Hulu is finally making a return to royal intrigue with its second season of The Great, and new images have been revealed from the second season of the historical spoof, starring Elle Fanning and Nicholas Hoult. Loosely based on the real-life reign of Catherine II of Russia — better known as Catherine the Great — the series is moving to new heights with its second season, complicating the already intense political intrigue of the show by placing Catherine (Fanning) in a glittering gown of gems and gold as head of the country of Russia.
While Season 1 focused on Catherine gathering her supporters and gaining the power to overthrow her husband, Season 2 is set to (loosely) cover Catherine’s rise to power as Empress of Russia, having staged a coup to oust Peter III (Hoult) from his seat as emperor and change Russia for the better. The new images see Peter visibly upset about the prospect — about the idea of his wife having more power than him — as well as a Catherine looking quite the opposite, confronting her oppressors with General Velementov (Douglas Hodge) and Count Orlo (Sacha Dhawan), guns blazing, and smiling at the dinner table, looking pleased but perhaps slightly unhinged.
The new images also see Catherine, as well as her friends and enemies, grappling with a whole horde of new issues, including her pregnancy, as well as how to deal with the court being in disarray after her coup. Despite the real-world success of Catherine’s reign as empress, things may not end so well for her in Hulu’s rendition of events, with a brand new image depicting the young empress holding a bloody, severed head in a bag, staring off into the distance and looking visibly disturbed.
But what exactly does this new season hold for Catherine and her cohorts? No one can say for certain, though series creator Tony McNamara can assure audiences that Catherine’s rise to power will not be an easy one, nor a simple one.
“For Catherine, it was like that was the job, taking power,” he told Entertainment Weekly. “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… So it’s really the next part of the journey of once you get power, what do you do with it?”
The Great also stars Gillian Anderson, Gwilym Lee, Adam Godley, Charity Wakefield, and Bayo Gbadamosi. The series is created, written and executive produced by McNamara and executive produced by Marian Macgowan, Mark Winemaker, Fanning, Hoult, Echo Lake’s Brittany Kahan Ward, Doug Mankoff, and Andrew Spaulding, Thruline’s Josh Kesselman and Ron West, and Matt Shakman.
Season 2 of The Great will premiere exclusively on Hulu on November 19, and fans can catch up on the entire first season on the platform now. Check out more new images below: