Margaret Atwood's Handmaid's Tale Sequel Is Coming to Hulu, But How?

The new novel isn't even out yet and Hulu and MGM are already teaming up to bring it to our screens

By Lauren Piester Sep 04, 2019 7:09 PMTags
The Handmaid's TaleHulu

Been feeling like Offred (Elisabeth Moss) should have gotten out of Gilead by now? You're not alone. 

Even Handmaid's Tale author Margaret Atwood is feeling that struggle with the Hulu series, which just ended its third season, as she acknowledged in a new interview with Time

"They can't keep Offred in Gilead for many more seasons, or a certain amount of wheel spinning will be going on," she said "They have to move her along—and I've given them lots of ways of how that would happen."

Atwood has written a sequel to her original book, which was begun before the Hulu series even premiered. The Testaments will take place 15 years after the end of the first book and will follow three other women living in this world, including a woman raised in Gilead, a Canadian teen who finds out she was born there, and everybody's fave, Aunt Lydia (Ann Dowd). It serves as a way to answer the questions everybody was asking after Offred got into the van at the end of the book.

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The show, of course, has gone on to try to answer those questions as it surpassed the original story, but now it's Atwood's turn to weigh in. 

According to Time, Hulu and MGM are partnering on developing the new novel, and Handmaid's Tale showrunner Bruce Miller is currently in discussions about how best to do that. Is it its own series, or should it be a part of the current series? 

The second and third seasons of the show have faced some criticism for the constant trauma and horror that the characters have continued to have to go through in order to keep the show going, and people have found it difficult to continue to watch Offred struggle in Gilead way past when she got into that van at the end of season one.

With the series already renewed for season four, it sounds like incorporating the new book into the show might be exactly what is needed to give the show some fresh energy and a new direction, with some new perspectives that could lessen the burden on the current characters. 

Atwood told Time that she hadn't wanted to do a sequel because she didn't want to re-create Offred's voice, but during the 2016 presidential election, she realized she didn't need to continue to tell Offred's story, so she started drafting the book with three new characters. Maybe that should be an indication that the show should also incorporate these new voices. 

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NPR's review of the book calls it "fast and thrilling" and says the women of the story are "more fascinating than ever." 

The Testaments will be released on September 10, and The Handmaid's Tale will return to Hulu for season four next year.