'The Serpent Queen' Season 2 Trailer Promises to Shake Up French History

Samantha Morton in "The Serpent Queen" Season 2

Samantha Morton in "The Serpent Queen" Season 2 

(Photo: Starz)

The second season of The Serpent Queen, the lavish period drama about controversial French queen Catherine de Medici will premiere on Starz this summer, and it looks as if the series is definitively turning things up a notch as rival factions fight for power and the Medici bitch struggles to hold on to control of a kingdom. 

"They say you get the life that you deserve. F*ck that," Samantha Morton's (Harlots) Medici queen intones in the Season 2 trailer. "Life is about what you're willing to do to survive. And I am willing to do anything." 

If the preview for the upcoming season is anything to go by, Catherine will have to survive a lot to keep her power and hold France together. Her second son is now King Charles IX, and civil war is looming between the French Catholics and Protestants, spurred on by a growing religious movement led by a so-called "prophet" named Edith (Isobel Jesper Jones). 

Season 2 will also see Minnie Driver's (Starstruck) Queen Elizabeth I arrive on French shores, a move that plays fast and loose with history. Though the real Catherine and Elizabeth were contemporaries with much in common as women struggling to hold power in a male-dominated world, the pair never actually met. (They did exchange letters fairly often, and Elizabeth was, at various points, offered two of Catherine's sons as potential husbands.) 

But if their brief scenes together in the trailer are anything to go by, it's easy to see why Serpent Queen creator Justin Haythe couldn't resist the opportunity to pit two such powerful women (and powerhouse performers) against one another. Forcing her to face off against another female monarch and one crowned in her own right will certainly change the political stakes for Catherine, not to mention finally give her an adversary who is her equal.

Here's the Season 2 synopsis. 

In season two, Catherine de Medici is Queen Regent of France now that her son, Charles IX has come of age. Distracted by the personal conflicts of the Valois children, a new mysterious prophet named Edith gains a loyal following who vow to challenge the current religious establishment, sparking tension across the country. Feeling threatened by the rising strain, the divided court turn to their own schemes for selfish benefit. The Guises commit unholy acts while the Bourbons turn to a familiar foreign sovereign, Queen Elizabeth I of England in hopes of personal gain.

As France falls into political and religious turmoil, Catherine struggles to maintain her power, but The Serpent Queen will do whatever she needs to regain control.

Nearly a dozen new faces have joined the cast of the series' second season. Bill Milner (The Flatshare) takes over the role of Charles IX, with Phillippine Velge (Station Eleven) as Catherine's eldest daughter Margot and Stanley Morgan (Sexy Beast) as Hercules, Duke of Anjou, her youngest surviving son. 

Other notable new faces include Angus Imrie (Fleabag) as Henry de Bourbon-Navarre; Emma McDonald (Moonhaven) as an aged-up Rahima; Rosalie Craig (The Tower) as Jeanne d'Albret; Ashley Thomas (Great Expectations) as Alessandro de Medici, and Alexandre Willaume (1899) as Montmorency, the Constable General of France.

The Serpent Queen Season 2 premieres Friday, July 12 at midnight on the STARZ app. Its linear broadcast debut will occur on STARZ at 8 pm ET/PT in the U.S. and 9:00 pm ET/PT in Canada.

Lacy Baugher

Lacy's love of British TV is embarrassingly extensive, but primarily centers around evangelizing all things Doctor Who, and watching as many period dramas as possible.

Digital media type by day, she also has a fairly useless degree in British medieval literature, and dearly loves to talk about dream poetry, liminality, and the medieval religious vision. (Sadly, that opportunity presents itself very infrequently.) York apologist, Ninth Doctor enthusiast, and unabashed Ravenclaw. Say hi on Threads or Blue Sky at @LacyMB. 

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