Margaret Atwood’s new novel The Testaments confirmed for TV sequel

The Canadian author's hotly-anticipated sequel to The Handmaid's Tale will also be adapted for the small screen

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Margaret Atwood’s highly-anticipated sequel to her 1985 dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale is set to be adapted for the small screen by Hulu and MGM.

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New novel The Testaments is set 15 years after the events of the original novel, and it’s not yet clear whether the new material will be used in Hulu’s Emmy-winning adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale — which has been renewed for a fourth season — or a standalone series. Bruce Miller, showrunner for The Handmaid’s Tale, is reportedly involved in discussions, according to TIME Magazine.

The Testaments won’t be narrated by Offred (played by Elisabeth Moss in the series) but by three different voices: a young woman raised in the oppressive regime of Gilead; a teenage Canadian who learns that she was born in Gilead; and Aunt Lydia (played by Ann Dowd), an antagonist in both the original book and the Hulu series.

The Handmaid's Tale, Channel 4 press
Elisabeth Moss in The Handmaid’s Tale (UK distributor Channel 4)

Aunt Lydia’s backstory was fleshed out in the latest season of The Handmaid’s Tale, which revealed that she had been a single, primary-school-age teacher who had wrestled with her own desire and sense of shame pre-Gilead.

Atwood revealed that she had urged Hulu showrunners to keep the character alive, recalling: “You absolutely cannot kill Aunt Lydia, or I will have your head on a plate.”

The writer also criticised showrunners’ controversial decision to keep Offred/June in Gilead for a third season. “They can’t keep Offred in Gilead for many more seasons, or a certain amount of wheel spinning will be going on,” she said. “They have to move her along — and I’ve given them lots of ways of how that would happen.”

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