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How Many Seasons of The Handmaid's Tale Will There Be?

If This Showrunner Has His Way, The Handmaid's Tale Will Be on TV For a LONG Time

THE HANDMAID'S TALE, l-r: Yvonne Strahovski, Joseph Fiennes in 'Holly' (Season 2, Episode 11, aired June 27, 2018).  Hulu/courtesy Everett Collection

With each passing day, we grow more and more anxious for the return of The Handmaid's Tale. Not that we really want to go back to a vile and horrifying place like Gilead, but at this point, we're so invested in June's story, we need to know what happens next! Luckily, the past couple of weeks have provided us with tiny tidbits about what's to come. In addition to the handful of details we do have about season three, we also caught wind of some mysterious casting news that should prove to be very interesting as we venture further into the unknown. And speaking of the "unknown," did you know that the creative minds behind the show are technically still pulling from the source material?

Now, you may well know that the big ending in the book is similar to the end of season one. Many fans have taken that to mean that the show is more or less venturing into the great, wide unknown, but readers of the book know there's an epilogue that launches us 200 years into the future from the moment the book ends. Last year, in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, showrunner Bruce Miller made that exact point. "People talk about how we're beyond the book, but we're not really. The book starts, then jumps 200 years with an academic discussion at the end of it, about what's happened in those intervening 200 years," Miller said at the time. "It's maybe handled in an outline, but it's still there in Margaret's novel. We're not going beyond the novel; we're just covering territory she covered quickly, a bit more slowly."

THE HANDMAID'S TALE, l-r: Nina Kiri, Elisabeth Moss in 'Other Women' (Season 2, Episode 4, aired May 9, 2018). ph: George Kraychyk/ Hulu/courtesy Everett Collection

So, there you have it! The show's story is still very much in line with Maragaret Atwood's original vision. In fact, the book is so ripe with material (blessed be the fruit), Miller has outlined quite a bit more story! "I roughed it out to about 10 seasons when I was first working on it," he said. "My arc is still very much the arc of the novel, which is the arc of this one woman's experience in Gilead at this time, and her recollections that paint this picture of what it was like and what the experience of this world was like, which really is still the book."

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Yeah, that's right, 10 seasons! As for what they may contain? "I see a world beyond [the current one]. I would watch an episode about the Nuremberg trials after Gilead falls," Miller said. "There are lots of worlds you think of. I would love that season — seasons eight, nine, or 10, where everything has changed so much."

Then there's one other major thing to consider: the fact that Margaret Atwood has written a sequel, called The Testaments, that will drop later this year. The story takes place 15 years after the events of The Handmaid's Tale, meaning it will likely overlap with whatever goes down in the TV series. Luckily, this is more of an exciting revelation than anything else, because Atwood has been quite involved in the show from the get-go.

"She plays a huge role. She's the mother of us all," Miller said. "Usually when you adapt a classic book, you're not lucky enough to have the author around. We are very lucky to not just have her around, but very much energetic and involved. She was in the writers' room very early in the season. We've been talking throughout, and she's been reading everything. She's very involved." This means that the two stories must share some kind of relationship, right? Some of the things Atwood has discussed with Miller have surely ended up in the upcoming sequel. And, conversely, we're hoping some of Atwood's expert prose is woven back into the show.

We officially can't wait for season three. And season four. And season nine. And season 10.

Correction: An earlier version of this article identified Bruce Miller as Frank Miller, and has been updated.

Image Source: Everett Collection
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