in terms of the arc of a character who really can be despicable and completely unredeemable in one moment, and then you feel sorry for her in the next moment, which is just an astonishing sleight of hand that Yvonne works very, very hard to make seem easy. She's spectacular. So, I think that Serena is a complicated character. But, in her own mind, doesn't have evil motives.”

 

Serena, he explains, is left with one thing she’s allowed to want: a child. “Everything else has been taken away from her. The desire to run a country, the desire to serve God in the way that she wants to.” Her knowledge, says Miller, that this child she loves absolutely cannot grow up in Gilead, forced her to make this decision. “She will not be with this child that she genuinely loves, and she has a choice to make. Is she going to find something else to focus on? Is she going to stay bereft, and empty, and live in Gilead? Or, is she going to find a way to get her daughter back? Is she going to change her mind about her daughter and try to get her hands on that child again? All those things are possible.”  

 

He describes Serena as a woman that’s incredibly intelligent with a force of personality and tunnel vision that is unrivaled. “What is she going to bring that force on next?” He’s working on where Serena goes now and hints that he’s not so sure she'd be so quick to let go of the idea of a child just because she made a decision in a moment.

Aunt Lydia (Ann Dowd):

Ann Dowd as Aunt Lydia in Hulu's 'The Handmaid's Tale'.Photo by George Kraychyk/Hulu

The big question of the season finale: Does Aunt Lydia die? “Aunt Lydia doesn’t die,” he laughs. “I don't think Aunt Lydia can die. I don't think there are forces in the world strong enough to kill Aunt Lydia. And, by extension, the incredibly strong, fabulous Ann Dowd, I think is with us for a long, long time, as well.”

Aunt Lydia is, however, transformed by this event. “She thinks there’s love between her and her girls,” he says. “The fact that one of her girls has literally stabbed her in the back, I think that alters your workplace feelings on a day to day basis. So, I think that in some ways there are a lot of possible effects. But, I think in her case, it makes her double-down. She feels like she just wasn't strong enough in her discipline. So, she has decided it's time to get tough.”

Emily (Alexis Bledel):

Alexis Bledel as Emily/Ofglen in Hulu's 'The Handmaid's Tale'.Photo by Take Five/Hulu.

Miller confirms that we have not seen the last of Emily and Nichole. “We'll follow them on their journey after they leave Offred in the tunnel in the finale.” Of Bledel’s performance, Miller says, “Alexis has brought Emily to life in a way that is subtle and complicated and strong and very believable. Emily’s journey with Nichole is a huge puzzle piece of our world. It's June's child and just as much as Hannah has been a huge part of our show, Nichole's going to be a huge part of our show. She is the next generation that they're all doing all of this for.”

Nick Blaine (Max Minghella):

Max Minghella as Nick Blaine in Hulu's 'The Handmaid's Tale'.Photo by George Kraychyk/Hulu

Nick takes a very brazen and definitive stand against Fred Waterford (Joseph Fiennes) in the finale as he helps Offred escape with their baby. “Nick did take a stand and impulsively. He's not an impulsive guy in general.” Miller says this act shows just how much Nick was willing to risk. “He's putting his life on the line...yes, there will be repercussions for Nick. The interesting thing about Nick and Fred is that power dynamic between the two men and the two positions that they hold. One is kind of outwardly a leader of Gilead, and the other, Nick, is quite a powerful person behind the scenes because he's a spy, and because he has dirt on people, and because he knows all the good and bad things people are doing, going to Jezebel's and all those things. So, I don't think it's a hammer that the commander can bring down so easily on Nick. It's certainly interesting the way these two men, who are so different from each other, tango with each other, and how they settle things out is absolutely fascinating to me.”

Luke Bankole (O-T Fagbenle):

“Luke has been trying to take care of himself and kind of be a person who's the voice of people like him, who have suffered these great losses and are trying to somehow maintain hope, but I think he's done with maintaining and has moved on to acting,” says Miller. “I think that now that he's met Fred, face-to-face, Fred is the focus of his fury. All of the sudden Gilead, and the Gilead system, has been reduced to Fred Waterford and he's going to find a way to get Fred.”

Moira (Samira Wiley):

“Luke and Moira have definitely turned a corner in terms of their feelings about how much they can effect of the lives of people in Gilead and the world of Gilead. I think for a while, very understandably, Moira was trying to get her footing. And, in Gilead she's a very tough person and a very strong-centered woman. I think she's been trying to put her experience in Gilead into some sort of place in her past. Through the season she's realizing it has a place in her present, and that you can't put it behind you. I think that that is going to activate her towards a lot more. The season is really about confrontation and resistance, and taking to the streets in force, and it's time to rise up and get involved. And, I think for Moira, that's exactly what she does in a very aggressive way in Canada in any way that she can. I think she's making a decision that her best course of action to change things is to be aggressive.” Moira, in the book, was a character Miller remembers as one of his favorites in literature. “She was absolutely fascinating to me.”

Joseph Lawrence (Bradley Whitford):

When Miller was asked about Whitford’s character, Joseph Lawrence, he confirmed that we haven’t seen the last of him. "Bradley's coming back for season three. He was exactly the kind of character we wanted to start building in season two. I think we're going to learn a ton about him. He's our Oppenheimer character; the man who designed an atomic bomb and then saw what it could do. He's a designer of Gilead, and now he's seen what it can do. So, he is a mass of contradictions and dangers. You never know what he's willing to do, what he's not willing to do. He's been protecting himself for a very long time. And, his adventure to keep himself alive certainly is not always an adventure that's going to keep the people around him alive. But, now that June has crossed paths with him, she's going to cross paths with him a lot more in season three.”

Rita (Amanda Brugel):

“Amanda has really done a remarkable job with Rita. She's both incredibly strong and invisible in the house. She really has made her a powerful force and you just completely forget that she exists," says Miller. "That's supposed to be mirroring the way the Waterfords and the people in Gilead just let her fade into the woodwork, on purpose, because that's the role that she's supposed to play. It's great that she uses it strategically, and so everybody forgets about her, and then all of a sudden, she has this freedom to build this network with all the other Marthas. They trade things back and forth, information and cinnamon and cheese and all sorts of stuff. They have a life going on there and a resistance network; it's used for other things, black-market things, gossip, but now she's turning it and using it as a resistance network. I think her arc through the season has been amazing. She started out not wanting to be involved at all. She was giving the letters back to June, as if the letters were on fire. She was so unhappy to have them in her hands. When she does what she does in the final episode, I don't have a moment's doubt that's her, and that she has the capacity to do that. I think she's going to have to do some very deft dancing to get around her complicity in this. And, I don't know whether she will, but she is our representative of this group of women who have been pushed into invisible domestic roles like so many women in real society, in our society. I think in season three, we're going to see some of the results of her coming out of her shell and becoming a little more visible. The key for me is that she is a very smart survivor, and that's what she's going to continue to be.”

Season Three Will Be About 

Terrorists, Resistance And Revolution:

The third season, says Miller, will follow the themes of rebellion and uprising. He discusses how he and the writers plot out the story. Storylines are mapped out on both a moment-by-moment basis, or as he ponders, “How are you going to get through each scene and each moment?” Then, he says, they look at things from a season-by-season perspective. “Okay this is the shape of the season, this is the arc of the season, this is where we're going, where we're weaving towards. And, you don't want to do it too clearly because if you do it too clearly then everybody knows where you're going. But, we want to have an idea of possible endings.”

 

That’s the starting point per season, but Miller says he also looks at the cards that are up in his office of things he found interesting in the book. “I start looking at how many of those cards I have done and how many of those cards have I not done. And, every time I take one down I put two up.” He’s not sure how many seasons the show will have, but he aims to create “a good, solid, well thought out, well told companion piece” to the book. “I don't want it to live beyond the time where it feels relevant and well done because I think that would be a disservice to Margaret Atwood's world and book.”

As for season three's theme, the show, says Miller, has done a lot to tease that conversation. “One person's resistance fighter is another person's terrorist. That's always been the way it is. Usually, we're on the side of the force of rule of law, and we're saying that anybody that breaks that rule of law is an enemy of peace and a terrorist. Here, as we build the season, you can feel sympathy for the people who are being called terrorists in this particular world. It gives me a lot of things to think about. That's always what I'm trying to do with the show."

Of putting his characters into the position of resisting, he has many questions he contemplates and he puts himself into the headspace of his characters. "Okay, I've decided to take on a task of resisting. What does that mean? And, when do I turn into, even in my own mind and heart, a terrorist? And, when do I force myself to do things that are so morally compromised I worry that, as an individual, I'll never come back, even if that's a cause for moving forward? The theme that we're toying with, not to get too heavy, is really what is resistance like for a person? Not for a movement, but for a person.”

Miller says it goes back to point-of-view. “The show is from June's point-of-view. And, the experience is from June's point-of-view. That's what makes this show relatable, that's what makes the experience relatable. I think that most of our experience, most of the world's experience with anything like this, resistance or terrorism or rebellion, is not in the room where it's planned. You have no idea about that. The reason we’re not in the room where those decisions are made is because we’re in the room with Offred. And, we’re experiencing it the way she is. It’s a very different experience to have it come out of the blue, or to not know where things are coming from. I associate myself much more with the person who is surprised than the person who plans these things. We're used to certain things happening off screen in our real lives. For June, that's the feeling you want; the feeling of things hitting you from all different directions and putting you in danger. You do not understand how decisions are being made and maybe you want to start getting involved with that decision-making process. It's a lot easier to be the person who doesn't know it's going to happen, than the person deciding what is going to happen.”

Next season will also focus on race. Miller references reading many books on World War II when the Jews were sent off to concentration camps. “In our world of Gilead, I do not think a lot of the people who have been castigated for their religion, were very focused on their religion. I do not believe that Moira saw herself as someone who was not a member of the Gilead religious community. She saw herself as lots of other things; as a lesbian, as a woman of color, as a fiancé, girlfriend, wife-to-be. And, all those kinds of things. How does race play for Moira as opposed to how does race play in Gilead? Gilead has such a twisted view of everything. I think that they see people as commodities and products to serve their needs.”

The Colonies And Jezebel Next Season:

“Absolutely, I see us returning to both Jezebel and the colonies and not just these colonies but other colonies,” Miller says. “In the book, it's underlined that there are colonies where teams of women are taking care of toxic waste and there are colonies where teams of women are picking apples and working in the economy and doing all sorts of other things. I'd love to see the factory where they make hand-made costumes, but that's just me because I figure it's terrifying to see a whole wall of hand-made costumes and realize each one represents a woman in June's position. But, we will be revisiting the colonies, it was really such a stunning achievement in terms of art direction and cinematography and directing. It was so beautiful, and I would love to continue to dive deeper into how Gilead uses the discarded people, how they use the discarded women. In terms of Jezebel also, I would really like to return to Jezebel, the machinations of that place were so fascinating; the drugs and the black-market stuff, and sex, and sex as trade and perversity, and all sorts of heretical sexual gains, and it's a mess and I like a mess. So, Jezebel's and also perhaps those kinds of places in Gilead's secret places that men have built for themselves to escape the other world they built, which is sad and awful and also fascinating.” Miller reiterates that the locations fall back to June. “It’s the story of her journey through Gilead and beyond. We go with her. We were with her in the places she went in Gilead, and the underside of Gilead, as she was trying to escape, those places were seen through her eyes and experienced with her.”

The situations the show doesn’t follow, explains Miller, are often things that June wouldn't have any capacity to follow. “Our world has very limited information. Gilead has even more limited information. She has no capacity to ask a question, much less find an answer. We will continue to focus the show on the experiences June has in this world because, in some ways, it was the thing that drew me to the book. I was fascinated by how a limited point-of-view can make it so terrifying. I think that's realistic. And, our show does not pretend to, or try to, paint a picture of Gilead, the world. We're just trying to paint a picture of June's Gilead.”

How Big Is Gilead Really?

“Gilead has taken over all 48 states of the continental U.S. There are a lot of areas that are not nearly as well controlled as the Boston area, where the movement was very strong," explains Miller. "Our show takes place in Cambridge, Massachusetts, outside of Boston. Alaska and Hawaii are the United States, the two states that are united still. And, the rest of it has turned into Gilead, with lots of pockets of resistance and unease and places where the grip of Gilead is not nearly as firm.”

Canada As A Part Of The Story:

“I love including Canada because it opens up our world. And, it means that people who disappear from Gilead don't just disappear and you have no idea what happens. The story of a place like Gilead is the story of what it does to you over the long-term; the changes that it makes in you, or how it kind of lives, breathes, and eats away inside of you after you're gone. I was really happy that we did include stories in Canada this season. I love the international feel of the show. Within Gilead is only part of the story. You’ve got to understand how Gilead is viewed. Canada figured very prominently in the book as a place of refuge, and a place of escape, and a place of hope, and a place of rebellion, the basis for rebellion. All of those things we’re focusing more on in season three. Certainly we will focus more on Canada.”

Will There Be A Happy Ending?

“No, I don't think there is a happy ending and I don't think everything's always going to be terrible. But, I believe in June and if June's story is the story we tell, we've told it because it's a story of hope. I feel like every episode where it ends, and June is alive, is a huge victory and a story worth telling. To see how someone in this world doesn't just survive, but in their own way, finds a way to live, finds a way to actually have a life, have intimacy, she sees her daughter, which she never thought would happen. All of these things are huge victories for me. But, in terms of an ending, I think this is a story of a woman getting out of bondage. In the end, that’s the story; whether she’s able to get out herself, or whether she’s able to get one or more of her children out, or reunites with her husband. I think the story is bending towards a happy ending.” If June does get out, says Miller, that’s a story of the triumph of the human spirit. “The fact that this woman survived and told her story in this place certainly encourages me to get off my ass and do something politically in these strange times we live.”

Source : https://www.forbes.com/sites/danafeldman/2018/07/11/bruce-miller-talks-the-handmaids-tale-season-2-finale-and-what-to-expect-for-season-3/

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