The outspoken mother of June, later called Offred, was conspicuously missing from the first season of The Handmaid’s Tale. But one of the most dynamic relationships in Margaret Atwood’s novel is finally coming to the series.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Hulu has cast Cherry Jones (The Village, Black Mirror) as Offred’s mother Holly, appearing in at least one episode of the second season. Elisabeth Moss (Offred) played a part in getting Jones to come onboard since Moss saw her as the ideal actor for the role.
“Cherry was my fantasy choice. I sent her the script, she wrote me a lovely email back and she said yes almost immediately,” Moss said.
Until now, Holly has only been briefly referenced on the show, but she was an integral part of the novel. An outspoken feminist, she represents the ideological clash between second and third-wave feminism, as Offred explores the past, present, and future of her rights as a woman. Since the book is told from Offred’s point of view, her and Holly’s relationship is heavily explored through Offred’s memories—even if Holly had been supposedly shipped off to the Colonies to die before the events of the novel began.
As of now, Holly is only set to appear in the fourth episode of season 2, but much of the season is still being written, so that may very well change. Based on the photo, we’ll definitely see Holly in flashbacks, but Hulu hasn’t revealed whether we’ll see Holly in present-day Gilead. My personal hope is that we see her as a key figure in Mayday, and that she played a part in Offred’s rescue. The Colonies, which will be explored next season, could be the perfect hiding spot for the rebellion. The Handmaid’s Tale returns in April.