While production of Hulu’s series The Handmaid's Tale, based on Margaret Atwood’s 1985 dystopian novel, was in the works long before Donald Trump won the Electoral College November 8, the streaming channel is making the most of the source material’s prescience under the Trump administration. And that that is evident in the first full-length trailer for the series, released today.
The trailer begins with the lead character Offred (Elisabeth Moss) in voice-over explaining that the people of what is currently the Republic of Gilead ignored the signs of the totalitarian government to come, calling out apathy as a leading cause of how the conservative revolution upended the country that values women like Offred (a handmaid) only as vessels for the perceived viability of their reproductive organs.
“I was asleep before. That’s how we let it happen,” Offred narrates. “When they slaughtered Congress we didn’t wake up. When they blamed terrorists and suspended the Constitution, we didn’t wake up then either.”
If it seems alarmist to draw comparisons between the government in the novel and the Trump administration, consider that three days into his presidency and two days after the record-breaking Women’s March protests, Trump signed an executive order that bans U.S. aid to overseas nongovernmental organizations that provide or advise on abortions.
Earlier this week, as the Texas legislature sought to ban second-trimester abortions or at least make them more risky, women dressed as handmaids in the restrictive costumes described in the novel ominously appeared on the floor of the Texas Senate in silent but effective protest, as the images have gone viral.
— PPTV (@PPTXVotes) March 20, 2017
The similarities between the disaster Atwood predicted and the threat to rights and liberties from the current administration only begin with reproductive rights and the role of women in a government thrust upon the people by fearful white men. Atwood’s novel also predicted environmental disaster, religious fanaticism, and a complete shutdown of the media.
The series, which begins airing April 26, costars Orange Is the New Black’s Samira Wiley as Offred’s lesbian best friend she knew from the time before the takeover, Gilmore Girls’ Alexis Bledel as the revolutionary handmaid Ofglen, Joseph Fiennes as Offred’s commander, whose child she’s forced to try to conceive, and Yvonne Strahovski, who portrays his wife.
Read The Advocate's cover story with Samira Wiley here and watch the full trailer below.