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- Former Dean of Salisbury, bishop of Diocese of Llandaff
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The Handmaid's Tale was officially renewed for season 4 before the season 3 finale even aired in August of 2019. Since then, we haven't been able to stop wondering about what will happen when the show returns.
Thankfully, when we spoke with executive producer Warren Littlefield just after season 3 wrapped up he confirmed, "there [are] still more stories to tell, there's more of Gilead to fight."
So, while there's hope on the horizon for June and other members of the Resistance, we still have so many questions about the upcoming installment. Here's everything we know about The Handmaid's Tale season 4:
When will The Handmaid’s Tale season 4 air?
Season 4 of The Handmaid's Tale is premiering on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. For the first week back, Hulu will drop three new episodes at once. The next seven episodes will then drop every Wednesday, according to Deadline. In February, a teaser gave a peek into June's reality inside Gilead before the official trailer (below) dropped.
Originally, the new season was scheduled to premiere in the fall of 2020, but production came to a halt in March because of the coronavirus pandemic. Six months later, production resumed in Toronto. Before the year came to a close, showrunner Bruce Miller shared in December that filming for season 4 was halfway done.
This time around, viewers can expect 10 episodes instead of the usual 13, three of which will be directed by actress Elisabeth Moss, who stars as June Osborne. According to what Bruce told IndieWire.com, the decision to make season 4 shorter was "100% creative."
"Some storylines just seem to shake out as a 10-episode story, in my eyes," he explained. "It gives us a little more freedom because you can rely more on one propulsive element."
Who is in the cast of The Handmaid’s Tale season 4?
Season 4 of The Handmaid’s Tale will feature the show’s regulars:
Elisabeth Moss as June Osborne
Max Minghella as Commander Nick Blaine
Bradley Whitford as Commander Joseph Lawrence
Joseph Fiennes as Commander Fred Waterford
Yvonne Strahovski as Serena Joy Waterford
Alexis Bledel as Dr. Emily Malek Ph.D.
Samira Wiley as Moira
Ann Dowd as Aunt Lydia
O-T Fagbenle as Luke Bankole
Madeline Brewer as Janine
Amanda Brugel as Rita
In addition, Sam Jaeger, who portrayed American representative Mark Tuello throughout seasons 2 and 3, was added to the main cast. Viewers will also spot a new face from Netflix's The Haunting of Hill House. Actress Mckenna Grace will play Mrs. Keyes, described as “a sharply intelligent, teenaged wife of a much older Commander who rules her farm and household with confidence.” The new character will show duality with a “calm and pious” exterior while suffering from internal "turmoil."
Plus, new guest stars will be introduced like actress Zawe Ashton, who will "play Moira's girlfriend and an aid worker in Toronto." Actor Reed Birney also joins the cast as a new Gilead person June meets.
Are there any season 4 spoilers yet?
As The Handmaid's Tale fans know, season 3 ended with viewers feeling one part relieved and one part anxious. While June managed to free many women and children from Gilead, she's still there with a gunshot wound. But it sounds like she's only getting started.
“June is going into a very interesting world. She's on the run, she's got women with her who she feels responsible for. She's also bleeding to death, basically, at the end of season [three],” Bruce told The Hollywood Reporter in December 2020. "June has a taste of freedom now, and we're going to follow her."
According to Deadline, in season 4 of The Handmaid’s Tale, June is a “fierce rebel leader” but the risks she takes “bring unexpected and dangerous new challenges.” Her mission to get justice and revenge begins to consume her and even threatens to “destroy her most cherished relationships.”
This sounds like it could affect June's already complicated relationship with Nick. As folks know, June and Nick's daughter escaped to Canada to be cared for by June's husband, Luke. Not able to bear the thought of leaving her daughter Hannah behind, June vows to keep fighting for both of their freedoms. But will this prove to be too much for Nick? Just after the final episode of season 3 aired, the show shared a clip of them on Instagram with the caption: "Is there a future for Nick and June?"
Back in Canada, the season 3 ending with the kids coming off the airplane hints to greater things to come. The folks in Canada will play a bigger role in the coming season, per Bruce.
"The people in Toronto are as much a part of the story as the people in Gilead," he told TV Guide after the season 3 finale. "All the people in Toronto are showing us what June has waiting for her if she does ever get out. You're kind of telling those stories of possible routes for June, but it's not all going to be sunshine and lollipops."
He later elaborated with specific details to THR: “For Emily, Moira, and now for Rita, these people are living with the question of how much Gilead did they bring with them to Canada. That's what Aunt Lydia Ann Dowd said, 'Gilead is within you.' Which means you carry it around.”
And another couple who will be closely looked at is Commander Waterford and Serena. While many adjust to their new life outside the walls of Gilead, the two of them are forced to look in the mirror. "[It's] a marriage where they made so many compromises to a bigger idea, and now they're kind of left with the consequences of that, and the wreckage of all the lies they've told each other," the showrunner told THR.
Speaking on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Elisabeth recently shared that viewers can expect to see many of their favorite characters go through significant changes.
“With season 4, we kind of fulfill a lot of the promises that we’ve made over the last three years,” she said on the late-night show. “We get to see, not just June, but a lot of these characters really go to places they’ve never gone before and change dramatically.”
How many seasons will there be for The Handmaid’s Tale?
In December 2020, The Handmaid's Tale was confirmed for a fifth season. That said, it's up in the air whether the fifth season will be the last installment. But if the Emmy-winning show were to end, creators are more than ready to create a spinoff of Margaret Atwood’s 2019 sequel, The Testaments.
“We have not planned season 4 to be the end, but we also look to Margaret [Atwood]’s book The Testaments and know that that story takes us 15 years into the future,” Warren told TV Guide. “We don’t see ending it in [season 4], and I can honestly say to you, we don’t have a definitive out. But I think we want to keep the bar high, and it would not be a bad thing to leave the audience wanting more and then we could ideally shift into The Testaments.”
How can I watch and stream The Handmaid’s Tale?
If you want to catch up on (or rewatch!) seasons 1, 2, and 3 of The Handmaid's Tale, you can start a free Hulu trial. When the trial runs out, you can keep your subscription going for $5.99 a month.
All three seasons of The Handmaid's Tale are also currently available on Amazon Prime for $2.99 per episode or $24.99 for an entire season.
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