The Great is back for another season of bawdy jokes, backstabbing, and bloodshed. Hulu’s period drama about the life of Russian Empress Catherine the Great (which is only loosely based on fact) returns for its second season on Nov. 19. Many familiar faces from season 1 will be back, including Elle Fanning as Catherine and Nicholas Hoult as her husband, Emperor Peter. Plus, fans can expect to see some high-profile guest stars join The Great cast later in the season.
‘The Great’ cast: Elle Fanning returns as Catherine and Nicholas Hoult as Peter
Much of The Great Season 1’s cast will be back for season 2. That includes Fanning and Hoult, as well as Belinda Bromilow as Peter’s daffy Aunt Elizabeth and Phoebe Fox as Catherine’s friend and former noblewoman Marial.
Douglas Hodge returns as General Velementov and Sacha Dhawan is back as Catherine’s socially awkward advisor Orlo. Fans will also get to see more of Charity Wakefield as Georgina and Gwilym Lee as her husband (and Peter’s best friend) Grigory. Adam Godley will also reprise his role as Archie, the patriarch of the Russian church.
One person fans likely won’t see in The Great Season 2 is Sebastian de Souza as Leo Voronsky. Season 1 ended with Catherine appearing to allow Peter’s soldiers to kill her lover after she decided to sacrifice him so she could continue her coup.
Gillian Anderson plays Catherine’s mother in ‘The Great’ Season 2
Catherine and Peter both have complicated relationships with their parents. Those are explored in more detail in The Great Season 2.
Gillian Anderson plays Catherine’s conniving mother Joanna. She arrives unexpectedly in Russia to see if the rumors that her daughter has overthrown Peter are true. While she loves her strong-willed daughter, she fears she’s gone too far by trying to rule a country on her own.
“Joanna is known as the maestro of marriage because of how she’s arranged very high-profile partnerships for her daughters, and so the impact that Catherine’s coup has had on her and the ability for her to marry off the rest of her daughters has had consequences,” Anderson told EW. “So she’s come to basically, one, see what the heck Catherine is up to, and two, to see if she can change the course of history.”
Jason Isaacs plays Peter the Great
Peter’s father might be dead, but he also shows up in The Great Season 2. Jason Isaacs plays the legendary Russian leader Peter the Great (who in real life was Peter’s grandfather).
The elder Peter was “this incredible army leader, this fearless ruler, this Lothario in bed — all these things that Peter cannot believe his father was while also being the man who belittled him and couldn’t raise him in a way that made him his own person,” Hoult told EW. “He was always in his shadow. Because we’ve discussed that so much, I couldn’t imagine who could possibly come in and inhabit all of that character so wonderfully, and Jason completely did it.”
The Great Season 2 is streaming Nov. 19 on Hulu.
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