June has come a long way since the first season of The Handmaid’s Tale. And now that Season 4 is behind us, it’s time to start counting the days until The Handmaid’s Tale Season 5 premieres on Hulu, when we finally find out what’s to come for June, her friends, and of course, Serena. Hulu has renewed the show for another season, and it likely won’t even be its last. Showrunner Bruce Miller told The Hollywood Reporter in 2020 that while the coronavirus pandemic was a good pause to think about the future of The Handmaid’s Tale and where to take it, he’s definitely carrying it on for as long as possible. He said, “Every time I come upon a season, I don’t know what we’re going to do. And every time we get to the end, I’m thrilled and feel like we could go on forever and ever. I’m so excited by how crazy the [Season 4] story is. As long as Lizzie [Moss] will do this with me, I’ll keep going.”
He added that he’s still unsure of how the show will end — when it eventually does. “So I know where I am in the story, and I do feel like we’re reaching kind of a pivot point, but whether that’s the end or not, I don’t know. It just feels like it’s a good time to reassess what you were thinking, just because the story world has opened up because the real world has changed so much,” Miller said.
With all of that in mind, here’s everything we know about The Handmaid’s Tale Season 5 — including the newly released, intense AF full trailer that will give you straight-up chills.
What is The Handmaid’s Tale Season 5 release date?
On June 13, Hulu revealed that the Emmy-winning dystopian series will return on Sept. 14, 2022. In addition to the release date, the streaming platform dropped two haunting first looks into the upcoming season: a photo of a very angry-looking June, and a picture of Serena smiling ever so slightly from beneath a funeral veil.
Is there a trailer yet?
Oh, is there ever! In fact, there are two. The teaser dropped on Jul. 13, and let’s just say the tension between June and Serena doesn’t just reach a boiling point; they reach a boiling-over point. See for yourself:
Then, on Aug. 24, just weeks shy of the series’ return, Hulu dropped the official full Season 5 trailer. And, yowza... there’s a lot going on, including June and Luke planning to storm Gilead. Serena, well, she seems to be in rare form even for her:
Who’s in The Handmaid’s Tale Season 5 cast?
Of course, Elisabeth Moss will return as June, along with most all of the other major cast members. That means Yvonne Strahovski as Serena Joy Waterford, Madeline Brewer as Janine, Ann Dowd as Aunt Lydia, O-T Fagbenle as Luke, Max Minghella as Nick, Samira Wiley as Moira, Bradley Whitford as Commander Lawrence, Amanda Brugel as Rita, and Sam Jaeger as Mark Tuello are all set to return.
Sadly, we’re losing one favorite member of the resistance: Emily. While we don’t know how the character’s storyline will be resolved, Alexis Bledel announced in a statement on May 27 that she will not be returning to the role: “After much thought, I felt I had to step away from The Handmaid’s Tale at this time. I am forever grateful to Bruce Miller for writing such truthful and resonant scenes for Emily, and to Hulu, MGM, the cast, and crew for their support.”
Some new additions to the cast will return, though, including McKenna Grace (Young Sheldon, Fuller House) as Esther Keyes and Zawe Ashton (Wanderlust, Greta) as Oona. Also, just because he’s dead and gone doesn’t mean that Joseph Fiennes won’t be returning for some flashback scenes to round out the story fully. Miller told Entertainment Weekly, “I think we’ll see Fred again. I mean, I would die if I didn’t see Joe [Fiennes] again. He’s the most lovely man, generous actor, such a professional. He is the nicest man stuck playing the most horrible person. I think at the end of every season, he shaves that beard off quite quickly. He’s an absolutely lovely man whose two adorable little daughters both call me sir. So he’s 100 percent in my book.”
Will this be the last season?
While nothing has officially been confirmed by show execs, Dowd (who plays Aunt Lydia) let it slip back in January that “there’s a season five and six.”
As Miller has hinted, he’s content to keep exploring the story as long as Moss stays involved. However, Jordan Helman, head of scripted originals at Hulu, suggested to Deadline that the end of The Handmaid’s Tale is intrinsically linked to a possibly Handmaid’s spinoff. “The conversation around The Testaments is tied to conversations around The Handmaid’s Tale. Margaret Atwood’s work has been an incredibly important brand signifier for us at Hulu, and so what we want to do is ensure that we introduce the world of The Testaments in a way that feels organic to the work that has already been done on the platform,” Helman explained. “The birth of The Testaments on Hulu and the eventual end of The Handmaid’s Tale are related; we’re figuring that out as we speak.”
Published in 2019, The Testaments is Atwood’s follow-up to the dystopian world of Gilead 15 years later as told through the lens of three women: a young girl named Agnes who refuses her parents’ insistence that she marry a powerful Commander; a Canadian girl named Daisy repulsed by the very idea of Gilead; and Aunt Lydia. Yep, Aunt Lydia.
Are there any Season 5 spoilers?
It’s hard to tell where Season 5 will take us. That said, fans didn’t get to see Serena’s reaction to her husband’s murder. Based on the trailers, we’ll watch her process that, know that June was behind it, and do everything in her power to try to punish June for it.
There’s also Gilead to contend with, though things will likely change given that Fred was already on the outs and spilling the beans. In any case, June’s journey will be front and center, as Miller told EW in the same interview: “The story moving forward is about the long fight, and how do you keep up energy, enthusiasm, sanity, all of those things, while you’re trying to fight for something that you may never see the end of, or you may never see the good from it? It may all be just for your children or your children’s children. How do you keep those fights worthy? So I think that for June, it’s the integration of June the warrior and Offred the warrior, into June the mother and Offred the mother.”
For Season 5, you should also be on the lookout for Genevieve Angelson, who will play Mrs. Wheeler, a tyrant who is not only the push behind the rise of the Gilead in Toronto but someone who is obsessed with Serena. The New Amsterdam and This Is Us actress expressed her excitement on Twitter this week: She wrote, "Blessed be the project reveal," accompanied by a picture of herself in costume.
Another potentially interesting development? In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Dowd (aka Aunt Lydia) hinted that there are big changes on the horizon for the militant matriarch figure. “There are a lot of ways that Lydia is shifting, and they’re powerful,” she said.
Come Sept. 14, it’s sure to be as wild a ride — as always.
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