Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments is the sequel to dystopian feminist classic The Handmaid’s Tale. Due to be released on September 10, some fans have received copies early. The Testaments has already garnered quite a bit of buzz unrelated to the content of the book itself. Let’s discuss what we know so far about the book, and how it might impact the Hulu series.
Amazon Accidentally Releases Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments Early
The release of Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments has been shrouded in secrecy. Recently shortlisted for a prestigious Booker Prize, judges say they had to take special precautions to not to reveal plot details. So many readers were surprised when they received copies of the the book over a week early. Amazon claims that a technical error caused the books to ship early. And it doesn’t seem likely that they will face any repercussions for the gaffe. This angers many independent bookstores who were holding to a strict book embargo. They feel that Amazon should be held responsible for the mistake.
Shockingly, it doesn’t appear that many spoilers about the book emerged prior to official release. However, some people feel that knowing anything about a book (or the show it will soon become) is a spoiler. So a disclaimer must be given. Potential spoilers below.
Image via Hulu
Hulu To Adapt The Testaments – Will It Be A Spin-Off Or Part Of The Handmaid’s Tale Show?
It looks like Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments could become canon in the Hulu series as well. Days before book release, Hulu announced that they had already optioned the novel. It is unclear if The Testaments will spin off as its own series, or if it will fold into the existing show. The Handmaid’s Tale was recently renewed for a fourth season on Hulu. Elizabeth Moss will return in the role of June/Offred, but her time on the show may be running out. If The Testaments does end up incorporated into the show, then viewers can expect a significant time jump to occur at some point.
Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments picks up 15 years after the events of the first book. It revolves around three female protagonists who all have a connection to June/Offred. The women of The Testaments will also be familiar to viewers of the show: there is Agnes, a young woman who has grown up in Gilead. Daisy is a teenager living in Canada, who discovers that she was born in Gilead. But the most surprising protagonist in The Testaments is the character of Aunt Lydia.
How Will Lydia’s Character Affect The Future Of The Handmaid’s Tale?
Image via Hulu
The show has already explored Lydia’s character and backstory in recent episodes. However, it seems as though Atwood has taken a turn with the character that fans will not see coming. It remains unclear how much of Lydia’s story in the sequel will affect her character in the show. But, the fact that actress Ann Dowd has lent her voice to the audiobook for The Testaments is a strong indicator that the character she plays onscreen will eventually turn into the new version of Lydia we meet in The Testaments.
“The story of the characters in the show at the moment is left open.” Atwood revealed in an exclusive interview with Entertainment Weekly. “So it’s up to Bruce and the highly competent writing team as to how they get those people into position.” The Handmaid’s Tale show quickly expanded far beyond the original book, with mixed results. Did Atwood write The Testaments to give the showrunners an endpoint to build towards? It seems very possible that the next season of The Handmaid’s Tale could be the last season of the show as we know it, before jumping forward in time to bring viewers up to the events of The Testaments.
The Handmaid’s Tale is available to stream now on Hulu.
Emily O'Donnell is a writer and photographer with roots in some of the earliest online fandoms. She cut her genre teeth on the Wizard of Oz books at the tender age of 6 years old, and was reading epic adult fantasy novels by the age of 10. Decades later, she still consumes genre fiction like there is no tomorrow. She is delighted to be living through the golden age of sci-fi and fantasy popularity. She is unashamed of the amount of fanfiction that still lingers online under her name.