Are Any Characters From Hulu’s ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ in ‘The Testaments’?

The Handmaid's Tale The Testaments
Ann Dowd plays Aunt Lydia in ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ | Phillip Faraone/WireImage

Margaret Atwood’s sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale came out on Sept. 10, 2019. The novel is called The Testaments and takes place 15 years after the ending of The Handmaid’s Tale. While there are differences from the TV show, Atwood incorporated some story lines from Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale into the book. For those who have not read The Testaments, spoilers for the book follow.

Some characters from ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ are not in ‘The Testaments’

The Hulu adaption of The Handmaid’s Tale deviated from the source material with some characters. In Atwood’s novel, Emily dies and June never sees Moira again. However, in the TV show, Emily and Moira both escape to Canada.

The epilogue of The Handmaid’s Tale also reveals Fred Waterford dies before Gilead falls. In The Testaments, Atwood does not reference Fred Waterford, Serena Joy Waterford, Moira, or Emily. Because most of them were dead by the end of Atwood’s novel, they are not in The Testaments.

One major character from ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ is in ‘The Testaments’

The Testaments has three narrators. All of the narrators in The Testaments share a connection to June and appear in Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale. One of those narrators is someone viewers of The Handmaid’s Tale are very familiar with, Aunt Lydia.

Fans of the TV show might be shocked by Aunt Lydia in The Testaments. Instead of being a true believer in Gilead, Aunt Lydia is actually working to try and take down Gilead from the inside. Aunt Lydia also has a different backstory and was a judge in The Testaments instead of a teacher like she was in the TV show.

All of the narrators have a connection to June

The other two narrators are June’s two daughters. In Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale, June’s daughter Hannah is taken from her and a family in Gilead renames her Agnes. Atwood used this storyline in The Testaments and Hannah is called Agnes in the book.

Atwood also incorporated the storyline of June’s second daughter into The Testaments. The third narrator in The Testaments is June’s daughter with Nick. Like with Aunt Lydia, there are several differences with the character in the book versus the TV show.

In The Handmaid’s Tale, June and Nick name their daughter Holly but she goes by Nichole. June’s husband, Luke, and Moira adopt her. In The Testaments, her daughter’s real name is Nicole but she goes by Daisy. She is not adopted by Luke and Moira and instead adopted by a couple in Canada.

June appears at the end of ‘The Testaments’

One of the biggest cliffhangers in Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale was June’s fate. After she enters a van at the end of the novel, readers do not know what happens to her. The epilogue acknowledges June at least escaped long enough to record voice tapes about her story, but does not confirm if June escaped Gilead.

In Hulu’s adaption of The Handmaid’s Tale, June has multiple escape attempts but ultimately decides to stay in Gilead to join the resistance at the end of the second season. The Testaments seems to take after June’s storyline in the show. In the book, June goes underground with the resistance. Nick is also mentioned to be underground, while Luke is a Mayday agent.

At the end of The Testaments, June reunites with her two daughters. It is also revealed that Nicole and Agnes reunite with their two birth fathers, meaning Luke and Nick live as well.