Ann Dowd and Bradley Whitford as Aunt Lydia and Commander Lawrence, clawing their way up the power s...

Ann Dowd Shared New Intel About The Handmaid's Tale Spinoff, The Testaments

More of Aunt Lydia's story will be told.

by Ani Bundel
Sophie Giraud/Hulu

The Handmaid’s Tale has lasted four seasons so far, an improbable run for a series initially viewed as a limited adaptation of author Margaret Atwood’s novel of the same name. But along the way, the story has broadened. It’s no longer just “the Handmaid’s tale” of Offred, but of Emily, of Moira, of Janine. It’s also the story of those who attempted to survive and thrive in Gilead: the Waterfords, Aunt Lydia, Nick, and Commander Lawrence. At this point, it looks like when June’s story ends, The Handmaid’s Tale will too, but the world of Gilead will continue in The Testaments, which is expected to release on Hulu at some point in the future.

After The Handmaid’s Tale was such a huge hit on Hulu, Atwood was inspired to return to the world of Gilead. Her original 1985 book had ended ambiguously, with Offred tossed in a van, her destination unknown. Did the Eyes arrest her? Was Mayday rescuing her? It was left to the reader to decide.

Since the show has continued past the end of the book, some of those questions were answered. But the most important one, how it will all end for June, remains. Atwood’s follow-up, The Testaments, sought to clarify her fate (although it still did not give details). But, instead of June, it follows different characters, including one very well-known one: Aunt Lydia.

Hulu has optioned the rights to this new book, and although a new series based on the book has not formally been announced, its influence was already evident in Season 4 and will likely continue to guide the upcoming Season 5. So, here’s everything fans should know about the potential new series:

The Testaments News

Sophie Giraud/Hulu

With The Handmaid’s Tale Season 4 over and the push for Emmy nominations in full swing, Ann Dowd, who has taken home an Emmy already for her portrayal of Aunt Lydia in the series, spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about her evolving character: “There are a lot of ways that Lydia is shifting, and they’re powerful.”

She also spoke briefly about The Testaments, and though she didn’t say much, it was evident she fully expects to take her character as a bridge from one show to the next. “It’s a fantastic novel; it’s brilliant. I’ve listened to the audiobook, which I loved,” Dowd said. “I’m very much looking forward to it. It takes place 15 years later, after the end of Handmaids.”

The Testaments Cast

Although Dowd is expected to transition from one show to the other, should it be greenlit, she is one of the very few who will. The Testaments does include some characters fans will know, but the 15-year jump from one story to the other means new actors will be expected to take on the roles.

But there’s one actor who almost assuredly will not turn up: Elisabeth Moss’ June. Although The Testaments mentions her in passing as a famous figure, Gilead’s biggest rebel does not turn up in the book.

The Testaments Release Date

With no formal production start date, it’s far too early to say if or when The Testaments will come to Hulu. But The Handmaid’s Tale’s popularity remains high and Season 5 is expected to arrive in 2022. The Handmaid’s Tale Seasons 1 through 4 are streaming on Hulu.