Under his eye, the news is good today. Despite the long wait between now and spring of 2019, when The Handmaid's Tale Season 3 is expected to arrive on Hulu, fans of the series have something to look forward to. Margaret Atwood is writing a Handmaid's Tale sequel, to be released next year. Even better, it's not just a novelization of The Handmaid's Tale Season 2, which aired last year, but an entirely new story, one set far enough in the future the TV show has room to grow in between the two installments.
The rumor Atwood has been working on some sort of sequel or new material related to the story has been floating around since the spring of 2017, just before the first season launched to rave reviews. At first, it seemed it was just Atwood had expanded the epilogue scene, a part of the book the TV series did not use in the first season. But the idea either Atwood (or someone designated by her) would produce a sequel novel would not die.
Now fans know why the rumor persisted. Atwood's been prepping to work on a sequel, which will be titled The Testaments. She revealed this herself via Twitter earlier this week.
Entertainment Weekly verified with Atwood's publisher, Nan A. Talese/Doubleday, the news was real. The book is slated for release in the fall of next year, and it "will not be connected to the TV series."
Here's the brief synopsis so far, from Atwood herself:
The Testaments is set 15 years after Offred’s final scene in The Handmaid’s Tale and will be narrated by three female characters.
Atwood credited the questions fans have asked her about the story for inspiring her to create a sequel
Dear Readers: Everything you’ve ever asked me about Gilead and its inner workings is the inspiration for this book. Well, almost everything! The other inspiration is the world we’ve been living in.
The title is an interesting choice. As fans of the series know, the all-important package Offred struggled to get her hands on in the first season turned out to be letters from Handmaids, all testifying to their living conditions in Gilead. In Season 2, those testaments are uploaded onto the Canadian internet, forcing the government to break any potential ties with the new neighbor to the south.
The title of the new story sounds like it may take the form of an epistolary novel, one made up of letters written by the characters. It will be interesting to see if these "testaments" are all taken from the perspective of Handmaids, or via multiple walks of life, including the points of view of Wives and Marthas, and what they reveal about the living conditions in Gilead 15 years later. One thing is for sure, if the book is in no way connected to the TV series, chances are none of these testaments will be from the perspective of Offred's daughters.
Meanwhile, The Handmaid's Tale Season 3 is expected to return to Hulu in April of 2019 or thereabouts. The Testaments arrives on shelves on Sept. 10, 2019.