The Handmaid’s Tale has been out on Hulu for exactly one week. In that time, the adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s novel of the same name has taken audiences on a harrowing journey into a dystopian nightmare. Think pieces have abounded and social media has been rife with half-joking correlations between current political events and those that precede the rise of Gilead in the world Atwood created. But with only three episodes out so far, few suspected Hulu would capitalize on the show’s popularity so quickly to confirm a second season. But that’s just what the streaming service has done.
According to Variety, Hulu announced during their upfront panel today that The Handmaid’s Tale was the streaming service’s most watched series premiere ever. Combined with the overall critical praise for the show, Hulu has pulled the trigger and ordered another season of the terrifying land of Gilead. Season 2 will premiere in September of 2018. Hulu’s SVP and head of content, Craig Erwich, was pleased to break the news:
“‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ is exactly the type of gripping and thought-provoking storytelling we want to bring to viewers. We can’t wait to explore the world of Gilead and continue Margaret’s vision with another season on Hulu.”
I was a little surprised to see The Handmaid’s Tale picked up for another season. So far, the show has been pacing well with Atwood’s novel and I assumed it would be a self-contained series, one that ended where Offred’s story ends in the source material. Perhaps with a little epilogue. But now I’m excited. The Handmaid’s Tale is a world rich with characters and conflict. Yet — due to the nature of Atwood’s narrative — readers wear the same blinders of Offred, forced to know only what she knows. The show has already expanded on this by showing audiences the inner lives of Janine/Ofwarren and Emily/Ofglen. A second season would only further pry open the machinations that keep Gilead running.
WARNING: SPOILERS FROM THE HANDMAID’S TALE NOVEL BEYOND THIS POINT.
The epilogue of The Handmaid’s Tale takes readers into the far future, one where Gilead is but a memory, a blip on the historical radar to be studied by professors, college students, and historians. Atwood offers no closure to Offred’s tale. Readers have no idea if she lives or dies, much less if she ever found her daughter again. Readers are also left with only the vaguest idea of how the former United States was mapped out in the Age of Gilead and where the war was still raging. We do know Gilead underwent several hemorrhages in the upper echelons of power and many Commanders were deposed and replaced in an ever-escalating attempt to keep power. A second season of The Handmaid’s Tale could move those dry pieces of epilogue into the technicolor horror of present tense. The series will never be easy to watch — which is the point — but with Atwood on board, hopefully it remains as riveting as the freshmen season has been so far.