The most striking thing about the full-length trailer for The Handmaid’s Tale, Hulu’s highly anticipated dystopian sci-fi series, based on Margaret Atwood’s classic novel and starring Elisabeth Moss as one of many women forced into sexual servitude for high-ranking officials with barren wives, is how familiar it looks.
Previous footage had focused almost exclusively on events within the society of Gilead, which, despite its overtly political resonance with realities of oppression in the real world, felt more staunchly fictional, with the sexually enslaved Handmaids wearing matching, dark-red dresses and the look of the place resembling 17th- and 18th-century colonial America despite being set in the future (granted, the decision to evoke a nonfictional, oppressive past was most certainly not arbitrary). This new trailer, however, devotes more time to chronicling the diegetic history leading up to the onset of Gilead, and what we see is essentially a mirror of our 21st-century United States.
Images of picketers with signs reading “A Woman’s Choice is a Woman’s Voice” and “Stop Violence Against Women” could have been pulled straight from footage of actual women’s rights marches, whereas the fact that Gileas was in part the result of “[blaming] terrorists” and “[suspending] the Constitution” holds disturbing parallels with the xenophobia and questionable legality presently being perpetrated by the White House. Shots of armed troops in the streets, cursorily glimpsed in earlier teasers, are given a tad more screen time here, which brings out the visual similarity to the police force’s armed response to the racially charged protests of recent years.
“I was asleep” is the refrain of Moss’s narrator as she recounts society’s downward spiral to us in the trailer’s opening, but then the narrative shifts in ways powerfully resonant with the current necessity for social awareness: “Now I’m awake.”
Check out the full trailer above, and catch the show on Hulu when it debuts on April 26.