Even though Hulu’s original series The Handmaid’s Tale leapt off from Margaret Atwood’s source material after season one, the author of the original 1985 novel has remained involved with the show, serving as a consulting producer. Now Atwood is about to release a Handmaid’s Tale sequel called The Testaments, and according to the new Time magazine cover feature about her, the new book “is told not from the perspective of Offred, but instead from those of three other women connected to Gilead: a young woman raised in the oppressive society; a Canadian teen who learns she was actually born there; and Aunt Lydia, a major villain in both the original novel and the show.” Time says Hulu and MGM are already planning to bring The Testaments to the screen, although right now it is unclear whether it will be as an extension of Handmaid’s or a new production altogether.
Frankly, at this point we can only welcome a viewpoint that transcends Offred (Elisabeth Moss) glaring at the camera to the tune of a stirring pop song. Even Atwood appears to agree, especially after Handmaid’s recently aired third season, which promised a revolution but took an interminably long time to get there. The author tells Time: “They can’t keep Offred in Gilead for many more seasons, or a certain amount of wheel spinning will be going on… They have to move her along—and I’ve given them lots of ways of how that would happen.” A season four for the series has already been announced, which hopefully will include more revolution, less wheel-spinning. But a sequel with three new, different narrators sounds like an even more revitalizing path to take.
Which led Atwood to chime in on one of the Hulu series’ prospective arcs, as it would have brought the narrative end to one of those narrators. According to Time, Atwood protested to showrunner Bruce Miller “when she learned Lydia was going to be stabbed by a vengeful handmaid: ‘You absolutely cannot kill Aunt Lydia, or I will have your head on a plate.” Sounds like something Aunt Lydia would say.