AUNT Lydia is facing a “massive catastrophe” in season 4 of The Handmaid’s Tale.
The violent character could be served a dose of her own sadistic medicine as she becomes the focus of the forthcoming series, due to air next year.
And her future has already been written in Margaret Attwood’s sequel novel The Testament, published on Tuesday.
Fans saw Aunt Lydia, played by actress Ann Dowd, take a more central role on screen in season 3 of the Hulu series.
They discovered the Handmaid oppressor had been a lonely lawyer and then a primary school teacher in her former life before becoming a government-trained Aunt.
She adopts the radical views of the patriarchal regime after an embarrassing sexual rejection turns her bitter.
And the first three seasons of the show sees the overpowering Aunt dish out punishment after punishment to lead character and Gilead troublemaker June Osborne.
The second book has now laid out a future for Aunt Lydia and June’s two daughters, Nichole and Agnes Jemima.
Set 15 years after the first novel, The Testament, released yesterday, is told from the three women’s perspectives.
Aunt Lydia is set to be a weary older woman who is full of anger over being unable to stop June from helping kids to escape Gilead.
MGM and Hulu are currently adapting the novel for TV and Dowd was one of the first people to read it because she voiced the audio book.
Speaking about its impact on her portrayal of Aunt Lydia, Dowd told TIME magazine: “It gives a clear indication from the creator of this story of where she will end up and what will happen.
“And that affects the approach in terms of where her mind is going. She’s very savvy, very much a player and knows the politics.
“She’s always thinking, always planning, always assessing. In the end of the last season, you know we’re in trouble, because how many of those young girls got out?
“That is a massive, massive catastrophe, and the fact that Lydia was not onto it in a meaningful way — she’s got some work to do.”
The actress also admitted it was a thrill to find out where the character ends up.
She explained to Stylist magazine: “When you play a character, you often think, ‘I wonder what happens in the future? I wonder where she will go?’, but most of the time you don’t know.
“The book ends, the script is finished, the series is over. So to get a glimpse into where this character goes was a particular thrill.”
Season three ended last week with the Waterfords escaping to Canada, only to be captured by authorities.
It turned out Serena has engineered their arrest as part of a deal with the Canadian police in exchange for her being released so she could be with Nichole.
But in a twist, Fred stabbed her in the back by revealing her own wrongdoings and she now faces being tried as a war criminal.
Meanwhile, June orchestrated getting a planeload of children out of Gilead to the safety of Canada, but her own fate was left up in the air.
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Fans have long been fascinated by Commander Fred Waterford and June’s (Elisabeth Moss) ever-shifting dynamic.
In a new interview, Joseph explained his alter ego’s fascination with his former handmaid.
“Offred [June’s former handmaid name] is the epitome of fertility,” says Joseph, 49. “And I think subconsciously he’s attracted to that.”
Joseph went on to discuss how Fred’s fertility struggles with his wife Serena, played by Yvonne Strahovski, only fuelled his attraction to June.
“He can’t have [kids] with his wife,” the actor added. “And also, that lack of fertility, which actually is not her fault, it’s the Commander’s fault, that brings the disconnect in their relationship.”
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