Spoilers ahead for The Handmaid’s Tale Season 4, episodes 1 through 10 and the novel The Testaments. This season, June made it out of Boston to the wild frontiers of Gilead, then into war-torn Chicago and finally back out again, reaching Canada’s peaceful shores only to return herself to No Man’s Land. In the Season 4 finale of The Handmaid’s Tale, she leads a band of former Handmaids and other hostages of Gilead in exacting vigilante justice on Commander Fred Waterford. But it was hard to watch the barbaric murder and think of justice, only the disastrous ramifications this surely holds for June. In the early hours of the following day, she holds baby Nichole close and begs Luke for five more minutes. He sinks to the floor realizing that June can either flee now or stay and face punishment. At least this time, she gets to give her husband and daughter a proper goodbye.
But it’s not goodbye for good, at least as far as more episodes of the show are concerned. The Handmaid’s Tale has already been renewed for Season 5, the cast announced on the show’s official Instagram in December 2020. Here’s everything else we know about the next season.
When Will The Handmaid’s Tale Season 5 Premiere?
There’s no set timeline for when the series will begin airing. The first three seasons of the show all debuted about one year apart from each other, starting in April 2017. Season 4, however, debuted almost two years after Season 3. Of course, production of the most recent season was severely delayed by the pandemic, so it’s possible the show will return to its annual schedule. If that’s the case, we could expect a new season as early as Spring 2022.
Will Season 5 Be The Last Season Of The Handmaid’s Tale?
Probably not. Readers of The Testaments, Margaret Atwood’s 2019 follow-up to her 1985 novel, broadly know the fates of their favorite characters. The question is, will the television series ever catch up? As it stands, there are about a dozen years of daylight between where Season 4 of the television series ends and Atwood’s sequel begins. Bustle recently asked series producer Warren Littlefield about the ultimate endgame for the show; he insisted that even his own showrunner didn’t know. “I can tell you, if you had Bruce Miller under Sodium Pentothal, you would get, ‘I don't know,’ because we don't,” Littlefield said, before adding: “We're getting closer to the end, but we don't know yet.”
It’s a negotiation between the story as re-imagined in Hulu’s series and the blueprint Atwood has set forth for the team. Right now, the show is “laying groundwork for The Testaments,” according to Littlefield. And in that book, Nichole has no memories of June. Still, Littlefield won’t say if the show will exactly follow the events of The Testaments when the time comes. “Honestly, we don't yet know what those exact signposts are. We look forward to discovering it, but it's not pre-ordained.”
The Handmaid’s Tale Season 5 Cast
The ending of Season 4 definitely creates exciting new possibilities for an expanded cast in Season 5, plus one obvious departure. With Fred Waterford “on the wall,” as they say in Gilead, future Joseph Fiennes appearances will likely be confined to flashbacks (let’s face it: This show loves a flashback). That said, we can expect a notable addition, too: Serena Waterford should be welcoming her baby boy in Canada any day now.
Back in Gilead, Esther Keyes, played by Mckenna Grace, remains at the Red Center with Janine, perhaps signaling a second round of resistance with a home base in Boston.
And if June goes underground, she’ll need allies to help keep her alive. Maybe in Season 5 Mayday will finally grow from a faceless promise into a set of characters prepared to wage a real war for American independence.