‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Season 5: The Cast, Release Date & More You Need To Know

Blessed be the fruit! 'The Handmaid's Tale' is returning for season 5 with a major showdown between June and Serena. Here's everything we know about the new season and when the series is ending.

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The Handmaid’s Tale delivered jaw-dropping moments throughout its first four seasons, winning numerous Emmy Awards thanks to the storytelling by creator Bruce Miller. The Hulu television series premiered in 2017 and is based on Margaret Atwood’s novel, set in a futuristic dystopian society ruled by fundamentalists who see women as property and treat many as simply baby-rearing bodies. The show is set to return for season 5 and the trailer which came out on August 24 teases complete chaos and a showdown between June and Serena after Commander Waterford’s death. From the cast to the release date, here’s all the updates on The Handmaid’s Tale season 5, which will be the penultimate season of the series.

Elisabeth Moss
Elisabeth Moss as June in ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ season 5 (Photo: Hulu)

‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Season 4

Season 4 of The Handmaid’s Tale premiered in April 2021 and ran for ten episodes until June 2021. For the first time in the series, the majority of the storyline took place in Canada, where June finally ended up after escaping Gilead where she was an imprisoned Handmaid. She reunited with her husband Luke and her BFF Moira, who were raising her daughter Nichole. June and Luke’s daughter Hannah is still in Gilead, though they’ve vowed to get her back. At the end of the season, June masterminded the murder of Commander Fred Lawrence, who raped her repeatedly when she was in Gilead. Fred’s death surely won’t sit well with his wife Serena Joy, who is also in Canada and is pregnant.

Meanwhile in Gilead, Aunt Lydia is still in charge of the imprisoned Handmaids which includes Janine, who failed to make it to Canada with June. June’s lover Nick, who is the father of her daughter Nichole, was promoted to a Commander, though he helped her kill Commander Waterford. Commander Joseph Lawrence is in Gilead but is also working with the resistance group Mayday, though his true allegiance is always unclear.

‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Season 5 Release Date

The Handmaid’s Tale will return on September 14. The show was officially renewed for season 5 in December 2020 and the premiere date was announced in June 2022. The first two episodes will premiere Sept. 14, followed by new episodes every Wednesday. It has not been announced how many episodes will be in the new season.

The Handmaid's Tale
The Handmaid’s Tale season 5 poster (Photo: Hulu)

Where Can I Watch ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Season 5?

The Handmaid’s Tale season 5 will be available to stream exclusively on Hulu in the U.S. That means Netflix, Disney+, and HBO Max won’t cut it. You also can’t tune into the show on cable television. In the United Kingdom, the show airs on Channel 4. Fans in the U.S. that wish to catch up on the show and watch the first four seasons can do so on Hulu.

Who Is in the Cast for Season 5?

Almost the entire cast of The Handmaid’s Tale season 4 will be back for the new season. That includes Elisabeth Moss as June, Yvonne Strahovski as Serena, O-T Fagbenle as Luke, Samira Wiley as Moira, Madeline Brewer as Janine, Ann Dowd as Aunt Lydia, Bradley Whitford as Commander Lawrence, Max Minghella as Nick, Amanda Brugel as Rita, and Sam Jaeger as Mark Tuello. McKenna Grace, who played angry teenage wife Esther Keyes, confirmed to HollywoodLife that she’ll be in season 5.

A few new characters have been announced for season 5. Christine Ko (Upload, Dave) has been cast as Lily, a former Martha who is now leading a resistance movement in Canada. Genevieve Angelson (The Afterparty) will play Mrs. Wheeler, an affluent Canadian who idolizes Serena and is involved in the rise of Gilead in Toronto. Christine and Genevieve were cast in the show in April 2022 and July 2022, respectively.

Joseph Fiennes, who played Commander Fred Waterford for the first four seasons, is not expected to return for season 5 since his character was killed. Also, Alexis Bledel isn’t returning as Emily/Ofglen, a role she’s played since the first season of the show. Alexis, who won a Guest Actress Emmy Award for her performance in the show, confirmed her departure Variety on May 27. “After much thought, I felt I had to step away from The Handmaid’s Tale at this time,” the actress said in a statement. “I am forever grateful to Bruce Miller for writing such truthful and resonant scenes for Emily, and to Hulu, MGM, the cast and crew for their support.”

What Do We Know About What Will Happen Next Season?

Yvonne Strahovski
Yvonne Strahovski in ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ season 5 (Photo : Hulu)

Hulu released the season 5 teaser trailer on July 14 which gives a glimpse into the aftermath of Commander Waterford’s murder. “I want her to know it was me,” June ominously says. She’s speaking about Serena, who wears a black veil to her husband’s funeral. U.S. government agent Mark Tuello warns June how her actions will have major consequences. “The Handmaid killing her commander. Gilead is not going to let that stand,” he says. June admits she feels Gilead “pulling me back” from Canada. At the end of the teaser, June and Serena come face-to-face and June grabs a gun from behind her back.

The official trailer was released on August 24. June has no remorse for killing Commander Waterford and tells her husband Luke that she “loved it.” Serena wants revenge for her husband’s murder and forms a pro-Gilead group in Canada. Nick and Commander Joseph Lawrence try to hide their involvement in Commander Waterford’s death. June and Luke are determined to reunite with their daughter Hannah and appear to return to Gilead to finally get her back.

Elisabeth Moss previously teased what’s to come in an interview with TVLine. “I will say that the season itself is possibly one of the wilder rides that we’ve had,” the Emmy Award winner said. “We’ve definitely had some seasons [where], you know, a lot happens. Some seasons, not as much happens. I almost can’t keep up with what happens in the upcoming episodes, and it’s not lip service. I truly mean I almost can’t keep up with the amount of activity that’s happening.”

In an EXCLUSIVE interview with HollywoodLife, Samira Wiley explained that season 5 will explore more of Moira and June’s relationship. “It’s the first time since season one that I felt like I really had my partner back. Except for she’s not the same person,” Samira said. “And we really see their weird struggle and relationship last season. And this season, it’s more of trying to figure out between Moira and June who they are to each other now, and what exactly, as me, as Moira, do I believe?”

Samira continued, “We saw so much last season that June is so gung-ho ready to kill everybody, and Moira was like, ‘Hold on, we got a baby to take care of, calm down. So really, it’s trying to figure out how to fight Gilead from within Canada. And how do they do those things differently? And also is it possible to fight Gilead from within Canada, or is that impossible? And if that isn’t possible, then what’s the next step?”

Elisabeth Moss
Elisabeth Moss (Photo: Hulu)

Who Is on the Creative Team for Season 5?

Creator Bruce Miller is continuing to call the shots for The Handmaid’s Tale season 5. He executive produces the show with Elisabeth Moss, Warren Littlefield, Reed Morano, Daniel Wilson, Illene Chaiken, Marissa Jo Cerar, and more. It’s been confirmed that Elisabeth directed the first two episodes of season 5. She directed three episodes in season 4.

Fans have wondered when The Handmaid’s Tale is going to end, which is something that Bruce addressed in an interview before season 5 started filming. “I’m never looking to end it,” he said in August 2021. “I work with a group of very undifficult people; we have a lovely group of writers, a spectacular group of actors and visiting directors and our crew.” He also said, “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.”

Is ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Returning For Season 6?

The Handmaid’s Tale was renewed for a sixth — and final — season on September 8, 2022. Hulu announced the news at the season 5 premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). The full cast shared the news in a video on The Handmaid’s Tale‘s official Twitter account. “We can’t keep this a secret any longer. #TheHandmaidsTale will return for a 6th and final season on @hulu,” the caption of the video read. 

Creator Bruce Miller also released a statement regarding his hit series ending after season 6. “It has been a true honor to tell the story of Margaret Atwood’s groundbreaking novel and chillingly relevant world, and we are thrilled to bring viewers a sixth and final season of The Handmaid’s Tale,” his statement read. “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.”

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