- Handmaid's Tale -Could 'The Handmaid's Tale' Epilogue Get A Spinoff? The Showrunner Weighs In
We've talked to Handmaid's Tale showrunner Bruce Miller about the Sesaon 4 finale, his predictions for Season 5, what might come in a Testaments spinoff, and here, in the final part of our four-part interview, Miller and I discuss something very close to Handmaid's Tale fans' hearts: the epilogue.
Could it be used as source material? What would be Miller's plan?
Below, we dissect that, plus, a check-in on how salvage some storyline is that wasn't filmed due to COVID.
Another piece of Margaret Atwood’s work that is still available to use, should you wish to jump forward in time, is the historical notes epilogue. That passage is so intriguing, because we see how Gilead has not been judged by history, because people think it’s better to stay neutral and enjoy it as entertainment and cosplay, Kylie Jenner-style.
And I wonder how, given what’s happened over the past year, and especially the January 6 insurrection, which has its echoes in the Sons of Jacob overthrowing America, what good it does to refrain from passing moral judgment? Who does neutrality really serve?
Exactly. They’re like, “Let’s not be too harsh. Don’t judge them.” I’m like, “I’m judging them!” What is neutrality? What does neutrality offer you? What is the upside?
There are two things about that epilogue. First, it’s such a delicious meal for me as a writer and a creator to know those pieces of backstory, that the way those people talk tells me so much about the time. I love them whether we’re going to dramatize them beyond dramatizing the events as mentioned. To jump forward a couple hundred years, I would have to think about. It’s part of the reason I love the show so much that the show is today, not yesterday, and to jump forward into a future and have them look back? It’s a question, honestly.
There’s an aspect of it that makes me think you and I are that. That’s what we’re doing now. So we don’t need that TV show; the audience is that. It’s fascinating stuff. I just love the minutia of the academia-ness of it, that it’s turned from this huge world that destroyed and shattered so many lives, and here it is, just kind of a niche academic subject.
Unfortunately, The Handmaid’s Tale has been prescient and timely. I would much prefer to do a show that everybody said, “Oh, that would never happen.” It’s awful to come up with the worst things that you can imagine, and then see them in the news. It’s not a fun feeling. But I do relish the opportunity to have at least a different kind of conversation about the same things that are happening, such as the laws that are being passed that control women’s autonomy. It’s a lot hard to talk about a law than to talk about June or Janine or those people. I think we’ve always been focused on our own version of January 6th, the Gileadan takeover, and the world unfortunately caught up to us.
You had to scrap some storylines this season because of COVID. Some actors couldn’t get to Canada during the pandemic. Are any of those storylines salvageable? Or are they just gone forever?
Both. They’re gone forever in the state that they were in before, because you can’t just reinsert a storyline. It has to come out of where everybody is, and for some, that ship has sailed. But we were able to cover more of the same distance. I was worried about Moira and Oona’s relationship, and we’re not going to go back and show more about what would have happened had there not been a pandemic, but we will be able to go forward.
I’m also learning to appreciate my guest stars even more, and how much effort they put in to come to the show. They have a lot of other work they could be doing, and then they travel and leave their families and everything. I’ll definitely be more mindful of how I use them, and also have them do more substantial work when they do come, which means heavier storylines for those people. The fact that I wasn’t able to do those stories makes me appreciate how much I love those stories.
We just had our first writers meeting this morning, so we’re moving on.