The Handmaid’s Tale
Credit: Take Five/Hulu

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The Handmaid’s Tale second season faced what might have been a couple of daunting hurdles. Namely, how do you even begin to think about topping its first lauded season? And secondly, how do you begin to push on past the confines of Margaret Atwood’s classic 1985 novel.

For executive producer Bruce Miller, the answers and suggestions were all in the text. “I think the biggest lesson I learned — and I learned a ton of lessons — was that you just try and tell the most interesting and complicated story and the audience will embrace it. You don’t have to over-explain anything.”

To that end, he and the other writers started envisioning their own scenarios that would make sense in Gilead. For example (and here, for the spoiler averse, is your official spoiler warning), there’s an act of terrorism that happens nearly halfway through the 13-episode series that will change absolutely everything. When you have this kind of world with these kinds of rules, there will be an uprising,” says executive producer Warren Littlefield. “The consequences will be devastating for both sides.”

There’s also a surprising confrontation between Moira (Samira Wiley) and Luke (O-T Fagbenle) and the Waterfords (Joseph Fiennes and Yvonne Strahovski), who arrive in Canada on a diplomatic mission. “You know when you sit with your friends at a bar and go, ‘I love Game of Thrones’ or Stranger Things or whatever, and you say, ‘You know what I wish would happen?’ We play that same game in the writers’ room,” says Miller.

The Handmaid’s Tale returns on April 25 on Hulu.