The Handmaid's Tale season 5 premiere is only one week away now – and fans are gearing themselves up for some major conflict between June Osborne (Elisabeth Moss) and Serena Waterford (Yvonne Strahovski).
The new chapter picks up with June back in Canada, as Serena plots her revenge over the the murder of Commander Waterford (Joseph Fiennes). Elsewhere, Luke (O-T Fagbenle) and Moira (Samira Wiley) have their hands full trying to bring down Gilead, while Aunt Lydia sets out to make a new-and-improved Handmaid's program.
There's not likely to be any major new info dropping between now and September 14, so we've pulled together everything we know about the fifth installment – from first-look images and trailers, to a recap of the final moments of season 4, and the full season 5 cast list. (There have been a few exits, so you'll definitely want to check that section out if your memory is a little hazy). So, under his eye, scroll on and get stuck into all the details surrounding The Handmaid's Tale season 5, including when exactly it is released.
The Handmaid’s Tale season 5 release date
Hulu has confirmed that The Handmaid's Tale season 5 will begin on Wednesday, September 14 in the US. Currently, the international release dates have not been announced. There will be a two-episode premiere to kick off season 5, before new episodes are released weekly on Hulu.
The Handmaid’s Tale season 5 trailer
Hulu has released a full trailer for the upcoming season. The clip starts with June and Luke back in Canada as they deal with the fall-out of Commander Waterford's murder. June is warned Gilead will not let her get away with the crime.
But, it seems like the real crux of this season will be the fight brewing between June and Serena. "I want her to know that it was me, the grieving wife," June narrates. "She knows the world is watching." The teaser contrasts the former handmaid on the run in Canada with Serena clad in a black mourning veil. At one point, they come face-to-face as June reaches for a gun behind her back...
We don't see what happens next but it seems the stakes are higher than ever for June. Will she make it out? Why can we see her and Luke speaking through prison glass? And could we finally see the fall of Gilead? Let's hope season 5 gives us the answers we need.
The Handmaid's Tale season 5 first images
The Handmaid’s Tale season 5 plot
Spoilers for previous seasons of The Handmaid's Tale ahead!
Hulu has confirmed The Handmaid's Tale season 5 will pick up after the dramatic events of the season 4 finale. If you need a quick refresher, it ended with June and other Gilead survivors beating Fred Waterford to death in the woods.
The official logline for season 5 reads: "June faces consequences for killing Commander Waterford while struggling to redefine her identity and purpose. The widowed Serena attempts to raise her profile in Toronto as Gilead’s influence creeps into Canada. Commander Lawrence works with Aunt Lydia as he tries to reform Gilead and rise in power. June, Luke and Moira fight Gilead from a distance as they continue their mission to save and reunite with Hannah."
Moira star Samira Wiley shared on The View (opens in new tab): "We’re picking up really exactly where we left off. Everyone who saw the season finale knows what happened with Commander Waterford. And so June, as always, is in a bit of trouble." She also confirmed that June will still be in Canada in the new series, as she works out how to take Gilead down from there.
Moss teased to TVLine (opens in new tab): "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. I almost can’t keep up with [season 5]. And it’s not lip service. I truly mean I almost can’t keep up with the amount of activity that’s happening."
We’ll also be moving ever closer to The Testaments, which is Margaret Atwood’s sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale. Hulu has confirmed they’ll be adapting the novel in the future, which is set a decade after the first book. Head of scripted originals at Hulu Jordan Helman has previously spoken about how it will be linked to The Handmaid’s Tale. He told Deadline (opens in new tab): "The birth of The Testaments on Hulu and the eventual end of The Handmaid’s Tale are related."
The Handmaid’s Tale season 5 cast
Most of the main cast are expected to be returning for The Handmaid’s Tale season 5. That means we should expect Moss back as June, alongside Ann Dowd as Aunt Lydia, O-T Fagbenle as Luke, Max Minghella as Nick, Wiley as Moira, Bradley Whitford as Commander Lawrence, Brugel as Rita, Yvonne Strahovski as Serena Waterford and Madeline Brewer as Janine. Mckenna Grace is thought to be coming back as Mrs Keyes, after she made an impact in Gilead. The star is perhaps best known for her starring role in Ghostbusters: Afterlife (2021).
We also expect to see some of the new additions in season 4 back as well, including Genevieve Angelson's Gladys Wheeler, a fangirl of Serena. Talking about the wealthy new character, who leads the charge in bringing Gilead to Toronto, the actor recently explained to TV Line (opens in new tab): "In order to play Mrs. Wheeler, I couldn't say 'I'm playing a bad guy.' I had to say, 'I'm playing someone who's willing to do anything to continue the human race, and that's what we're up against. So, do I want to be the person I am being? Maybe not. But I am accepting that is my reality, that is what I'm doing. That was how I got by with that."
Of course, Joseph Fiennes will likely have a reduced role on the show after Commander Waterford’s grisly murder in season 4. However, we could see him back in flashbacks, as showrunner Bruce Miller teased to Entertainment Weekly (opens in new tab): "I would die if I didn't see Joe [Fiennes] again."
However, one cast member who will no longer be in the show is Alexis Bledel, who played former handmaid Emily Malek in seasons 1-4. In statement to Entertainment Weekly (opens in new tab), she shared her departure. Bledel said: "After much thought, I felt I had to step away from The Handmaid's Tale at this time. 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."
The Handmaid's Tale season 5 begins on Hulu on September 14. In the meantime, check out our guide to the best shows on Hulu available to stream right now.