Hulu has just released the first images from the anticipated, Elisabeth Moss-starring TV series adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale. The images reveal the first look at the society of Gilead — though if you’ve read the book or even seen its various covers over the years, the dress-coded society pictured won’t look too far from what you’ve likely imagined. You’ll already know all about the odd uniforms pictured below (the long red dresses/vision obscuring white winged hats the Handmaids wear), depicting a society divided into inflexible roles. We also get our first glimpses at Elisabeth Moss as the Handmaid protagonist, Offred, as well as Joseph Fiennes, playing The Commander.
Something else that’ll look familiar: a Christian fundamentalist authoritarian state in what was formerly the U.S., which takes reproductive rights very deeply into the hands of the government, and which rose to power by scapegoating Islam! So perhaps saying “get your first look into the Republic of Gilead” is misleading, as you can certainly simply just look around you — but at this, er, alternative look will be bracketed into hourlong episodes that star some excellent actors. (The cast also includes Orange Is the New Black breakout star Samira Wiley as Offred’s college friend, Moira, a lesbian character who attempted to fight homophobia in Gilead, Yvonne Strahovski as Serena Joy, the Commander’s wife, O.T. Fagbenle as Luke, Offred’s former husband, Max Minghella as Nick, Offred’s romantic interest under the reproductive rule of the Commander, and The Leftovers’ Ann Dowd in the likely small role of Aunt Lydia.)
The story follows Offred, who — like her fellow Handmaids — is used for reproductive purposes by members of the ruling class, due to increasing sterility (sparked largely by environmental problems!). She’s assigned to the Commander and his wife, though both of them form uncomfortably personal relationships with her.
The series, created by Bruce Miller, is set to air sometime early in 2017. Here are the first images: