As viewers gear up to watch the season 4 finale of Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale, a fifth installment has already been confirmed. The cast, led by Elisabeth Moss, starred in an Instagram video to announced the good news in December 2020—a full five months before the season 4 release, which was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Emmy-winning series, created by Bruce Miller and based on Margaret Atwood’s novel of the same name, premiered its 10-episode fourth season on April 28. It’s unclear how many episodes the fifth season will contain, but the cast and crew are eager to get started. “We’re very grateful to Hulu and MGM that the show will be returning for a fifth season, and especially to our loyal fans for their support,” Miller said in a statement, per The Hollywood Reporter. “We are thrilled to be able to continue to tell these stories, with our incredible cast and crew.”
Here’s everything we know about the show’s return and what the showrunner has said about season 5 and beyond.
The Handmaid’s Tale was renewed for season 5 in December 2020.
On December 10, Moss was joined by several of her Handmaid’s Tale cast members to announce that season 4 filming had resumed and season 5 was on the way:
Season 4 coming to you in 2021 and… we have been renewed for a season 5!!! Thank you to all of the fans of the show who make it possible for us to keep working on this show that we love so dearly. We’re hard at work now bringing you season 4, literally I’m on set as we speak… just can’t tell you WHAT set you’ll have to tune in for that 😉😈💃🏼
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The fifth season will most likely follow June as she continues her fight against the Gilead regime and works to get her daughter Hannah to safety.
Most of the cast is expected to return.
It’s safe to assume that most of the ensemble will be back, including Moss, Joseph Fiennes as Fred Waterford, Yvonne Strahovski as Serena Joy Waterford, Alexis Bledel as Emily, 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, who was promoted to series regular for season 4, as Mark Tuello.
Other season 4 cast additions included Mckenna Grace (The Haunting of Hill House) as Mrs. Keyes, a wife-turned-Handmaid, and Zawe Ashton (Velvet Buzzsaw) as Moira’s girlfriend, Oona.
Elisabeth Moss will likely direct a few episodes.
The series’ star directed episodes 3, 8, and 9 of season 4, and Miller told THR, “This is not going to be the last time she directs.”
There’s no release date yet.
The premiere date for season 5 of The Handmaid’s Tale has not been unveiled, but with season 4 premiering in April 2021, a 2022 release season 5 could happen.
Season 5 may not be the last.
As for how far into the future The Handmaid’s Tale will, showrunner Bruce Miller hasn’t decided. He told THR in December 2020 that he had “very different ideas” about the show’s timeline before the pandemic but has since changed his mind. “I do feel like after this year, it’s a good time to reassess,” he said. “So I know where I am in the story, and I do feel like we’re kind of 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.”
Then, during a panel in February 2021, Miller said that he would continue as long as his star actress, Moss, was involved. “Every time I come upon a season, I don’t know what we’re going to do,” he said. “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 later clarified to THR, saying, “When I said that I’ll do the show as long as Lizzie wants to do it, that is born of the pandemic and born of the work she’s done this year. She deserves to have me there writing for her as long as she wants. She earned that this year. I will write beautiful words for her to say for as long as she wants to say them.”
Future seasons may be TBD, but a Handmaid’s-related spinoff is confirmed. Hulu has secured the rights to Atwood’s 2019 sequel novel, The Testaments. Miller admitted to THR that “production difficulties” amid quarantine had impacted the project, but that it was still in the works. “I mean, you’re kind of already laying the groundwork for The Testaments [on The Handmaid’s Tale], because now I know a little bit about more in the future than I knew before,” he told the outlet.
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