Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale gets a second season, marking it the streaming service’s most successful show to date…but where will they pull material from?
Our recap of Episode 4 of The Handmaid’s Tale will be up tomorrow, giving everyone a chance to watch today. But for those who haven’t seen the episode yet, please note: one week into the show’s run on Hulu, they have announced a second season will follow.
This is extremely interesting, as most people assumed The Handmaid’s Tale, being a single slender book, was more of a prestige one-off show than an ongoing series, making it different than say Game of Thrones or American Gods. As a one-off, it would be more like 2015’s Wolf Hall, or Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, a beautifully produced and expensive looking show that had no sequel.
But the series’ reviews have been astronomical, and no fledging streaming service is going to kill their Golden Goose just because they ran out of material. And make no mistake–as of right now, it looks very much like the first season of Handmaid will cover the entire book.
Now perhaps this is a fake out, and this is not proof that this season will end with Offred being carted away into darkness and gods only know what, as the book ends. Perhaps the show will end before that, giving a second season time to plot out more horrors of the future.
But Atwood has been hinting quite heavily in the last month that she might be open to writing a sequel–especially when you take into account the new material that was released in the audiobook. This suggests she knew Hulu was working on getting a second season approved, and that she doesn’t have the material pre-written for it. Not that that matters–after all Game of Thrones came to the end of the pre-written material and chugged along quite nicely after passing the end of the book. Now the showrunners are merely following the major plot points Martin has given them, and filling in the rest as they see fit–much like they’ve already done with Ofglen’s story.
Atwood could easily follow this model as well. Or, if she’s quick enough about it, write a sequel 32 years later, following the same format as The Handmaid’s Tale (which is deliberately named like a Chaucer tale from the middle ages.) Perhaps The Martha’s Tale, or The Jezebel’s Tale, with a release date that coincides with Hulu’s season 2 schedule?
We’ll have to see as the Hulu adaptation unfolds.