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‘The Great’ season 2: Release date, trailer and everything we know about the Hulu series

The Great Elle Fanning
Elle Fanning in 'The Great' season 2. (Image credit: Hulu)

Huzzah! Hulu’s historical comedy series The Great is returning for a second season, which is just around the corner. 

Adapted from his own play, Tony McNamara created The Great for TV, which chronicles the rise of Russia’s Empress Catherine the Great in the 18th century. The series was a hit in its first season, receiving an 88% positive rating from Rotten Tomatoes and a 74 from Metacritic, while McNamara earned an Emmy nomination for writing (the show also received one for directing).

So, what’s in store for Catherine as she attempts to remake Russia, and just when will you be able to watch The Great season 2? Read on to find out everything you need to know about the show.

What is the plot of ‘The Great’?

The Great is a fictionalized, comedic take on Catherine the Great, a European noble that married Russian Emperor Peter III before taking the throne for herself.

SPOILER ALERT for anyone not caught up with The Great season 1.

The first season dealt with Catherine’s arrival in Russia following her marriage to Peter and her ambitions to overthrow her brash and ineffective new husband and change Russia for the better. In addition to learning the ways of Russia and the royal court, Catherine brings on allies who will help her with the coup. However, the more Peter learns of his bride the more he begins to develop actual feelings for her, as well as the reveal that Catherine is pregnant with his child. That ultimately doesn’t prevent Catherine though from launching her coup at the end of the season.

Season 2 will pick up four months after the season 1 finale. The first episode is called “Heads It’s Me” and has the following logline: “Four months after launching a coup against her husband, a pregnant Catherine gains the upper hand in her war against Peter. Being deeply in love with Catherine and their unborn child does little to dissuade her from taking his throne.”

Throughout the 10 episode second season, viewers can also expect more hilarious dealings among Catherine and her closest advisers, possible fallout with Marial betraying Catherine in the season 1 finale, interactions with the ladies of the court and the arrival of Catherine’s mother to Russia.

Who is in ‘The Great’ cast?

One of the best elements of The Great so far has been the work of its ensemble cast, which is hilarious from top to bottom. At the top is Elle Fanning as Catherine and Nicholas Hoult as Peter, both giving some of the best work of their young careers in the show. Some other standouts from season 1 included Phoebe Fox as Marial, Sacha Dhawan as Orlo, Adam Godley as the Archbishop and Belinda Bromilow as Aunt Elizabeth. Here is the full breakdown of The Great’s main cast: 

  • Elle Fanning - Catherine
  • Nicholas Hoult - Peter 
  • Phoebe Fox - Marial 
  • Sacha Dhawan - Orlo 
  • Charity Wakefield - Georgina 
  • Gwilym Lee - Grigor 
  • Adam Godley - Archbishop 
  • Douglas Hodge - Velementov 
  • Belinda Bromilow - Aunt Elizabeth 
  • Bayo Gbadamosi - Arkady 
  • Florence Keith-Roach - Tatyana 
  • Danusia Samal - Lady Antonia Svenska 

There will also be a big addition to the season 2 cast of The Great, as Gillian Anderson (fresh off her Emmy win for playing Margaret Thatcher in The Crown) is joining the Hulu series as Catherine’s mother, Joanna. 

When is ‘The Great’ release date?

Hulu unveiled what’s coming to its lineup this November, which includes the season 2 premiere of The Great on Nov. 19.

Hulu has been experimenting with some different release strategies for its series, i.e. Dopesick shared its first three episodes when it premiered but is now going with a one per week strategy. However, by all accounts it looks like Hulu will release all 10 episodes of The Great season 2 on Nov. 19.

The entire first season of The Great is currently available to stream on Hulu.

Is there a ‘The Great’ season 2 trailer?

With a month to go before its premiere, Hulu has released the first trailer for The Great season 2. The complicated dynamic between Catherine and Peter is on full display, as she strives to move Russia forward while he vies to win her heart and then reassert himself as the emperor. Fanning and Hoult again look to be in top form. Watch the season 2 trailer below. 

How to watch ‘The Great’

The Great is a Hulu original series, meaning that it can only be watched by those with a subscription to Hulu.

There are a few options if you’re looking to sign up for Hulu. The first is for just the streaming platform, which is available for either $6.99 per month with ads and $12.99 per month without ads. This version of Hulu will give you access to all Hulu original content, as well as a library full of TV shows and movies to stream. Premium add-on channels are available as well, like for Showtime, Starz and HBO.

You can double dip with Hulu and get both a live TV service and its standard streaming platform with Hulu with Live TV. This service, costing $64.99 per month, gives users live access to their local broadcast stations as well as numerous cable channels, DVR recording and all content available through the traditional Hulu streaming service.

Or, you can combine a Hulu subscription along with one for Disney Plus and ESPN Plus by signing up for the Disney Bundle, which offers all three streaming services for a single monthly fee of $13.99 per month. 

Michael Balderston

Michael Balderston is a D.C.-based entertainment writer and content producer for What to Watch. He previously has written for TV Technology and Awards Circuit.