The answer lies in the way we now consume TVby Caroline Crampton / November 30, 2018 / Leave a comment
Margaret Atwood has revealed that she has written a sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, which will be published in September 2019. The Testaments is set 15 years after her original dystopian work from 1985, and will be narrated by three as-yet unidentified female characters. “Everything you’ve ever asked me about Gilead and its inner workings is the inspiration for this book. Well, almost everything! The other inspiration is the world we’ve been living in,” the author said as the news was announced.
When I saw this, I grimaced. Of course The Handmaid’s Tale is getting a sequel. It doesn’t matter that the original book has one of the most perfectly ambiguous endings in modern fiction, and to fill in details of what happens after would be to completely diffuse its tension.
In the past couple of years, you see, Atwood’s sci fi novel set in a theocratic, anti-feminist future has been turned into a popular and award-winning TV drama (which has now departed from her original text in its second season, turning into what some critics have called torture porn). The author has been giving lots of interviewsin the last few months about what her original novel can tell us about the #MeToo era, and how the story was always about structural gender inequality taken to extremes—just like we can observe in the world today. The handmaid’s distinctive red robes and white bonnet has even become a popular costume for protests. Naturally, the flames of all of this global attention and visibility have to be stoked with a sequel.
Gilead isn’t the only fictional world to be getting new instalments. These days, there are sequels, prequels, and reboots as far as the eye can see, and updating existing worlds like this doesn’t always go well.
On the same day that Atwood’s news was announced, it was revealedthat Netflix are making a live action version of the 1990s Japanese anime series Cowboy Bebop. Gilmore Girls, Will & Grace, Charmed, DuckTales, Dynasty, Heathers, Miami Vice, Queer Eye, Roseanne, She’s Gotta Have It—these are all TV reboots that have either come back on to our screens recently or…