‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Boss Says June’s Searching for Her Identity in Final Season
“My evil plan seems to be coming to fruition,” executive producer Bruce Miller says of how The Handmaid’s Tale will end in its upcoming sixth and final season.
The Hulu drama is about motherhood, what it’s like to be a woman, fear, hatred, violence, love, and passion, but the focus of the final season will be “identity,” he previews, pointing specifically to June (Elisabeth Moss) searching for hers. “You’re talking about a character that began with no name. She was Offred for a while, then she was June, then she was Ofjoseph. That’s what the show’s about. It’s called The Handmaid’s Tale and it’s about her and that experience in her life and you really want to, in the end, feel like, when she began, she wasn’t a handmaid and, in the end, this is what she took from that experience, this is how she’s changed.”
And that’s true for others as well. “I would say reclaiming your name and understanding who you are is the goal for most of the characters,” he continues. “I think people like Nick [Max Minghella] and Lawrence [Bradley Whitford] feel like they know who they are and they don’t like it, and so they’re trying to change it.”
Generally speaking, “the way that I thought the show would roll is how it’s rolling out, which is good — if people like it, then it’s good,” Miller says, attributing that to conversations he’s had with people over the years. “It’s been an organism. It wasn’t written in stone. So yes, it seems to work very well and fit very well at the end of the story we want to tell, but that’s on purpose because we’ve had a lot of time to think about it and talk to Margaret [Atwood] about it.”
While they’ve expanded on what they’ve done with the other characters, “I always felt comfortable with where I was going with June and… [her] story has stayed pretty much where I thought it would character-wise, what her journey as a human being is like, and I think that’s one of the reasons it’s been so successful for Elisabeth Moss is that we’ve thought all that out and talked all that out very early and we stuck with it,” he explains.
Still, the EP makes sure to point out, “This isn’t a hero’s journey. This is not Greek myth. This is a tale. This is The Handmaid’s Tale. The structure is different than a myth. We’re so used to the Greek drama structure that we think no other structures exist, but certainly Margaret put together a very different [one]. I’m trying to follow that, not make it part of some Joseph Campbell rubric.”
Their goal is to have “a solid Season 6,” he says, noting, “Last seasons of shows are notoriously difficult, especially a show that has a very strong particular story to it about one person, so I think honestly most of what I’ve been doing is watching other finales and watching other finale seasons to see how they did and see what they did. And it’s hard.” He’s taking care when it comes to the approach to the end of the series “because I don’t want to mess it up. [For people] to have a beautiful Handmaid’s Tale six-season DVD set — no one has a DVD set anymore — next to their Handmaid’s Tale book is the ideal.”
The Handmaid’s Tale, Sixth and Final Season, TBA, Hulu