News

Hanna Season 2 Supercharges Its Heroine

Esmé Creed-Miles, costar Mireille Enos, and series creator David Farr on Hanna's journey and identity politics in the age of social media.

by | July 2, 2020 | Comments

Ask the cast and creator of Hanna if the show’s protagonist is a hero, and you’ll get diverse answers. Series creator David Farr labeled the genetically-modified 15-year-old trained assassin an “existential heroine,” self-aware and making her own choices about who she is and what she wants in life.

Ask star Esmé Creed-Miles if her character is an “existential heroine,” and you get another perspective.

“Existentialism, to me, is a common application of meaning or needing meaning. It’s not something Hanna is, actually at her core, searching for,” Creed-Miles explained to Rotten Tomatoes in a chat about the new season of the coming-of-age/espionage thriller.

How those two views diverge is an example of the generational dynamics that make Hanna resonate so profoundly today.


Hanna season 2 keyart

(Photo by Christopher Raphael/Amazon Prime Video)

In season 1, Hanna was searching for truth. Erik Heller (Joel Kinnaman), her unconventional father figure, raised Hanna in the woods, training her to live her life off-the-grid and away from the civilized world in order to keep her safe. But her drive to find out where she came from, and where she actually fits into the world, found the young girl disobeying her father’s orders and searching for her identity.

As the episodes progressed, she learned who Erik really was: a former CIA agent who recruited pregnant women to sell their female babies to a secret government operation known as Utrax — an off-the-books outfit that conducted experiments on the girls with the goal of molding them into killing machines. He was the one who ultimately rescued Hanna from the facility when she was just an infant, and when Utrax agents under the command of Marissa Weigler (Mireille Enos) shot and killed Hanna’s birth mother, Erik fled into the woods and raised Hanna as his daughter, teaching her to live off the land and stay out-of-sight.


Esmé Creed-Miles and Mireille Enos in HANNA Season 2

(Photo by Christopher Raphael/Amazon Prime Video)

In season 2, Hanna is searching for freedom and family. With the tragic death of her father, and Marissa’s surprise turn from villain to potential ally in the first season’s final moments — the former Utrax officer decides to kill shady CIA operative Jerome Sawyer (Khalid Abdala), and help Hanna, Erik, and their new teenage super-soldier friend Clara (Yazmin Monet Prince) walk free from the Romanian facility — it’s clear there’s a bond between Hanna and Marissa. And in season 2, it continues to grow into a complex mother-daughter/partners-in-espionage team-up.

“I think that the dynamic that evolves between Marissa and Hanna is actually the most interesting thing about the series because it’s so convoluted and tainted with the trauma of Hanna’s past, and whether they can trust each other,” Creed-Miles says. “Whenever they are with each other or trusting each other with their lives, they both have the ability to kill each other in one way or another. And that’s one of my favorite things about the season.”


Esmé Creed-Miles,, Dermot Mulroney, and Anthony Welsh in HANNA Season

(Photo by Christopher Raphael/Amazon Prime Video)

Freedom, for Hanna, is a tougher goal to achieve. First, there’s the ongoing trust issues she has with Marissa, especially considering the woman’s awful past. (Marissa, after all, oversaw the incineration of the modified babies when the Utrax facility was originally shut down.) Season 1 also revealed that a new Utrax operation was up-and-running, and season 2 introduces Dermot Mulroney as CIA agent John Carmichael, who took over the duties of running the place. Hanna fixates on liberating Clara, which requires diving into the belly of the beast.

This trip back to Utrax pivots the kinetic tone of the series, which found Hanna on the run throughout Europe in season 1, to a more grounded, though still tense, environment this time around. The organization’s Meadows facility, which has this full-on Professor Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters vibe, provides a lot of the conflict and nuance. The young women are trained in firearms and combat while being integrated into the world through government-assigned identities that are extensively documented in photo albums, each trainee’s wardrobe, and carefully manufactured social media profiles.

“It’s the control of Utrax over these young women; that ability to say, ‘We’ll give you this freedom,’ and, ‘Look what we can offer you, look what we can give you,’ and still be totally in charge,” Farr said, comparing this fictional power structure to the many real ones that have faced ridicule and engendered conflict in recent months. “There’s the idea that Hanna is, in some way, a true existential heroine who says, ‘No. I’ve looked it in the eye, and I know I don’t want that. I’m going to rebel.’ That, for me, gained the character a kind of prescience that I think it probably didn’t have before.”


HANNA Season cast

(Photo by Christopher Raphael/Amazon Prime Video)

Hanna does see the appeal of the place. Once inside, she finds herself seduced by the allure of community. She may not have a physical family, but living among the other trainees, so like her, builds a feeling of belonging and connection, which is something Hanna has struggled to hold onto since the onset of the show.

“I think that the loss of not having any heritage, any family, any idea of her own history gives Hanna a huge insecurity that is exploited by the Utrax organization in terms of the girls,” Creed-Miles said.

Hanna’s physical and intellectual prowess may be heightened, but Creed-Miles recognizes that the character is still a teenage human. And she’s going through some of the relatable struggles with identity and acceptance most females her age grapple with.

“Despite the superficiality of [social media], it’s still very emblematic of the way that young people are often engendered an identity that’s created through, I guess, what’s socially acceptable and what isn’t,” she said. “I think that’s changing, but social media is still definitely like the charging pools behind what people do and don’t do and what they can and can’t do. I think it’s such an interesting element of the show and seeing the way that Hanna interacts with it highlights those differences.”


Esmé Creed-Miles as “Hanna” in HANNA Season 2

(Photo by Christopher Raphael/Amazon Prime Video)

The series has become an unexpected mirror to some recent real-world issues, and as Farr noted, there’s a history of the younger generation pushing back against the power structures that are no longer operating with the people’s best interests in mind.

“What I find heartening about the politics of what’s going on right now, in the world, literally right now — which I know, at the moment, is around race — is still fundamentally around identities and groups of identities that have been appallingly treated,” Farr said. “There is something hopeful of how the younger generation has gathered around that. And there’s an energy, at the moment, around the youth.”

Enos agreed, adding: “Teenagers, at this moment, with all of the power of social media and their identities and self-worth being tethered to how many likes they get, it’s a very complicated time. So, I hope for the teenage girls that watch this, that it helps them to consider why they identify with the things they do and what aspects of themselves they’re putting as the most important. Hopefully, it isn’t what other people around them are telling them. There’s supposed to be some quiet inner voice that says, ‘This is your path. This is your worth.'”

Hanna season 2 premieres on Amazon Prime Video on Friday, July 3.

Tag Cloud

Emmy Nominations comiccon canceled TV shows Family Drama superhero composers TCA 2017 Stephen King Martial Arts spanish language Country Box Office spanish cinemax strong female leads Black Mirror Star Trek GLAAD twilight ESPN a nightmare on elm street Anna Paquin blaxploitation kids VICE discovery Action anthology HBO Go golden globes diversity Hallmark Christmas movies emmy awards ABC Family ghosts Paramount Network crime drama animated Kids & Family PaleyFest Brie Larson The CW romance The Walking Dead universal monsters YA YouTube Red Academy Awards richard e. Grant Sundance Winners Mary Poppins Returns Hear Us Out Music joker Mudbound Columbia Pictures Disney Plus Writers Guild of America 2017 Cannes sitcom indiana jones toronto movies Interview Set visit A&E WGN Polls and Games VOD RT21 Nickelodeon quibi archives Disney Channel Sundance Now comics Podcast Star Wars TCA Video Games italian Food Network YouTube Premium Thanksgiving comedies cancelled TV series Cosplay elevated horror game show mission: impossible political drama Universal Super Bowl FX on Hulu MCU BET Awards casting Biopics screenings Travel Channel 2019 E3 vampires Quiz werewolf indie movie singing competition jamie lee curtis Mindy Kaling Valentine's Day FX slashers nature social media sports Tubi theme song ratings docudrama documentary criterion hispanic Fantasy PBS CNN cancelled space supernatural doctor who Masterpiece Best and Worst Elton John Discovery Channel X-Men OWN batman nfl directors chucky Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt TCA Winter 2020 El Rey Sci-Fi Lionsgate cancelled television renewed TV shows Fox News Holidays worst movies comic psychological thriller Showtime DGA Rock Heroines 20th Century Fox Amazon Prime Video Crackle 24 frames classics Calendar Adult Swim BBC Dark Horse Comics Syfy Baby Yoda serial killer Infographic 71st Emmy Awards Schedule zero dark thirty Esquire Premiere Dates Pride Month adventure cars 2016 Tumblr TCM DC Universe Superheroe spinoff CMT Certified Fresh TNT BBC One war BAFTA Comedy Central Television Academy American Society of Cinematographers Film Festival Chernobyl Chilling Adventures of Sabrina mutant Disney Reality MTV reboot DC streaming service versus 72 Emmy Awards halloween NYCC aliens Christmas binge revenge Opinion Logo romantic comedy Britbox finale Endgame japanese Crunchyroll independent Marvel The Arrangement Peacock GoT 21st Century Fox cults TCA Awards festivals Awards zombie Funimation robots Bravo Ellie Kemper canceled critics Black History Month stoner A24 Arrowverse Lucasfilm hollywood Animation halloween tv ITV DirecTV films blockbuster Sneak Peek reviews best Rocketman what to watch Spike Election parents free movies Shudder Grammys Apple TV+ USA Network Comics on TV IFC TV renewals Acorn TV Pixar PlayStation Character Guide AMC Tarantino anime TV TLC Year in Review NBC Creative Arts Emmys IFC Films rotten Amazon Studios award winner 2018 Song of Ice and Fire Women's History Month based on movie MSNBC news CBS HBO Rom-Com Nat Geo crossover TBS First Reviews talk show Walt Disney Pictures spy thriller Pop disaster Fall TV Mary Tyler Moore sequel Epix Western Marvel Television breaking bad SDCC Countdown Rocky National Geographic HBO Max french zombies RT History Cartoon Network spain obituary Ghostbusters 4/20 FOX History rotten movies we love GIFs Television Critics Association Amazon satire stand-up comedy stop motion OneApp travel name the review Starz Avengers psycho VH1 mockumentary USA justice league thriller Horror Netflix Christmas movies south america Pirates screen actors guild Vudu Oscars teaser Trivia Netflix LGBTQ CW Seed APB Tomatazos foreign Nominations politics YouTube FXX TV Land Watching Series children's TV transformers police drama Turner Amazon Prime cartoon christmas movies CBS All Access New York Comic Con fast and furious crime Marvel Studios 2015 facebook Pop TV remakes technology witnail documentaries venice cats 45 streaming TIFF historical drama The Purge franchise Comedy Spectrum Originals ABC book Musicals San Diego Comic-Con Disney streaming service unscripted DC Comics video on demand Extras worst natural history child's play green book toy story Pet Sematary Ovation Emmys Freeform Winter TV dceu Turner Classic Movies Fox Searchlight Trailer latino Awards Tour spider-man Musical Superheroes The Academy video sag awards Lifetime Christmas movies cooking TruTV Mystery WarnerMedia Spring TV Teen true crime die hard Shondaland See It Skip It television Sony Pictures harry potter E! Lifetime The Witch cancelled TV shows SundanceTV 007 Toys sequels festival Mary poppins BBC America BET SXSW series Apple TV Plus game of thrones dragons Marathons medical drama Film Hallmark tv talk Disney+ Disney Plus 2020 Sundance TV President Trophy Talk Red Carpet hist laika nbcuniversal dogs concert scorecard Warner Bros. scary movies Apple biography dramedy Hulu Comic Book Photos Classic Film crime thriller LGBT science fiction dark all-time football miniseries Paramount Summer Reality Competition First Look asian-american Captain marvel dc adaptation boxoffice Binge Guide cops Holiday period drama