Ann Dowd Reveals Her Feelings About Her Character’s Unlikely Role in ‘The Testaments’

Ann Dowd, who plays Aunt Lydia on Hulu’s hit series The Handmaid’s Tale, recently opened up about her new role in The Testaments. Her character now has a backstory after season 3 of The Handmaid’s Tale. Fans were able to see Aunt Lydia before the time of Gilead.

In Margaret Atwood’s new novel, Dowd voices Aunt Lydia in the audiobook. She is helping to tell the story of the sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale. There are spoilers ahead for The Testaments and the upcoming season of The Handmaid’s Tale.

‘The Testaments’ reveals new information on Aunt Lydia

Ann Dowd
Ann Dowd | Erik Voake/Getty Images for Hulu

Atwood’s new novel, The Testaments, has just been released this month and is set to make its way to our screens at home. Aunt Lydia, who is known to be both cruel and caring in her own way, is going to be revealed as the important key strategist to the downfall of the heinous Gilead.

The Testaments picks things up 15 years after events in the first novel of The Handmaid’s Tale. Three women are narrating the story: Daisy is a girl in Toronto (Offred’s daughter Nicole), Agnes (Offred’s daughter Hannah), who is the daughter of a commander in Gilead, and Aunt Lydia herself.

Ann Dowd talks about her thoughts on Aunt Lydia

Ann Dowd
Ann Dowd | Dan MacMedan/Getty Images

Dowd spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about her character’s role in the novel and what’s to come for Aunt Lydia. Dowd was thrilled when she first read the novel. “I was thrilled — let’s get real on that — by what Aunt Lydia does and how she does it, her understanding of Gilead to its core and what will bring it down,” Dowd explains.

Dowd will change the way she plays her character in the future

Ann Dowd
Ann Dowd | Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images

Dowd also revealed that Lydia in The Handmaid’s Tale isn’t that different from her character in The Testaments. Moving forward, new information on Aunt Lydia will change the way she portrays her in the future.

“We’re left, at the end of [The Handmaid’s Tale] season three, with many of the young girls gone from Gilead; our finest, most pure resource has been taken, and Lydia should have caught it, in her opinion,” Dowd says. “So when something of this level occurs she’s going to do a lot of thinking and a lot of self-reflection. I think her perspective shifts and begins to shift in a subtle but significant way about what the future could hold here and how she is going to participate.”

Ann Dowd says ‘I better be’ involved in the adaptation of the new novel

Ann Dowd
Ann Dowd | Jim Spellman/WireImage

Dowd was also asked if she will be playing Aunt Lydia in the upcoming Hulu and MGM adaptation of the new material. “Well, I better be is all I have to say,” Dowd says. “I don’t know, no one has said [so], but I’ll track them right down, is what I’ll do, and I’ll confront as only Lydia can do.”

How will the new novel change the story?

It’s not yet clear how the new novel will change the outcome of the next season since season 4 has already been renewed. The first season of the series was in fact based on Atwood’s best-selling novel. Seasons 2 and 3 were created by the directors, while Atwood was a producer on the series and helped in the writing process of some episodes, presumably to keep track of her characters. Atwood was writing her new novel during this time as well.

What will happen in season 4 of ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’?

Season 3 left fans reeling from that cliffhanger of June (Elisabeth Moss) getting shot. She will most likely survive her wounds, especially if the sequel novel is anything to go on, and it certainly is. She will eventually find her way out of Gilead, and the sooner the better. It would be nice to see June finally escape the chains that bind her to Gilead in season 4.

Fans are anxiously waiting to see how this new novel will change the story of Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale. The fourth season is likely to arrive sometime next year.