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The Handmaid’s Tale Super Bowl teaser: “Wake up, America,” demands June

It’s a dark parody of a famous Reagan ad.

Constance Grady is a senior correspondent on the Culture team for Vox, where since 2016 she has covered books, publishing, gender, celebrity analysis, and theater.

During Super Bowl 53 on Sunday evening, The Handmaid’s Tale released a teaser for its forthcoming third season, and while there’s not tons of new footage on display, there is atmosphere for days — and the new footage we do get looks dark and vengeful.

The trailer opens with idyllic images bathed in golden light: newborn babies being cuddled by blue-draped Wives; Unwomen going to work in the nuclear waste fields: You know, the usual. “It’s morning again in America,” says a reassuring male voice. “Today, more women are going to work than ever before in our country’s history.”

The opening recreates almost word for word Ronald Reagan’s famous 1984 political ad, “Morning again in America,” in what appears to be a wink to The Handmaid’s Tale’s source material: Margaret Atwood’s novel was written in a direct response to 1980s Reaganism and its paternalistic focus on traditional American values.

But halfway through, the announcer’s voices goes warped and confused, flames billow across the screen, and June’s head snaps up. “Wake up, America,” she says in voiceover as a team of Handmaids assemble below a giant cross. “Morning’s over.”

Season two ended with June deciding to stay in Gilead, apparently both to find and protect her lost daughter Hannah and to try to take down the government of Gilead. That means her “wake up, America” has a double meaning: She’s calling for everyone in what used to be America to wake up from their stupor, but she’s also calling for the United States of America — now reduced to a bare-bones government in Hawaii — to wake up and take down Gilead itself.

The Handmaid’s Tale season three will premiere on Hulu later this year. The release date has not yet been announced.

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