The Handmaid’s Tale Season 6, which will be the final season, is in the works. And, after the events of Season 5, fans have been waiting to see what’s next for June and the rest of the characters. How will the story end?
Here’s what we know so far about The Handmaid’s Tale Season 6. Possible spoilers ahead for Season 5.
The Handmaid’s Tale Season 6 In the Works
The Handmaid’s Tale Season 6 is confirmed, with the renewal announcement ahead of the Season 5 premiere. However, the renewal is bittersweet news for the series’ fans, as Season 6 will also be the final season.
“It’s been a true honor to tell the story of Margaret Atwood’s groundbreaking novel and the chillingly relevant world, and we are thrilled to bring viewers a sixth and final season of The Handmaid’s Tale,” said the show’s creator and showrunner Bruce Miller in a statement at the time. Miller also serves as an executive producer of the series.
“We are grateful to Hulu and MGM for allowing us to tell this story which unfortunately has remained as relevant as ever throughout its run, and are in awe of our incredible fans for their unwavering support and without whom we never would have gotten to this point.”
Miller will also be stepping down as showrunner for the final season to focus on the spin-off series Testaments. Replacing Miller are Eric Tuchman and Yahlin Chang, the show’s current writers and executive producers.
Who Will Be Returning for Season 6?
For The Handmaid’s Tale Season 6, we can expect Elisabeth Moss to return as June Osborne. Also expected to come back are Yvonne Strahovski as Serena Joy Waterford, Madeline Brewer as Janine, and Ann Dowd as Aunt Lydia. The same can be said for OT Fagbenle as Luke Bankole, Max Minghella as Commander Nick Blaine, and Samira Wiley as Moira. Bradley Whitford is also expected to return for Season 6 as Commander Lawrence, and Amanda Brugel as Rita.
Alexis Bledel isn’t likely to return as Emily. Bledel’s character already had less screen time by Season 4. By the Season 5 premiere, Emily seemed to be written out completely when it was revealed she returned to Gilead.
Speaking to Digital Spy then, Miller revealed how Emily’s story tied with Moira’s and Rita’s storylines. Fans might have noticed Moira and Rita not having much of a presence in Season 5, and Miller explained how it relates to Emily.
“Honestly, Moira’s story and Rita’s story, which were tied up with Emily’s story, they really did suffer this season,” said Miller. “I love all of our characters. I could do a series. The Moira Show, I would watch. I would write it deliciously. Oh my god, I could do it. And Rita’s show.”
Miller added, “So we always have huge amounts of story that we’re not allowed to do. Huge flashbacks that we just don’t have real estate for. The network would give us an extra episode or two or three. But it’s the stories – we have to make this distilled.”
What Happened in Season 5?
By the end of Season 5 of The Handmaid’s Tale, June and Luke got separated as the latter turned himself over to Canadian authorities. Luke’s move allowed June to escape with her youngest daughter Nichole. To the fans’ surprise, June found Serena and her newborn son Noah among the Gilead refugees.
June was set to head to Vancouver and eventually to Hawaii. It’s unclear whether Serena will join her. Meanwhile, Hannah and Janine appear prepared to rebel, with the latter getting taken by The Eyes.
“When we played out Serena’s story, it seemed so logical, given June’s story, that they’d probably end up in the same place,” Miller told The Hollywood Reporter. “They’re both trying to anonymously flee Toronto among a crowd of people. How many options do you have?”
Miller told Entertainment Weekly that Season 5 was the most romantic for June and Nick. This would definitely be further explored by Season 6 especially since Nick has gotten into trouble for assaulting Commander Lawrence. Nick’s pregnant wife has also distanced herself from him.
“I feel like this is the most romantic Nick/June season ever because they spend the whole time trying to convince themselves that they don’t need to be together,” said Miller. “And by the end, they are not successful at all, they fail entirely. They don’t even see each other in the last episode, and they’re so in love they can’t think about anything else.”
What to Expect in Season 6
Even though Miller is stepping down as showrunner for The Handmaid’s Tale Season 6, he did reveal plans for a possible endgame. However, Miller hinted that the initial outlines at the time might change as they write the new episodes.
“We’re going to wrap it up on our own terms,” Miller told Digital Spy. “It’s something we never get with just the way the business is set up. And also, more importantly, not something everyone would give to the audience.”
Miller also weighed in on what would happen to June in the end. “We have so many women through history who didn’t have names, who were never identified. They were there for a while. They told their story, and this is The Handmaid’s Tale – she told it.”
Elisabeth Moss, who plays June, revealed to Elle what she thinks is going to happen in Season 6.
“I think that it’s going to be a season where June is going to figure out who she is and who she’s going to be for the rest of her life,” said Moss. “The fight is not just about one individual; it’s much larger than that. And I think she is, in season five, getting to that place where she’s realizing that. And then Season 6 is going to be very much about that, and then about all the characters figuring out whose side they’re on and what their next move is.”
The Handmaid’s Tale Season 6 Release Date Speculation
Fans will have to wait a little longer for The Handmaid’s Tale Season 6 to arrive. Production is expected to begin in September 2024 in Toronto under the working title “Ruby Road.” If the cameras start rolling at that time, then fans will probably see a late 2025 release for the show.
The sixth and final season was originally scheduled to premiere sooner. However, the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes started in May and July. This led to most productions, including The Handmaid’s Tale, shutting down until it was resolved. The strikes for both unions were resolved by September and November respectively.
For now, fans can rewatch the previous five seasons of The Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu. Fans in the UK can rewatch on Prime Video.