‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Season 5: What Fans Need to Know

The Handmaids Tale

Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel has exploded into a cultural phenomenon and has taken center stage in the conversation of female bodily autonomy. It’s no wonder that people are anxious to know when The Handmaid’s Tale Season 5 will hit Hulu.

And especially after the jaw-dropping finale?

We need answers. Now.

Here’s everything we know so far on the next installment of our favorite feminist series. Starting with a recap of where we left off!

The Handmaid's Tale Season 5

Handmaid’s Tale Season 4 Recap

Spoiler Alert.

Oh. My. Gilead.

The moment of catharsis we’ve been waiting for has finally come: June murdered Commander Fred Waterford and hung his headless corpse on the wall.

His abuse has shadowed, overpowered, and consumed her throughout the show, and we got to see June and her fellow Handmaidens give him divine and bloody justice. In her last act of poetry, she mailed his wedding ring and the finger it was on to Serena Joy, his wife.

The final shots of the season: June, her face bloody, her daughter in her arms, cutting to the headless Fred, hanging resolutely above the phrase “Nolite te Bastardes Carborundorum.”

Don’t let the bastards grind you down.

While it comes with a sigh of relief – finally, the world is cleansed of this force of evil – the next inhale is an anxious one. 

The Handmaid's Tale Season 5

What happens next? Does June go on the run? Will she be imprisoned? What will his body become a symbol of? An argument for the system of oppression, or a sign of rebellion?

The writers and actors did not make this decision to kill off this crucial character swiftly or lightly. Series creator and showrunner Bruce Miller said Fred’s death has been in the works since Season 3.

He said of the writers, “Even if June isn’t there yet, you are building a tower that you’re eventually going to push Fred off of.” 

Fred’s apology was what led June to push. 

The team did a lot of research on abusers and victims and found that apologies can easily backfire. Instead of getting closure, victims will become enraged, because the abuser is admitting that they knew exactly what they did, they knew it was wrong, and they did it anyway.

The Handmaids Tale Season 5

Is Season 5 the End of Handmaid’s Tale?

While the Season 4 finale left us a million questions, one we’re especially interested in is this: Will Season 5 be the final installment of The Handmaid’s Tale?

Showrunner Miller has some mixed thoughts and no definitive answer. When interviewing for Deadline’s Contenders TV virtual event, he said, “I’m never looking to end it,” but he doesn’t want to continue making a show beyond the story he and the writers plan to tell. 

He explains, “The team made an incredible TV show. So I’m not so quick to say, ‘oh, you know, let’s just, walk away.’ I don’t know how you felt about the pandemic, but I certainly learned the things of my life that are pretty rare, and working with these people is one of them.”

“So, honestly, yes, I know what the end is and I’m not going to overstay my welcome but I’m also not going to rush off if I don’t have to because as long as I am writing for Elisabeth Moss, you know, it really doesn’t get much better, ” he continues. “As long as Lizzie [Moss] will do this with me, I’ll keep going.”

The show truly would not be the same without Elisabeth Moss, the star, executive producer, and occasional director of the series.

The Handmaid's Tale Season 5

Handmaid’s Tale Season 5 Filming & Production

Due to the high-profile actors involved in the show and the high production value packed into each episode, producing a show like The Handmaid’s Tale takes quite a bit of time. Especially when you throw a pandemic in the mix.

Miller wants to make space for the stars to catch up on all their other projects that were pushed back. He speaks of his cast and crew very highly, and it’s very clear that he respects them immensely. 

On filming, actress Amanda Brugel, who plays Rita, says, “I have no idea what’s going to happen, because the writers – most of the time, we don’t get scripts until two weeks before we’re shooting them.”

The Handmaid's Tale

Handmaid’s Tale Cast

Let’s talk Season 5 cast! There is no Handmaid’s Tale without Elisabeth Moss as June. Her fellow handmaidens will also return, along with other prominent names in the series.

Yvonne Strahovski returns as a now widowed Serena Joy Waterford, Ann Dowd as Aunt Lydia, Madeline Brewer as Janine, Samira Wiley as Moira, and Amanda Brugel as Rita.

Mckenna Grace will also return as Esther Keyes as will fellow co-star Zawe Ashton as Oona.

The Handmaids Tale Season 4

As far as the male characters go, O-T Fagbenle will play Luke, Max Minghella will play Nick, Bradley Whitford will play Commander Lawrence, and Sam Jaeger will play Mark Tuello.

While his character’s bloody end was the punctuation to the Season 4 finale, we have not seen the last of Joseph Fiennes. It’s “quite a heavy flashback show,” and since June sees him every time she closes her eyes, there’s no doubt that he will still shape the story from beyond the grave.

The Handmaids Tale Season 4

Handmaid’s Tale Season 5 Release Date

So when can we expect the Margaret Atwood drama to return to Hulu?

Updated June 14, 2022

Hulu announced on June 13, 2022, that The Handmaid’s Tale Season 5 will premiere with 2 episodes on Wednesday, September 14, 2022. And new single episodes will follow weekly every Wednesday.

Speaking with TVLine, Elisabeth Moss reveals, “I will say that the season itself is possibly one of the wilder rides that we’ve had.”

“We’ve definitely had some seasons [where], you know, a lot happens. Some seasons, not as much happens,” Moss says. “I almost can’t keep up and it’s not lip service. I truly mean I almost can’t keep up with the amount of activity that’s happening.”

The Handmaid's Tale Season 5 Elisabeth Moss

The Handmaid’s Tale Season 5 was greenlit by Hulu in December 2020, before Season 4 even premiered. In fact, they hadn’t even finished production yet on Season 4 before news of the renewal.

So with everything that’s going on in the world right now, and with all the other projects the actors need to catch up on, it might be a while before the crew and cast members can all get together and create The Handmaid’s Tale Season 5 and announce an official release date. It’s likely a release date won’t be until sometime in 2023.

We’ll keep you posted on release date news updates as they become available. Until then, let us know your thoughts on The Handmaids Tale Season 4 and your hopes for Season 5 in our comment section below!


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    1. Ivey – I think you might have read that last part wrong. Season 5 have been ordered (the series had been renewed) before Production on Season 4 had finished. That’s the only reference in the above article to Season 4 production not having been finished yet. (Great news for fans though – it means they were trying to get production for Season 5 started as quickly as they could)

  1. I am very anxiously waiting season 5. I binged the entire show last year, and now I feel like a piece of me is missing, I even started reading the book. I might rewatch the show.
    As much as I adore Luke, I would like to see June with Nick. He’s the one who now has her heart. They’ve gone through Hell together.
    I also want to see June reunited with Janine.
    There is so much I’m excited to see, and so much that I want but doesn’t work out right in my head so, what the writers do when it comes to the children of Gilead is going to be very interesting.

    1. I have a feeling Janine is going to help Lydia see the light. I think either Lydia and Janine will escape together to Canada and Lydia will turn herself in, or Lydia will help get Janine (and maybe the other Handmaids under her care) to Canada an then turn herself in to Gilead authorities. Either way, Janine will be free and Lydia will seek punishment for her sins. My other thought was that Janine becomes the face of the resistance in Gilead. I think something big is in the works for Janine.

  2. So many loose ends to tie up in a bow…will Serena give birth to a healthy baby? Will she return to Gilead or remain in Canada? What will be Esther’s life now that she is a handmaid? I suspect she will be going on a killing spree in her future. What will become of Janine, the eternal optimist? Will Commander Lawrence take control of Gilead and work on reshaping it into a better version of itself? Will he ever learn that June let his beloved wife die? June’s last words to her husband were that she would be leaving in a few minutes. Does she fear or expect that Canada will charge her with Fred’s murder? Will she return to Chicago to fight with the resistance and/or get caught and end up back in Gilead? It seems the only outcome for June is that she will end up hanging on the wall herself, but what will she endure in the lead up to her ultimate fate? Will she ever find her mother? What about Nick? He’s married now, will we see what his life is like as a high ranking Commander and who will his wife be and will he be assigned a Handmaiden? Will he and June get together again? Will June ever be reunited with Hannah or has that ship sailed? It looks like June is abandoning her young daughter to be raised by Luke and Moira in order to go on the run. Will she end up in the Canadian version of house arrest which is more like a nice hotel room than a jail cell? Will Hannah end up like Esther, a child bride of a Commander? What a twist of fate it would be if she ended up as Nick’s wife! How would he handle being married to the daughter of the woman he loves? So many possibilities…so many questions!