Bringing The Handmaid’s Tale to the small screen presented a challenge for its creators. Being adapted from a book with numerous subplots, characters, and nuances can make it difficult to accurately bring the world to life. Hulu, however, has taken on the show, crafting 10 episodes for season one that constantly left viewers asking questions and trying to piece together the mystery and events of the show in advance. After the season one finale of The Handmaid’s Tale that left fans satisfied but inquisitive, many are turning to the internet to share their own theories about what’s been going on and what’s to come on season two.
With so many ideas for the next installment floating around, sometimes it’s hard to tell which can be trusted and which were planted by Gilead (or, you know, just plain bad). Here are the top 16 fan theories that will blow your mind and make you even more excited for season two than you already are.
16. The Handmaid’s Tale and The Children of Men Are in The Same Universe
We know that the show takes place in a future world that has gone sterile, but what if it’s also part of a larger universe? One Reddit user brought up the idea that “The Children of Men,” a book written by P.D. James, is also set in a world that has gone infertile, and that the movie adaptation notes that America is at crisis during the events of the story. Could the America that we see in The Handmaid’s Tale be the same one that James alludes to in his novel? There’s no way to know for sure, but it does give fans some food for thought and more books to explore while waiting for the next season.
15. Gilead Tracked Down Citizens With Technology
Not all fan theories are based simply on the plot alone—some even rely on real-world events to shape their speculations. One such theory is that Gilead may have used advanced technology to determine who was fertile, LGBTQ+ identifying, and a criminal (in their eyes). Of course, we know that Gilead isn’t technologically savvy and relies heavily on their traditional values, but, sometimes, what we see a government doing isn’t always the same behind closed doors. Gilead definitely has a solid network of people in tech and data industries, which would only make it easier for them to get people’s information. This kind of data mining could happen using browsing habits, online transactions, and IP information. Could it be that Gilead relies more on technology than meets the eye?
14. The Colonies Are Cleaning Up From a Nuclear Incident
In the trailer for season two, we see some kind of waste being cleaned up in the colonies. Could it be dust? Dirt? Or something more sinister? Some fans think it may be hinting at some kind of nuclear incident. There is the reality that, in the case of a government being overthrown, nuclear power plants are instructed to melt down and destroy everything they have in order to prevent the power from falling into the wrong hands. Could this be what happened when Gilead took over?
13. Nick is a Secret Agent
While we know something fishy is going on with Nick, perhaps it’s a whole different thing than we thought. In the first season, we hear Fred comment that he had a meeting canceled because the FBI was failing its members. Also, when Nick meets Pryce, his background seems tailored to draw someone like Pryce’s attention. According to a Reddit user, it’s possible that Nick could be a former undercover FBI agent who simply kept his cover when everything changed. Plus, Nick watches everything, which may mean he’s an Eye, but it could also mean that he’s trained in intelligence gathering. While some fans believe Nick could be part of Mayday, this theory asserts that there’s a whole underground network of previous government agents somewhere. Could we be seeing them next season?
12. Pink vs Blue Outfits in School Could Tell The Future
When we see students in school, all of the younger girls are in pink, but there are a few older looking girls dressed in blue. Since those in blue looked to be in their young teens, they could already be fully indoctrinated and dressed in the color to signify their first period. With this thinking, it would make sense for Gilead’s official plan to be to phase out Handmaids, even if they want to keep it as criminal punishment. This would allow the system to tell all young girls that as long as they don’t mess up the system, they will all eventually be married. Could the colors mean something more than just the girls’ class ranking?
11. Serena May become a new Handmaids
Now that we know that Fred is the infertile one in the relationship and not Serena, there is no longer the shield of marriage that surrounds the couple. Could it be that Serena will be forced into becoming a new handmaid? This would mean that a woman who was one of the architects of Gilead and its terrors could see her monster overpower her. She would have the last of her rights and dignity stripped away, leading her to end up as a breeder herself.
10. Mayday Will Kill The Handmaids
With the knowledge that there will be a funeral procession for a handmaid confirmed for season two, perhaps it will be more than that. Mayday is, as viewers know, mostly anti-Gilead, but it’s also known that the organization is not always friends of the Handmaids, either. With the knowledge that Gilead relies on Handmaids a lot for their society, one of the most effective ways to target the government would be to destroy something extremely precious to them: their Handmaids. This would mean that June will be in for a big surprise when she looks to them for help.
9. Gilead May Kill People in Couples
There are a lot of small scene flashes in the season two trailer, but one of the moments that have caught fans’ attention is the underwater moment where a man and a woman are seen tied to weights and, assumably, being drowned. It wouldn’t be crazy to postulate that this scene could be a suicide, but some fans think it may actually be a murder scene. Perhaps Gilead will start drowning people in pairs during the next installment. This could be punishment for pre-marital sex or even sex between husband and wife (which is not allowed). It would add another creepy element on top of being drowned: you have to watch your partner die as well.
8. Sex Will Be Restricted Even More Than it Already is
It’s no secret, thanks to hints from the book and show, that men loyal to the state are given brides. In the season two trailer, there’s a moment where viewers see a mass wedding scene immediately followed by a shot of a sheet with only a hole that shows someone’s belly button through it. Perhaps the new generation of Gilead will be even more restricted in its rules about sex. There’s the idea that, in some cultures (both past and present) people are required to have sex through a hole in the sheet. Now that the Handmaids are starting to rebel and are forming relationships with their assigned families, requiring sex to be done completely faceless would take away a large amount of power from the already powerless Handmaids.
7. Econowives Play a Major Role
In the book, econowives are described as wives of lower-ranked men who have to act as a wife, Handmaid, and maid for their family, rather than having someone to perform the different functions. The integration of econowives into the plot of the show would allow the new season to explore class struggles in Gilead further. The econowives may even be organizing themselves, considering they are most likely hateful that the government enslaves them requires these women to perform every duty. The new perspective would also allow the show to deliver the point of view of someone who isn’t a powerful wife, but also isn’t a powerless Handmaid.
6. June Will Reunite With Her Mom
In the book version of “The Handmaid’s Tale,” June’s mother is mentioned many times. She’s described as a radical second-wave feminist who often took June to rallies when she was a child. She’s also a confirmed character in season two, and some fans think that her mother made an appearance in the trailer. Could June’s mom be someone who she can trust, or will her second-wave feminist somehow work at odds with June’s? Her mother’s reappearance opens up a whole new chapter for the series, leading fans to hope for more background on June’s childhood as well as life before Gilead .
5. June Will Rip The Tracking Device Out of Her Ear
In a promotional image from the upcoming season, as well as the trailer, there’s a haunting image of June with blood on her head and neck looking into the distance. Some fans speculate that this could be pointing to her ripping the tracking device out of her ear to be free from Gilead’s surveillance. A closer look shows not just the blood but her left ear being potentially modified as well, which would be done during the removal process. Another quick scene in the trailer shows a Handmaid’s dress being burned, perhaps also alluding to June’s burning of her old clothing.
4. Serena Joins The Resistance
In one of the trailers for season two, viewers can see Serena and the Commander at some sort of rally (assumably an anti-fascist one) and can hear Serena yelling “The future of mankind depends on what we do today!” Is it possible that Serena has joined the resistance? While some fans argue that yes, she has now joined the side of the Handmaids after she faces being forced into breeding herself (see theory #6). Others, however, assert that perhaps Serena runs away to Canada and, much like Moira, her admittance is being contested. Some fans even believe that the scene may be a flashback, showing that the two of them were once on the side of the resistance but were somehow lured in by Gilead.
3. Moira Will Lead a Resistance
Now that we know Moira has reunited with June’s husband in Canada, fans are begging to know what will happen in that storyline. From this point, the characters really only have two options: return to Gilead to save June or lead a resistance in Canada. Most fans are hoping the resistance will take hold in Canada, both because returning to Gilead could be a death sentence and because the trailer shows hope for this option. In it, we see Moira holding up a sign that says “My name is Moira” during a protest scene. Hopefully, this is a glimpse of the work that Moira and June’s husband will be doing in the next season.
2. Tensions Will Rise Between Nick and Luke
Now that June is carrying Nick’s baby, her escape and hopeful reunion with her husband may see some setbacks. It’s possible that June may develop deeper feelings for Nick as well, especially if fans find out that he’s part of the resistance in some way (or maybe an FBI agent…see earlier theory). If he ends up helping to set June free, this would call into question Luke’s lack of involvement over the years, pushing the couple apart. Plus, although Luke is seen as progressive, fans are left to wonder if he would be okay fathering another man’s baby, even if the child was created from a consensual relationship.
1. The Handmaids Will Make Their Escape
Although it’s difficult for Handmaids to truly discuss anything of substance due to the Gilead officials, perhaps this season is when we see what quiet work behind the scenes looks like when it pays off. In the trailer, we see a large group of Handmaids running away from a building by themselves, meaning there are no Marthas or other officials nearby. Were they able to successfully communicate an escape plan? The clip also shows a large number of the women still in the building watching, perhaps even lending itself to a takeover or other sacrifices by some Handmaids for the greater good.