We’re only four episodes deep, but The Handmaid’s Tale, Hulu’s adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s prescient 1985 novel, has already proven almost too timely. After all, it tells the story of a divided America where an authoritarian theocracy and environmental crisis have robbed women of their reproductive rights, not to mention turned a sector of them into enslaved concubines.
The urgency of the show has hardly been ignored, not by the women showing up to places like South by Southwest decked out in bright red, floor-skimming handmaid robes, and not by Hulu, which just announced it is renewing the 10-episode series for a season two. And with Atwood, who has seemed to be blithely enjoying the novel’s renaissance, presumably coming along for the ride.
Margaret Atwood, Elisabeth Moss, and the Women of The Handmaid’s Tale
From left: Margaret Atwood, Elisabeth Moss, Alexis Bledel, Samira Wiley, Ann Dowd, Madeline Brewer, and Yvonne Strahovski.
Margaret Atwood, author of The Handmaid’s Tale and consulting producer of its Hulu series.
The news doesn’t exactly come as a surprise. The show has been at the heart of the cultural chatter, which these days can be as valuable as ratings, especially for a streaming service. Plus, Elisabeth Moss, who stars as the handmaid Offred, originally signed on to the series with a five to seven year contract, it turns out, and Atwood has not exactly been shy about revealing potential updates to the story since she signed on as the show’s consulting producer. When updating the novel’s audio book earlier this month, Atwood added a section suggesting that Offred may have resisted a bit more than she revealed in the book, which is formatted as a series of her accounts. She also went on to tell a crowd during an author Q&A that she has “made some fresh discoveries” about Offred, but is double- and triple-checking the material before publication—a process that should take “a year or two.”
At that point, barring impeachment, Donald Trump will still be president, and it seems fitting to continue the series through his less than endurable term.
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