For most movies about true historical events, the focus is on making sure the details are period-perfect down to the last button–lest a horde of angry, persnickety historians launch an attack and pull the film apart. But in the hit Hulu Catherine the Great series The Great (2020-Present), creator Tony McNamara uses anachronisms intentionally to centralize those who would normally be sidelined by history–namely the women. The result isn’t accuracy but authenticity: the story may take place centuries ago and the characters might be long dead, but because of how much we recognize from our own time, it has an immediacy that many historical films lack. The anachronisms range from minor details (modern haircuts) to major historical accuracies (Catherine’s mother was dead before her marriage and thus unlikely to sleep with her husband). The result feels both anti-historical and truthful.
McNamara has long said that he sees The Great as a 21st-century drama that “feeds off” its historical time period. And it works. Except for the costumes and frequent reminders of the brutality of the era, Catherine the Great’s Russian court feels more modern than a museum piece, more black comedy than a political cautionary tale. But, The Great, unlike other recent experiments in anachronistic costume drama never trips over itself to be “relatable.”
With the acclaimed series set to return with its third season later this year, here’s everything we know so far about The Great Season 3.
Where and When Is The Great Season 3 Premiering?
In January 2022, Hulu has announced that all ten episodes of The Great Season 3 will premiere on the streaming service on Friday, May 12, 2023. At least this time, fans won’t have to wait a year, as they did between Season 1 and Season 2, because of the COVID-19 epidemic. While you wait, you can watch the first two seasons of The Great on Hulu now by clicking the button below:
Is the Trailer for The Great Season 3 Out Yet?
No, unfortunately, we don’t have a trailer for The Great Season 3 yet–but with the series release just months away, expect one to be released any moment! And in the meantime, check out this clip from The Great Season 2 for a taste of the show’s signature style:
Who’s In the Cast of The Great Season 3?
The Great stars Elle Fanning as the young Catherine the Great and Nicholas Hoult as Peter III of Russia. Fan favorites Phoebe Fox (The Aeronauts, Eye in the Sky) and Adam Godley (Breaking Bad, The Umbrella Academy) return as Catherine’s best friend Marial and Archbishop Archie respectively. At the end of Season 2, Marial was imprisoned for revealing that Peter slept with and killed Catherine’s mother. Since Catherine is still committed to her relationship, will she forgive Marial–or forget? Meanwhile, Archie, the archbishop with a tendency for debauchery, is also still struggling with finding his faith.
Other returning cast members include Gwilym Lee (Top End Wedding, Bohemian Rhapsody) and Charity Wakefield (Sense & Sensibility, Wolf Hall) as Grigor and Georgina Dymov, Peter’s closest friends. Douglas Hodge (I Hate Suzie, Joker) returns as the bombastic General Velementov–as does Sacha Dhawan (Iron Fist, Doctor Who) as bureaucrat Orlo, and Bayo Gbadamosi (War of the Worlds, Doctor Who) as Arkady. Belinda Bromilow (Doctor Doctor, Packed to the Rafters) returns as Peter’s eccentric Aunt Elizabeth, a ready source of comic relief.
Who Are the Creators of The Great?
Australian writer and producer Tony McNamara, also known for movies like The Favorite and Cruella, is the creator, writer, and executive producer of The Great. The series is also executive produced by Marian Macgowan, Mark Winemaker, Elle Fanning, Nicholas Hoult, Brittany Kahan Ward, Doug Mankoff, Andrew Spaulding, Josh Kesselman, Ron West, and Matt Shakman. Civic Center Media produces the series in association with MRC Television, Thruline Entertainment, Echo Lake Entertainment, Lewellen Pictures, and Macgowan Films. Matthew Moore, Sheree Folkson, and Jaffar Mahmood are credited as directors for Season 3.
What’s The Great Season 3 About?
At the end of Season 2 of The Great, Catherine (Elle Fanning) and Peter (Nicholas Hoult) were still locked in a battle for the throne–even after she admitted her feelings for him and gave birth to their son Paul. And after learning that Peter had slept with her mother (Gillian Anderson, sadly not appearing in Season 3) before she fell out of a window, a furious Catherine stabbed her husband in the back–only to crumple into sobs. Luckily, the victim was a peasant lookalike who had taken Peter’s place and Peter and Catherine reconciled–sort of. After all, Peter now knows that Catherine is willing and capable of killing him–not exactly great for marital harmony. So we’re definitely wondering how the royal couple will cope in the new season.
Apart from their personal problems, intense political pressure pushed Catherine to assassinate the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire and imprison Peter’s supporters. And there are no signs of cooler heads prevailing: Season 3 revolves around more court machinations, complicated relationships, and coup attempts. Catherine is still in charge, meeting with peasants and nobles to get input on her quest to modernize Russia and encountering notable figures like writer Voltaire (Dustin Demri-Burns) and the American ambassador. She’s working on bonding with Peter and their young son Paul. Meanwhile, the sidelined Peter, tries his hand at “First Husband” duties like hunting and inventing new cuisines but soon finds himself bored with his lack of power. Is Peter really a changed man from the oblivious, insensitive, and adulterous jerk that Catherine married in Season 1? Or will true love keep him faithful to his Queen? Anything is possible…
Whatever happens in Season 3, it won’t be the end of Catherine and Peter. The Great was initially pitched for six seasons, and with great reviews and award nominations for Fanning and Hoult, there will be plenty of drama to last beyond the ten episodes of the third season.