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It's been 25 years since I read it, but upon reviewing the plot summary for The Handmaid's Tale in Wikipedia:

The Handmaid's Tale is structured into two parts, night and other various events. This novel can be interpreted as a double narrative, Offred's tale and the handmaids' tales. The night sections are solely about Offred, and the other sections (shopping, waiting room, household, etc.) are the stories that describe the possible life of every handmaid, though from the perspective of Offred. In many of these sections, Offred jumps between past and present as she retells the events leading up to the fall of women's rights and the current details of the life which she now lives.

It seems like all the source material may have been used in the first season of the 2017 television production.

Are there any remaining plot points in the novel that remain to be revealed in season 2 and beyond? Or must the continuing series rely on extrapolations from the worldbuilding?

I should add, the novel contains an epilogue from the far future that purports to look back on the historical context of Gilead and touches on what happened later sociopolitically. It's very light, but it does reason about how Offred's story was recorded and became available to the world of the future (i.e. on cassette). I can assume that this might eventually come to pass in the TV series, but I'm asking about the primary timeline and its flashbacks, not what is inferred in the epilogue.

  • I haven't seen the series, but I will say I'm rereading the book right now and it's even better (and more Atwoodian) than I remembered! If you can possibly slot it into your reading schedule it's very worth it. :) – MissMonicaE May 9 '18 at 18:52
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The following interviews with Bruce Miller, the show runner, seem to imply that they've used the major plot points though they may delve deeper into some small points in the book.

Your ending of this season is the same ending as the book.

I thought it was a perfect season-ender for a TV show — the beautiful, dramatic moment of her getting in the van. It’s a frustrating end to a novel, but that’s part of the appeal. It makes you even more invested to know more. And a TV show can end one chapter and start another. Everybody says, “You got to the end of the book!” And I’m like, “No, there’s still a whole bunch of stuff we didn’t even touch.” I read the book a lot. I pick out clues here and there, not so much to alter it, but to say, “O.K., let’s logically extrapolate it.” And that’s where Margaret Atwood has come in so essentially to our conversation. It’s like when you meet the other lunatics who are inpatients at the same asylum you are — the only other people who care about it as much as you do and have gone so deep into thinking about one sentence of the book!

The New York Times, 'The Handmaid’s Tale’ Showrunner Bruce Miller on the Season 1 Finale

In another interview he states that he'll be working with Margaret Atwood closely and also using the epilogue you mention to extrapolate some of the detail of the plot for season 2.

So she'll have input into these storylines?

Of course. Margaret and I talked a lot about season two, even at the beginning of season one when I was talking to her and kind of getting a sense of what she thought of what I was doing, you inevitably have conversations about what might happen next. They're all tied together. So yes, we have had and continue to have extensive, deep and really fun discussions about what would happen in the future, what happens next.

Given that the source material has now ended, is there more collaboration between you two in the second season?

There's more collaboration for a couple of reasons; one is that we don't have a text that was written stating specifically what happens next (although we have a sense of some of the things that might happen next because of the "historical notes" section that takes place after the conclusion of the Offred story). So through that you get a little bit of a sense, but absolutely. We had a working relationship so we've been working much more closely and having those discussions for longer.

The Hollywood Reporter, 'The Handmaid's Tale' Boss Talks Finale and Going Beyond the Book in Season 2

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  • 1
    Wow, this is a more complete answer than I was expecting! – ThePopMachine May 9 '18 at 16:51

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