Deadline reports that the irreverent period dramedy will be returning for a second season on Hulu, pointing out that news isn't much of a surprise since The Great was one of the platform's best performing comedy series ever. The show follows — very loosely — the origin story of Catherine the Great (Elle Fanning) and her ever-changing relationship with the mercurial but genuinely lovable Emperor Peter III (Nicholas Hoult) in pre-revolutionary Russia.
The Tony McNamara production is set to explore the next chapter of Catherine and Peter's relationship, one that fans of the show and Russian history buffs know will be one of unbridled political ambition, revenge, betrayal, and lots of vodka. It wouldn't be a spoiler to tell you that the real life Catherine did in fact become Empress of Russia in 1762 after her husband was forcefully removed from the throne and found dead miles away from the capital, supposedly killed by way of assassination. The Empress's 34-year reign marked the Golden Age of Russia, a time period that saw the country's economic and cultural growth burgeoning under Catherine's total overhaul of its systems.
"Obviously our show is loosely based on historical facts, but [Catherine's] period of ruling was the Enlightenment period," Fanning told Refinery29 of her character. "She brought female education to Russia, art, science, things that Peter the Great refused to do. When the court’s not educated, you can control them so much more easily. This [struggle for] equality between men and women is obviously something that we’re still dealing with — even though it’s a period show, it’s dealing with very modern themes."
While the Catherine of season one was initially introduced to us as a romantic young girl with naive dreams for the future of Russia, it's likely that our protagonist will have developed a sharper, more vicious perspective towards ruling the country next season. That new energy will undoubtedly help the Empress get exactly what she wants: the throne.
Don't expect this show to get more serious just because Catherine's vibe has changed, though. The Great does an excellent job of tempering the gravity of a coup d'etat with the sheer ridiculousness of the Russian court. We're still in for a fun time, friends!