Hulu announced during the recent Television Critics Association’s Summer Press Tour that it renewed The Handmaid’s Tale, its ongoing adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s classic 1985 dystopian novel, for a fourth season. The news comes ahead of the publication of Atwood’s long-awaited print sequel, The Testaments, due to hit shelves in September.
As in the original novel, the TV series is told primarily from the perspective of Offred, a woman living in a future society called Gilead that brutally oppresses and subjugates women. After the first season, the show began expanding on the original story; the third season, due to wrap up on Aug. 14, has left the events of the original book far behind—to mixed reviews.
Little is known about Atwood’s print sequel so far, which, according to publisher Penguin Random House, “picks up the story 15 years after Offred stepped into the unknown, with the explosive testaments of three female narrators from Gilead.”
This would take place after the events of the TV series, and there’s no firm indication that the two will ever link up. Last month at BookCon, the TV series’ showrunner, Bruce Miller, noted that “We go back to the book all the time” for inspiration and that he was more nervous about deviating from the original text than Atwood was—in part, because she’d already seen it adapted for the stage. Indeed, there have been at least three different stage adaptations over the years as well as an opera and a ballet. One more season of a TV show likely won’t faze Atwood—no matter which way it goes.
David Rapp is the senior Indie editor.