Who could have predicted that when The Handmaid's Tale premiered in 2017 as Hulu's first scripted original, it would go on to be an award-winning series with multiple seasons under its belt. Now that the show is somewhat coming to an end, it will be bittersweet to say goodbye to the often-cruel world of Gilead and its inhabitants. Thankfully (or upsettingly), author Margaret Atwood cranked out a sequel to The Handmaid's Tale in the form of 2019's The Testaments.
Atwood worked in conjunction with the show in order to ensure the sequel was aligned with the televised adaptation of The Handmaid's Tale. Although the series has long since left the pages of her book, it's the pages of another book that the sequel will once again burst forth from.
That's right, Hulu is turning The Testaments into a series and we're equal parts excited and stressed out about it. Here's what we know about Hulu's adaptation of The Testaments.
What can we expect from Hulu's 'The Testaments'?
Margaret Atwood set the sequel to The Handmaid's Tale 15 years after the events of what will be the show's final season. What would possess the author to write a sequel nearly 35 years after the original book was published in 1985?
In a 2019 interview with Variety, Margaret essentially cited history repeating itself as her inspiration. "Instead of moving away from Gilead, we started moving towards it, especially in the United States," she told the outlet.
Inspiration for the sequel struck when Donald Trump officially became president in 2017. She started writing in February of that year. At this point, it's hard to say if art is imitating life or life is imitating art. "For a society that claims to value individual freedom, I would say to them, evidently you don’t think this individual freedom extends to women," Margaret said.
This time, the book — and possibly the series — is getting a different narrator and a new perspective. In fact, three narrators take the helm in The Testaments, hence the plural form of the word.
"Although I could not continue with the story of Offred [Elizabeth Moss], I could continue with three other people concerned in these events and tell the story of the beginning of the end, because we know from The Handmaid’s Tale that Gilead vanishes." For Margaret, her interest was in the demise of this world.
Who from 'The Handmaid's Tale' will make an appearance in 'The Testaments'?
The biggest character making the jump from The Handmaid's Tale to The Testaments is Aunt Lydia, played by the incredible Ann Dowd. She is, in fact, one of the three narrators. In The Handmaid's Tale, Aunt Lydia is as villainous as they come, often referred to as a traitor to her sex. In Season 3, we finally got her backstory, which reveals a pre-Gilead woman deeply rooted in shame, self-hatred, and a misplaced desire to do what's right. She carried that into The Handmaid's Tale, but will it stay with her in The Testaments?
Handmaid's Tale creator, showrunner, and executive producer Bruce Miller chatted with The Hollywood Reporter about the impending sequel. In the interview, he explains that while we mostly follow June Osborne (Moss's character) on the show, it's called The Handmaid's Tale for a reason. We're only here for this moment in her life and once that ends, so goes the show. While June's story is part of The Testaments, in all likelihood she won't be revisited.
"It’s a perfect creative situation that we get to peel off but maintain our connection with all of our characters that we’ve built and loved, and all of the actors," Bruce shared with the outlet. "The part that is heartbreaking and terrifying is to leave the actors behind."
Hopefully the future of that world is a little brighter 15 years after the fact. It certainly can't get any worse.