If your heartbeat has finally returned to normal after the ferocious Season 4 finale of The Handmaid’s Tale, you might already be wondering when more episodes are coming. You’re not alone; with the show racking up 21 Emmy nominations in 2021, plenty of fans are dying to know what happens next to June Osborne (played by Elisabeth Moss) and her fellow handmaids after their quest for justice culminated in a bloody, violent scene that left one major character dead.
The good news? We already know that a fifth season is a done deal. In fact, back in December 2020—before Season 4 had even debuted—the cast shared in an Instagram video that Season 5 was happening, so no need to worry that you’ll never find out the fates of the residents, escapees and refugees of Gilead.
In the meantime, want to put the image of a certain Commander’s corpse behind you? Here’s what we know so far about Season 5, which showrunner Bruce Miller has already revealed will feel more like Sophie’s Choice: The Series.
When will Season 5 of The Handmaid’s Tale premiere?
There’s not an official release date yet for the new season, but most of the previous four seasons were spaced out with about a year in between each of them. The exception to that, of course, was when Season 4 finally arrived almost two years after Season 3 due to delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. There’s a good chance that Season 5 will arrive in spring or summer 2022.
What happened in Season 4 of The Handmaid’s Tale?
(Warning: The Handmaid’s Tale Season 4 spoilers ahead!) The season started with June surviving the gunshot wound she sustained at the end of Season 3. She soon poisoned several Commanders to free the women at a Jezebel’s and escaped Gilead with Janine (Madeline Brewer). June had a chance to help take down Fred and Serena Waterford (Joseph Fiennes and Yvonne Strahovski), who were in Canadian police custody. She testified at the International Criminal Court about what happened to her in Gilead. However, the Waterfords were granted immunity because Fred had information he was willing to share.
In a twist, Commander Lawrence (Bradley Whitford), June and Mark Tuello (Sam Jaeger) worked out a prisoner exchange that put Fred back on the road to Gilead—until he was left out in the middle of nowhere, where June was waiting for him. She and other handmaidens chased him through the forest, beating and killing him. In gruesome Gilead fashion, Fred’s headless body was left hanging on “The Wall.”
Are there Handmaid’s Tale Season 5 spoilers?
Again, the biggest hint we may have so far about what happens next is what Miller already said about Season 5. “Well, it’s definitely “Sophie’s Choice: The Series” [for June],” Miller revealed. “Can we snap back to normal, or do we have to move on into something new?” June will have to grapple with resuming some normalcy in Canada with her pre-Gilead husband Luke, or toppling Gilead for good.
However, for Moss, the choice is already made. “At this point, I think she’s all in. She is all in,” Moss told The Hollywood Reporter in June 2021. “She wants to bring the whole system down, and with that would come saving Hannah [her daughter], saving Janine [her fellow handmaid] and the proper revenge on Serena.”
How is June going to do that in Season 5? “I know the general themes of Season 5; Bruce [Miller] and I have talked about what the season is about,” Moss also said. “But the details? I don’t think they are worked out yet.”
Still, Miller is giving some clues about what could happen next. For starters, don’t start missing Commander Waterford just yet. “Certainly I think we’ll see Fred again. I mean, I would die if I didn’t see Joe [Fiennes] again,” Miller admitted. The show has done flashbacks before, and that could be a place for Fred to show up.
Someone else could be making big moves in Season 5: Fred’s widow, Serena.
“Serena is the one you really have to worry about, or the one I am worried about,” Miller told Entertainment Weekly, because she “does not like to lose.” She doesn’t even know her husband is dead yet—a prison mail sorter intercepted the severed ring finger June sent her—but when she finds out, expect fireworks.
Miller also spilled to The Hollywood Reporter, “It’s now a June-Serena thing. She will want to find a way to metaphorically or realistically get June for this.”
Which cast members and characters are returning in Season 5 of The Handmaid’s Tale?
As mentioned above, Fiennes may be popping in to reprise his role as Commander Fred Waterford; here’s who else is still expected to be roaming around in the dystopia of The Handmaid’s Tale come next season:
Elisabeth Moss as June Osborne
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
Sam Jaeger as Mark Tuello
McKenna Grace as Esther Keyes
Is there a teaser or trailer for Season 5 of The Handmaid’s Tale?
Not yet; we’re guessing it’ll be toward the end of 2021 when we might get a first glimpse, but check back here for updates!
Will there be more Handmaid’s Tale seasons after Season 5?
Even showrunner Miller isn’t sure. He told The Hollywood Reporter in December 2020, “I do feel like after this year, it’s a good time to reassess,” adding, “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.”
However, just a couple months later in February 2021, he seemed to contradict that sentiment when he told Deadline, “As long as Lizzie will do this with me, I’ll keep going. There’s a lot of life in this story.”
Then there’s the Handmaid’s Tale sequel that Hulu is planning on making. In January 2020, news broke that the streaming platform had purchased the rights to The Testaments book, the literary sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, also written by Margaret Atwood, the author who wrote the original book.
The Testaments series will reportedly be set some years after the events of The Handmaid’s Tale. That move likely sets boundaries for how far The Handmaid’s Tale can go plot-wise.
Said Miller, “It’s hard to say how many seasons are left when I’m certainly fascinated by what happens in The Testaments and if that’s going to be part of our future, that’s a bigger question.”
Where to watch and stream The Handmaid’s Tale Season 5 and past episodes
The Handmaid’s Tale Season 5 will stream on Hulu as all previous seasons have; if you need to catch up on old episodes, they are available now on the streaming service. You can also purchase past seasons of The Handmaid’s Tale on iTunes and Amazon Prime.