The Handmaid’s Tale season 5 release date, cast, first-look images, and more

The Handmaid’s Tale season 5 finally has a release date, which means we know when we’ll next be seeing Elisabeth Moss’ June Osborne. Though, if you just can’t wait for the series to arrive, there is a first look to tide you over. The new pictures feature June and Yvonne Strahovski’s Serena Waterford, and from the looks of things, there’s serious drama ahead. The next series will pick up on that season 4 cliffhanger, with the logline teasing problems in store for June in the aftermath of the death of Fred Waterford (Joseph Fiennes). One person we won’t be seeing in the new episodes, though, is Alexis Bledel as Emily Malek.

We’ve rounded up absolutely everything there is to know about the new installment of the show right here, from who’s who in the cast to what’s known about the plot. That’s not all, either, so scroll on to get up to speed on all things The Handmaid’s Tale season 5. 

The Handmaid’s Tale season 5 release date

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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. 

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This all comes after filming took place earlier in 2022. Cast member Amanda Brugel, who plays Rita in the show, had shared the update on her Instagram account in February 2022 after posting a video of her on set for season five. Filming notices (opens in new tab) then went up in Ontario, Canada, under the code name Ruby Red, which is believed to be The Handmaid’s Tale. These suggested filming would take place in Brantford from February until March 2022.

The Handmaid’s Tale season 5 plot

The Handmaid's Tale

(Image credit: Hulu)

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

Mckenna Grace in The Handmaid's Tale

(Image credit: Hulu)

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.

We also expect to see some of the new additions in season 4 back as well. Mckenna Grace is thought to be coming back as Mrs Keyes, after she made an impact in Gilead. The star is well known for her starring role in Netflix’s Sabrina reboot.

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 trailer

Hulu has released a short teaser trailer, just two months before the new season’s premiere. In the brief clip, which can be viewed above, scenes of a vindicated June are contrasted with a grieving Serena standing over Commander Waterford’s casket. Serena can be seen messing with June’s head before the two finally come face to face.

In the meantime, check out our guide to the best shows on Hulu available to stream right now.

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