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25 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Until Right Now

5. Moira, played by Samira Wiley, is actually white in the novel.

Despite Samira Wiley playing Moira on the TV series, in Atwood’s novel, Moira is white. This is due to the detail in the novel where all of the commanders and leaders of Gilead send the people of color away. However, the producers didn’t like this for the series. Miller didn’t think it was fair. 

Also, honestly, what’s the difference between making a TV show about racists and making a racist TV show? Why would we be covering [Offred’s story], rather than telling the story of the people of color who got sent off to Nebraska?

4. The title of the novel and the show is paying tribute to another famous novel.

Atwood claims the original title of the novel was simply: Offred. However, she changed it to honor Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. 

At some time during the writing, the novel’s name changed to The Handmaid’s Tale, partly in honor of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, but partly also in reference to fairy tales and folk tales: the story told by the central character partakes—for later or remote listeners—of the unbelievable, the fantastic, as do the stories told by those who have survived earth-shattering events.

3. The novel was also turned into a film.

An unsuccessful film, at that. In 1990, The Handmaid’s Tale was a box office flop.

2. The show’s writers claim they use nothing from the news.

The show’s creators and producers say that they use nothing in real-life to tie into the show. Elisabeth Moss said:

The writers don’t see things in the headlines and then write them in our show. But there is, obviously, a reason why this show is so relevant — because it is about us, as humans, and what we are going through, in the world, not just in America.

1. However, the actors take the current political climate very seriously.

Despite the show having nothing to do with what is actually going on in America, the show’s actors claim that they feel as though they have a responsibility to be a part of this bigger movement. Wiley said:

Coming back to the show [after the election], it was. . . ‘Oh my gosh, we have an even bigger responsibility now.’ To have this show be excellent, have it have all the integrity it should have.