Here’s What to Expect from The Handmaid’s Tale Season 5

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After watching the revealing trailer for The Handmaid's Tale Season 5, fans can't wait to find out what's going to happen next. Here's everything we know.

If you’re a fan of the dystopian drama The Handmaid’s Tale, you’re certainly not alone. Since its premiere in 2017, the Hulu TV show has won 15 Primetime Emmy Awards and found itself on countless lists of the best TV shows. It’s been such a phenomenon that the bestselling book behind the TV show jumped back to the top of bestseller lists, almost 40 years after its initial release. And the trailer for The Handmaid’s Tale Season 5 has just dropped.

Fans can’t wait to find out what will happen to June and the rest of the resistance as they work against the Republic of Gilead. Good news: We’ve got all the info you crave!

When will The Handmaid’s Tale Season 5 premiere?

Don’t worry, you don’t have to wait much longer. The first and second episodes of Season 5 of The Handmaid’s Tale, streaming on Hulu, will drop on Sept. 14, 2022.

You won’t be able to binge it all at once, though—after the initial two episodes come out, you’ll have to wait for a new episode each Wednesday. In between episodes, curb your craving for book-related entertainment with these book recommendations based on TV shows.

What will The Handmaid’s Tale Season 5 be about?

Before we dive in, let’s get this out of the way: Keep reading only if you’ve watched previous seasons or don’t mind spoilers.

To recap: When we last saw June (Elisabeth Moss) at the end of Season 4, she and some of her fellow handmaids had finally exacted revenge on her nemesis, Commander Fred Waterford (Joseph Fiennes).

What we know, thanks to a summary on Hulu, is that June will face the consequences of her actions. What we don’t know is whether Fred’s wife, Serena Joy (Yvonne Strahovski), is actually sad about the death of her husband. Was that a smirk we saw on her lips as she lightly touched his casket during the Season 5 trailer? Will this development just strengthen Serena’s resolve to rise to power herself and spread the gospel of Gilead in Canada? Either way, it’s clear from the trailer that Serena will be June’s main foe this season.

Who will be in The Handmaid’s Tale Season 5?

When Alexis Bledel, who played Dr. Emily Malek, announced last May that she wouldn’t be returning to the role for The Handmaid’s Tale Season 5, fans expressed the sort of shock they’d shown when Regé-Jean Page said he’d be skipping Bridgerton Season 2. It’s a shame—Bledel won an Emmy in 2017 for her portrayal and has earned three more nominations since.

The rest of the main cast will be back (except Fiennes, of course), and that includes Moss, Strahovski, Max Minghella as Nick, Samira Wiley as Moira, Ann Dowd as Aunt Lydia and O-T Fagbenle as Luke.

As for newcomers, fans will love to hate Mrs. Wheeler, played by actress Genevieve Angelson. She’s a rich woman in Canada who believes in Gilead’s mission and adores Serena and everything she stands for. Actress Christine Ko will also join the cast of The Handmaid’s Tale Season 5, playing Lily, a refugee from Gilead who becomes a pivotal member of the Canadian resistance. She’s been described as “gritty and resourceful” and will no doubt assist in myriad ways.

Will Season 5 of The Handmaid’s Tale be the last?

Bruce Miller, the creator and showrunner of the series, hasn’t confirmed whether Season 5 of The Handmaid’s Tale will be its last, but an executive at Hulu already hinted that this could be it. Jordan Helman, the head of original content at the streamer, told Deadline that Hulu was mainly focused on “closing out that show in a creative fashion that feels organic,” and that he’s in constant talks with both Miller and Moss about how to best end things.

Of course, it has also been the biggest hit series for Hulu so far, so time will tell if the streaming service tries to squeeze out another season. And, of course, there are plenty of other handmaids in the resistance, so if Hulu wanted to continue the plot without June, it could.

Does The Handmaid’s Tale TV series follow the books?

It certainly did in Season 1, when the series first introduced June, the near-future New England setting and the various caste systems in Gilead, including wives, commanders, handmaids and aunts.

Just as in the 1985 dystopian novel by Margaret Atwood, we meet June, her husband and their baby daughter as they try to escape Gilead to avoid being killed because her husband left his first wife for June. (Adultery and divorce are both illegal.) And just as in the book, their daughter is stolen.

June, one of the few remaining fertile women, is forcibly turned into a handmaid. Renamed Offred, she’s forced to bear children for one of the commanders.  That plot line is why the book so frequently finds itself on lists of the most banned books. And it’s a plot echoed in the television series.

That’s where the similarities end. The TV series introduces all sorts of new characters and explores their backgrounds in depths that the book never did. Atwood released a sequel, The Testaments, in 2019 (two years after the show began), but the protagonist is Aunt Lydia, not June.

Read The Handmaid’s Tale books

Sources:

  • Hulu: “The Handmaid’s Tale Season 5”
  • Deadline: “‘The Handmaid’s Tale’: Talks Underway About How & When to End Hit Hulu Drama Series; Will Season 5 Be Its Last?”

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Gillian Telling
Gillian Telling is a New York-based entertainment journalist who, for the past 15 years, has covered the entire spectrum of pop culture as a writer and editor for publications like Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, and People. She's interviewed hundreds of celebrities throughout her career, ranging from Alex Trebek to Jennifer Lawrence, and prides herself on being the first person to ever declare that Schitt's Creek was an amazing new show. (Five years before everyone else caught on!) She's also a published author, whose 2010 humor book Dirty Girls was optioned by ABC in 2012.