'The Handmaid's Tale' Sequel Is Also Being Adapted For Hulu

Last year, award-winning author Margaret Atwood announced that she was writing a sequel to her acclaimed novel The Handmaid's Tale. It's called The Testaments, and it's also set in the oppressive religious community of Gilead but told from the perspectives of several characters instead of being in the head of the first book's protagonist, June (aka Offred). The Testaments hits bookshelves next week, and today multiple reports have confirmed that Hulu and MGM, the companies behind the Emmy-winning TV version of The Handmaid's Tale, are also developing the sequel for Hulu – though it's still unclear whether this will be worked into the existing show, or if it will be a separate show altogether.

Time first broke the news about The Handmaid's Tale sequel show today, and io9 received the following statement from a Hulu spokesperson when they inquired about what form The Testaments might take:

MGM and Hulu are currently in discussions with Handmaid's showrunner Bruce Miller about how the upcoming novel can become an important extension to the immensely popular award-winning series The Handmaid's Tale.

The new book, which was supposed to debut on September 10 but has already been released to a small number of buyers due to an Amazon retailer error, takes place fifteen years after the end of Atwood's original novel. That first book ended ambiguously, with June thrown in the back of a van with her fate hanging in the balance. (The first season of the Hulu series followed the book closely even down to that ending, but has since expanded the story in its own directions.)

The Testaments has three different narrators: a young woman raised in the oppressive society of Gilead; a Canadian teen who learns she was actually born there; and Aunt Lydia, one of the villains of the first book who oversees the handmaids. Ann Dowd portrays Aunt Lydia on The Handmaid's Tale, and while it's still unknown if she'll reprise the role in whatever visual form The Testaments ends up taking, she's returning to voice the character in the new audiobook alongside Bryce Dallas Howard and Mae Whitman as the other POV characters.

Personally, I'd love to see The Handmaid's Tale jump ahead to pick up the action with Aunt Lydia and these new characters, because while the third season of the show had the occasional bright spot, it largely felt as if it was treading water. Atwood herself realized the show's pacing has slowed dramatically, telling 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."

At this point, I'd prefer a break from Offred's story (no shade to Elisabeth Moss, who's done incredible work in the lead role) and would love to see some of that plotline's dangling questions answered by other characters, but we'll have to wait and see how all this plays out.