A revisionist take on Russian history that meets somewhere at the intersection of comedy, drama and romance is The Great, an expertly scripted and cleverly cast TV show from Hulu – which airs on Stan in Australia. The series follows Catherine the Great and her immature and power-crazy husband, Peter, during a turbulent time in Russia’s history. After the 10-episode series wrapped to critical acclaim, and the fate of a failed coup d’etat hanging in the balance (spoilers, sorry), it begs the question – will we ever get The Great season 2? Given filming has now wrapped on the next batch of 10 episodes – yes.
UPDATE: We now have a release date and a short teaser. Season two of The Great will premiere on Hulu on November 19th.
Is The Great season 2 confirmed?
As confirmed by Hulu, The Great will be returning for a second season. Hulu officially confirmed the news on July 17, reporting that filming has now wrapped for a new 10-episode season. And that’s no surprise, seeing as The Great was, as reported by Deadline, one of the top performing original comedies on the platform.
The streamer shared the news by posting a photo on Instagram, where Nicholas Hoult and Elle Fanning were both posing in costume as Peter and Catherine. Ominously, some blood and dirt is clearly visible on Catherine’s dress.
As well as being confirmed by cast and crew, given the disarray Peter’s Russia was left in after the attempted assumption to power by his own wife, it seemed obvious in the final episodes that The Great was gearing up for round two.
What will the second season of The Great be about?
If you need a short and sharp recap, the first season essentially ended with Peter III (Nicholas Hoult) discovering Catherine’s (Elle Fanning) plot to overthrow him. Rather than have her executed, Peter spared the pregnant Empress for the sake of their unborn child.
Executive producer Marian Macgowan spoke with Decider about the rough roadmap for the coming seasons and the story-arcs attached to them.
“We initially pitched six seasons. So we believe there’s sufficient material to take us through until she is an old woman.”
Macgowan also expressed that she would like to explore the evolution of the social classes in Russia more in new episodes.
“I think if season two, if we were to be so lucky, we would certainly explore that more. Because she would become more active, and therefore, it would be more relevant,” she said.
It’s likely Catherine’s affairs will also take centre stage after the birth of her child, heightening the tension between her and her husband, Peter. This is furthered evidenced by a first-look photo of the The Great season 2, where Catherine reveals a baby bump beneath her corset. Hulu later reported in a statement that “Catherine becomes both a mother to Russia and a child”.
Showrunner Tony McNamara, who was Emmy nominated for an Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series, told Collider;
“I mean we could tell it in four [seasons], we could probably tell it in three. I don’t really know. I think it’s also now I realise the characters are so great across the board – we have 12 great actors playing really great characters and that’s just good TV, so it does seem like there’s a lot to get out of them. I’m not sure [how many seasons it will run] at the moment, I’m just telling the story and we’ll see where we get to.”
Has the cast been confirmed for The Great season 2?
Elle Fanning will return as Catherine the Great, Nicholas Hoult as Peter, Phoebe Fox as Catherine’s maid Merial, Sacha Dhawan as Orlov and Gwilym Lee as the Emperor’s right-hand man, Grigor Dymov.
Whether Sebastian De Souza returns as Catherine’s lover Leo, is yet to be seen, given his presumed fate at the end of the first season. Douglas Hodge will also reappear as General Velementov and Adam Godley as religious adviser Archie.
Interestingly, The Great was initially pitched by showrunner Tony McNamara in the same style as The Crown – which swaps out actors as the story progresses through generations – but McNamara said in his discussion with Collider that he wasn’t ready to let go of the two main characters initially.
McNamara, who picked up an Oscar nod for his work on The Favourite, will be returning the helm The Great season 2. Considering the deft satirical touch he spun during the first seasons, it’s safe to expect the humour to be just as sharp as we dip further into the life story of Catherine the Great. As well as showrunner, McNamara will also continue as writer and executive producer.
What has also been confirmed is the addition of popular British actress Gillian Anderson (The Crown, Sex Education). The Great season 2 will introduce her as Joanna, Catherine’s mother according to Deadline.
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When will The Great season 2 be released?
With filming for The Great season 2 officially wrapped, we can expect to see the show return before the end of the year. As Decider pointed out back in May, the first season premiered in May 2020; that’s 15 months after Hulu announced plans back in February 2019. Considering this roadmap, we’re looking at anywhere between September and November now that filming is complete. However, COVID delays have been hitting the industry hard so it’s unclear whether or not post will take longer than it usually does.
Where can Australians watch The Great?
As with many other Hulu Originals, like 11.22.63 and The Handmaid’s Tale, Australians are able to stream The Great on Stan Australia. This won’t be any different for season 2. Stan Australia runs a 30-day free trial and will run you between $10 and $19 per month depending on the package and streaming quality you want.
How many episodes are there in The Great?
Given there has only been one season so far, The Great is an easy binge-watch with just 10 episodes running at 45-55 minutes each.
How many more seasons are planned for The Great?
McNamara recently told Deadline that he envisions The Great as an epic story that will continue for many years. And this makes sense, considering that many have been comparing it to Netflix hit The Crown. The showrunner also told Decider that the initial pitch for the show included enough material for six seasons, indicating that there was more than enough guts to the story to track Catherine the Great’s life up until old age.
Re-watch the first season on Stan now, or alternatively catch the latest season of The Crown over on Netflix.