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Margaret Atwood’s ‘The Testaments’ in Development With MGM and Hulu

Both companies are in talks with "The Handmaid's Tale" showrunner Bruce Miller on how to best adapt the new novel.

"The Handmaid's Tale"

“The Handmaid’s Tale”

George Kraychyk/Hulu

In unsurprising, but not unwelcome news, MGM and Hulu have announced plans to develop “The Testaments,” Margaret Atwood’s newly-penned sequel to her 1985 dystopian classic “The Handmaid’s Tale.”

The news comes just six weeks after Hulu announced it had picked up “The Handmaid’s Tale” for a fourth season, further extending the legacy of the series which, in 2017 for its first season, became the first streaming show to win a best series Primetime Emmy Award.

“Margaret Atwood is a literary icon who continues to delight and challenge readers through her provocative and compelling prose,” said Steve Stark, President of Television Production at MGM. “She has been an incredible creative partner and resource to MGM throughout the production of ‘Handmaid’s’ and we look forward to working with her on the story’s exciting next chapter.”

Scheduled for publication on Sept. 10, “The Testaments” picks up 15 years after the conclusion of “The Handmaid’s Tale” and trades in the singular narrative of Offred — better known as June to TV fans — for the testaments of three narrators, all women living in Gilead.

“Dear Readers: Everything you’ve ever asked me about Gilead and its inner workings is the inspiration for this book,” Atwood wrote in a statement on the Penguin Random House website for the novel. “Well, almost everything! The other inspiration is the world we’ve been living in.”The MGM and Hulu partnership has yet to define how it plans to adapt the latest installment in the “Handmaid’s” saga, but are currently in talks with series showrunner Bruce Miller on ways the material can serve as an extension to the show’s universe. Whether that’s in the form of additional seasons or an entirely separate series remains to be seen.

“Margaret Atwood is one of the visionary storytellers of her generation. From her award-winning poetry, short-stories and novels, Margaret has continually pushed boundaries and broken barriers to bring innovative stories to life,” said Craig Erwich, Senior Vice President of Originals, Hulu.

At the Television Critics Assn. Summer Press Tour in July, Erwich called the third season of “The Handmaid’s Tale” the “most successful season to date,” with a 40 percent increase in viewership over Season 2.

In whatever form it finds, “The Testaments” represents the third collaboration between Atwood and MGM Television. In addition to “The Handmaid’s Tale,” the studio acquired the rights to Atwood’s 2015 novel “The Heart Goes Last” in Sept. 2016. The novel focuses on a young couple hit by job loss and bankruptcy during a nationwide economic collapse.

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