HULU is developing Margaret Atwood’s ‘The Testament’ the sequel to ‘Handmaid’s Tale’

Updated: Sep 11, 2019

Hulu and MGM will develop Margaret Atwood’s new novel

The Testaments

for the screen, the partners told TIME exclusively. Bruce Miller, showrunner for the Emmy-winning television adaptation of

The Handmaid’s Tale

, is involved in discussions about how to best approach the new material. It’s unclear at this stage what form The Testaments will take — whether it will be folded into the existing Hulu series or developed as a separate work.

Atwood, who appears on the

cover of TIME this week

, will release the highly anticipated follow-up to her 1985 dystopian novel on Sept. 10. The new book jumps forward in time about 15 years after the famously ambiguous end of The Handmaid’s Tale, where protagonist Offred boarded a van that would take her to an unknown fate. The first season of the Hulu series, which premiered in April 2017, stuck closely to many of the

major arcs of the original novel

. The finale ended with the same image of Offred facing uncertainty about her future as in the book. But as the show has continued — Hulu has picked up a

fourth season

— its writers have had to develop the narrative beyond Atwood’s original story.

The Testaments will help. The book is told not from the perspective of Offred, but instead from those of three other women connected to Gilead: a young woman raised in the oppressive society; a Canadian teen who learns she was actually born there; and

Aunt Lydia

, a major villain in both the original novel and the show. In

season 3 of

The Handmaid’s Tale

, Lydia finally got her backstory — one that showed her grappling with romantic rejection and shame in her life before the regime took over. The new book takes an even deeper dive into her mind, one more conflicted about Gilead than it may appear on the surface.