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Handmaid’s Tale fans, this map changes everything we thought we knew about Gilead

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Kayleigh Dray
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Handmaid’s Tale fans, this map changes everything we thought we knew about Gilead

Resistance knows no borders, according to this new image from the creators of The Handmaid’s Tale.

We finally know when to mark our calendars: the third season of The Handmaid’s Tale will premiere on the 5 June 2019. And, as we learned from the explosive season three trailer, June (Elisabeth Moss) and Serena Joy (Yvonne Strahovski) are poised and ready to launch the resistance from within the concrete walls of Gilead.

However, the official @HandmaidsonHulu account has now released a new map of Gilead – and it’s completely changed the way we think about the show.

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Based on real-life events and Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel of the same name, the last two seasons of The Handmaid’s Tale have presented us a world that is, disturbingly, not so dissimilar from our own. And that makes perfect sense, to be honest: Gilead is, essentially, a near-future version of North America in which the Constitution has been overthrown, women’s rights and identities have been stripped away, and fertile women have been rounded up, red tagged, and forced into a life of sexual servitude and surrogacy. Not such a leap of the imagination, especially when you consider the ongoing abortion debates in America and Northern Ireland.

In the first season, we assumed that the entire world was following the same prescriptive rules laid down by Gilead’s commanders – until episode six, ‘A Woman’s Place’, when Ambassador Castillo (Zabryna Guevara) led a delegation of Mexican diplomats in an official visit to the Republic of Gilead. Mexico, we learned then, remained entirely separate from the red cloaks and blue habits of the USA – although Castillo implied that this would not be the case for long: her delegates were desperate to begin trading fertile women as a commodity, because a live child hadn’t been born in Mexico for the past six years.

Still, though, it seemed Gilead was not as big as we first thought – and we soon learned that Canada was separate from the totalitarian state, too.

So just how big is it really?

Not that big at all, apparently: June and her fellow handmaids have been living in something of an echo box, with Gileadean rhetoric being shouted at them as loud as possible. But it doesn’t change the fact that only a very small part of the country formerly known as the USA remains loyal to the Republic of Gilead.

And, even within that small blue space on the map, some areas have been occupied by rebels.

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Surrounded by wastelands, conflicts and growing rebel forces, it seems as if Gilead is well and truly on the ropes in the third season of The Handmaid’s Tale.

Which puts June in a VERY good position to change things… and for the better, too.

“If I’m going to change things, I’m going to need allies,” June says in the trailer. “Allies with power.”

“As Mrs Waterford, you have influence,” June says to Serena.

“Up to a point,” Serena replies.

“So move the point.”

It’s welcome news to fans of the dystopic drama, who previously lamented June’s decision to remain in Gilead rather than escape across the border into Canada when given the chance.

But, as showrunner Bruce Miller previously explained: “June is diving back into Gilead because she thinks there’s things she can do. And I think initially, the thing she thinks she can do is just get her f**king daughter out.”

He added: “If she could snap her fingers and get Hannah and leave, she would do it immediately. If that becomes more difficult - which, it seems to be somewhere between difficult and impossible in the real world - then I think hurting Gilead or weakening Gilead is the best way she can plow the ground for her daughter.

“That’s the thing she can do from the inside that she wouldn’t be able to do from Canada.”

Essentially, June will get Hannah back or die trying, Miller said.

“You and I are both worried she’s gonna die; she’s not.”

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The making of The Handmaid’s Tale

Three full episodes of The Handmaid’s Tale will drop on Hulu’s streaming platform on 5 June, followed by one new episode every Wednesday. In the UK, Channel 4 started airing season two just a few weeks after the US, so a similar slot should be expected for the new season in 2019.

Image: Hulu

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is editor of Stylist.co.uk, where she chases after rogue apostrophes and specialises in films, comic books, feminism and television. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends. 

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