The Great season 2 photos reveal Catherine finally taking the Russian throne
At long last, Catherine is finally putting "the Great" in her name.
In an exclusive sneak peek at the second season of Hulu's The Great, Catherine (Elle Fanning) can be seen in her coronation garb with Russia's grand imperial crown, having officially taken the throne.
Season 1 focused on Catherine and her supporters — namely her maid Marial (Phoebe Fox), General Velementov (Douglas Hodge), and adviser Orlo (Sacha Dhawan) — as they sought a coup to overthrow Emperor Peter III (Nicholas Hoult). Season 2 will see Catherine's rise to power, but the plotting and scheming are far from over.
"For Catherine, it was like that was the job, taking power, and she didn't really focus on how she might use power or how hard it would be to exercise power, or what sort of country she'd be taking over," series creator Tony McNamara tells EW. "So it's really the next part of the journey of once you get power, what do you do with it?"
Catherine will be met with opposition at every turn this season, including from some surprising places. "I think that the court shifts and all the characters have to kind of change their game in the second season, to kind of work their way to some kind of position of having some power," McNamara teases.
According to McNamara, Catherine's rise to power will throw the court and everyone in it into disarray. "People without a lot, who were always struggling because they didn't have power, like Orlo, suddenly have a lot of power," he says. "Or he perceives that he should have a lot of power, but he's faced with limitations around how much he can exercise power."
He continues, "And then I think for people like Marial, obviously she was a maid and it completely changes her situation. And then for Elizabeth [Belinda Bromilow], she's sort of still where she was; she's caught between Catherine, who's like a daughter in a way. She's got maternal feelings for her and she's also into the idea of a woman running the country, but she also cares a lot about her nephew. So she's sort of trying to balance herself between those two things… Basically, the court gets completely rearranged."
Another big plot point of the season will be Catherine's pregnancy, which was revealed at the end of the first season, and how it affects both Catherine and Peter, as well as their respective political motivations. "We always said it's sort of like a ticking bomb, because she feels like she's safe from Peter while she's pregnant and she's safe from another coup attempt because she's got the heir to the throne inside her, but she's also becoming a mother for the first time," McNamara says. "So she sort of has political aspects to the baby and her own personal feelings to the baby. And the fact her and Peter are parents of a child makes their relationship kind of… quite odd."
All 10 episodes of The Great season 2, which also stars Gillian Anderson as Catherine's mother, along with Adam Godley, Gwilym Lee, Charity Wakefield, and Bayo Gbadamosi, will hit Hulu on Nov. 19.