Margaret Atwood Is Writing A Sequel To ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’

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Margaret Atwood The Handmaid's Tale
Larry D. Moore/WikimediaCommons, Hulu

Under his Eye: 2019 will be a packed year for The Handmaid’s Tale universe. Not only will the show get a third season, but Margret Atwood is writing a sequel to the original novel! What will it be about and how will it impact the show? Read on to find out.

We must warn you: spoilers for the book and the first two seasons of the show lie ahead!

The Handmaid’s Tale Saga Continues

Margaret Atwood The Handmaid's Tale Sequel
Shawn Goldberg/Shutterstock

Margaret Atwood is currently writing a sequel to her original 1985 novel. She confirmed the news via tweet, writing “Yes indeed to those who asked: I’m writing a sequel to The #HandmaidsTale.”

The new novel, titled The Testament, takes place fifteen years after the original and will feature three female narrators. Count us in! Penguin Books will release the book next September.

The Canadian author also said that “Everything you’ve ever asked me about Gilead and its inner workings is the inspiration for this book.” On a darker note, she said, “Well, almost everything! The other inspiration is the world we’ve been living in.”

The Dystopian Tale

The Handmaid's Tale
McClelland and Stewart, Hulu

Atwood wrote the original Handmaid’s Tale over thirty years ago. However, the plot takes place in the not-so-distant late 21st century. It tells of a dystopian land of Gilead, where a dictatorial regime took control of parts of the United States. Afterward, the government bases their values and laws on “biblical morals.”

In the center of the novel, there’s Offred, who the regime labels a “wanton woman” after marrying a divorced man. Therefore, the government hunts her down and forces her to become a “handmaid” for a high-ranked commander. All women who have “sinned” but are still fertile – lesbians, regime opponents, women who chose not to give birth – are forced into becoming handmaids. The handmaids’ are slaves whose sole purpose is to serve, whether that means cleaning or conception. From this position, Offred plans her revenge and escape.

Hulu adapted the novel into a series in 2017, and it immediately became a hit. It was one of the streaming giant’s first major projects and a gamble at that. However, it paid off! Hulu released the second season this past summer, and now audiences eagerly await the third. Led by a wonderful cast, including the incredible Elisabeth Moss, the series began deviating from the book in season two. This makes sense, however, as the plot of the original book occurred in season one, and at the time there was no sequel to base the second season on.

What Will Happen In Season 3?

Handmaid's Tale Season 3
Hulu

So how will the new book impact the show? Well, the award-winning author of The Handmaid’s Tale said the second book’s plot and events will not affect the series and vice versa. The original novel ends where the first season does – Offred is smuggled somewhere, unknown. The original book does, however, include an epilogue that might shed some light on the future of the show. The epilogue takes place far in the future, after the fall of Gilead, where a new, more-equal society discovers tapes Offred created. Is this the ending Hulu’s adaptation is working towards? Only time will tell.

Since the second season of The Handmaid’s Tale was not book-related whatsoever, it’s fun imagining where season three will go. A quick recap – Offred, whose real name is June, gave birth and the citizens rebelled against the government! The Marthas, as well as some commanders and wives (including Serena), helped smuggle Nick and June’s baby out of the country. June, however, remained in Gilead, as did Serena. We’re very curious to see where the show goes next! How will June and Serena remain alive? Will June ever get to see her husband and daughter? What about June and Nick’s future together?

As Atwood is involved in every part of the script and series, perhaps her input will have even a more significant role in upcoming seasons after the new book is released. Both the original novelist and the showrunners see a long future for the show…we’ll just have to wait for spring of 2019 to see what happens next. Blessed be the fruit.