The Handmaid’s Tale, Hulu’s flagship original series, is on its way to a fourth season, expanding the dystopian universe that Man Booker Award-winning novelist Margaret Atwood created in her 1985 novel of the same name. The series takes place in a near-future America, now called Gilead, where the autocratic government assigns its female citizens to strict societal roles based on their wealth and fertility. Over the past several years, given how eerily prescient it all feels, The Handmaid’s Tale has become so integrated into real-life American political discourse that it’s not uncommon to see women dressed as handmaids at congressional hearings and other political events.
Hulu announced during the series’ third season that The Handmaid’s Tale had been picked up for Season 4-not much of a surprise, given its dedicated fanbase and popularity. While there’s a good deal of time before the fourth season hits screens, that doesn’t mean we don’t know anything about what to expect going forward. Here’s everything we know about The Handmaid’s Tale Season 4.
When will Season 4 premiere?
At a June 2020 presentation, Hulu announced that Season 4 of The Handmaid’s Tale was officially pushed back to 2021, as reported by Variety. By the time the streaming service shared the news, it seemed pretty obvious that the series wasn’t going to be able to follow through with its original plan to return in fall 2020, considering they were in production in March 2020 for only two weeks before they shut down as the pandemic became more serious in the United States.
Thankfully, production on the show is no longer shut down. The cast and Deadline shared that they resumed filming in Toronto in September 2020. By the end of 2020, showrunner Bruce Miller told The Hollywood Reporter that up to that point the show was in about the middle of production-but they have reached the post-production, editing point of some instalments. A 2021 release is definitely confirmed for the show, but looking at that timeline, it seems like late spring/summer is when fans will finally be headed back to Gilead.
Is there a trailer for Season 4 of The Handmaid’s Tale?
The Handmaid’s Tale may not have gotten to shoot Season 4 in its entirety back in March before production shut down, but they were able to get enough in to give fans their first glimpse of the new season with a teaser that dropped in June. (How appropriate!) The clip may not be totally new, pieced together with shots from previous seasons, but it certainly implies where the highly anticipated fourth season is headed. At one point June says, “We’re just getting started,” which sounds about right, as the trailer reveals June’s ploy last season to get children across the border into Canada was only the beginning of their movement. Now, it looks like she’s trying to rally other handmaids and allies to take back their lives and country. “Change never comes easy. This war isn’t going to win itself,” she says.
How many episodes will there be in The Handmaid’s Tale Season 4?
According to IndieWire, this season will be seeing slightly less of June and Gilead than we’re used to, as the show is cutting back from 13 episodes to 10. It’s not totally unheard of for the series since its first season launched with 10 instalments. According to Bruce Miller, the cutback is intentional. “From my point of view, [the decision] was 100% creative.” Meaning, they’re probably going to leave us with some sort of big cliffhanger intended to set up the following season that will probably be green-lit. (It’s also probably meant to save us from a few of those ruminating episodes that fans complained about in Season 3.)
Who will return for Season 4?
While we haven’t seen any official casting announcements yet, it’s pretty reasonable to expect most of the series regulars to return. The Handmaid’s Tale is, at its core, June’s story-so assume Elisabeth Moss as June/Offred will be back. Showrunner Bruce Miller even told Vanity Fair, “When June dies, our guide dies, and our show dies,” so don’t worry about her fate anytime soon. Moss added in a July 2020 interview with TVLine that no one should be concerned about her demise: “It’s funny, because sometimes people will say to me, like, ‘How is she still alive? She’s committed the worst atrocities out of any of the handmaids, and yet somehow, she’s survived. And my answer is usually, ‘Yeah, because… I’m the lead of the show. They’re not going to not have me in the show. So that’s why I keep surviving.'”
The rest of the cast should be surefire bets too, including Alexis Bledel as Emily/Ofglen, Joseph Fiennes as Commander Fred, Yvonne Strahovski as Serena Joy, Samira Wiley as Moira, Madeline Brewer as Janine/Ofwarren/Ofdaniel, O-T Fagbenle as Luke, Max Minghella as Nick, Ann Dowd as Aunt Lydia, Bradley Whitford as Commander Joseph Lawrence, Clea DuVall as Sylvia, and Amanda Brugel as Rita. Sam Jaeger who portrays American representative in Canada’s US-Government-in-Exile, who last season spent a great deal of time with Serena when she was in Canada before he ultimately arrested her, has also been upped to a series regular.
What about the showrunners?
Showrunner and executive producer Bruce Miller is again leading the series, along with Warren Littlefield, Daniel Wilson, Fran Sears, Eric Tuchman, John Weber, Frank Siracusa, Sheila Hockin, Kira Snyder, and Yahlin Chang. Elisabeth Moss will again executive produce, but THR announced she’ll also step behind the camera to make her directorial debut this season. She’s said to be directing three episodes.
Will there be new characters in Season 4?
It sounds like a handful of new faces are set to join the cast for Season 4. Elisabeth Moss told THR, “We have six regular [characters] in Canada now … we spent the whole Season 3 with June in a new house with Bradley Whitford as Commander Lawrence. Obviously, June’s going to need to find a new fucking place to live. I don’t think she’s going back to that house! It’s an opportunity for a new location, a new world, a new part of the world to show and new characters.”
Considering she was last seen successfully transporting dozens of children out of Gilead and into Canada, but shot and injured in the process-we can assume she’ll meet some sort of new protectors, allies, or enemies trying to get her back in line. Bruce Miller told THR that we’ll see a great deal of these new faces to kick off the season as June’s on the run, calling into question who she interacts with and who she can trust.
It sounds like one of the strangers she’s bound to interact with is played by McKenna Grace (The Haunting of Hill House, I, Tonya). Deadline announced her casting in September 2020 and said the 14-year-old actress is taking on Mrs. Keyes, “a sharply intelligent, teenaged wife of a much older Commander who rules her farm and household with confidence. She has a rebellious, subversive streak, and is calm and pious on the outside with turmoil, even insanity, on the inside.” While this is just speculation, she definitely sounds like someone June meets while out and about, and someone to collude with.
It’s safe to say that we’ll meet new people on the Canadian side, too, with people gearing up for the resistance and helping the children that made it safely across the border. One of which being portrayed by Zawe Ashton (Velvet Buzzsaw), who Miller told THR is playing Moira’s girlfriend and a Toronto-based aid worker. He also noted that Reed Birney (The Blacklist,House of Cards) is joining the cast, but didn’t reveal who his character is exactly.
What do we know about the plot of Season 4?
According to Bruce Miller, put all of your predictions of this season to rest, because what’s to come “couldn’t be more different” than what we’ve seen from the show thus far. It sounds like at first we’ll find June where the series left her: free, but seriously injured. Miller explained to THRthat “June has a taste of freedom now, and we’re going to follow her.” He said that because the season doesn’t start with June “under the thumb of Gilead,” it will be about her navigating her newfound agency and deciding what to do with it, since working for her cause almost got herself killed.
Aside from just where June is at in Season 4, it’s possible that her efforts in Season 3 will finally lead others on the show towards the rebellion that fans of the series have long predicted is inevitable. In Season 3, June and others were just planting the seeds for their rebellion-but this time around, it sounds like there’s no holding back on either side of the issue. Miller told THR, “Gilead, from their point of view, under their set of codes, is going to be ready to go to war over this.” It’s hard to say what that looks like right now, like whether they’ll build out an army or not, but June’s act of resistance of getting children across the border will probably not go over well with Gilead. Plus, now that the Waterfords are set to go on trial in Canada and potentially be held accountable for their actions, there’s even more reason for the nation to seek some sort of retaliation.
Since those kids are now safely in Canada, we’ll also likely see a bunch more of what’s been going on in the north this season. Miller told TV Guide that “the people in Toronto are as much a part of the story as the people in Gilead.” Season 4 will likely see Moira and Luke dealing with the realization that June was the one who orchestrated the children’s escape, as well as Fred and Serena on trial for their war crimes.
Also, it finally looks like Season 4 will also give Nick more time in the spotlight. Miller said to TVGuide that they had planned to develop Nick’s role more during the third season, but were unable to do so due to time constraints. Now, it seems that we’ll be learning more about him and his relationship with June.
Is this the last season of The Handmaid’s Tale?
Praise be: We already know that Season 4 won’t be the last of The Handmaid’s Tale. Season 5 was confirmed well before a release date was even announced for Season 4. It’s hard to say what Season 5 will be about, or if that installment is the last one of the show-but now well past the path Atwood explicitly laid out in her novel, the plot possibilities are endless.
Hulu already picked up the rights for a separate adaptation of Atwood’s recent TheHandmaid’s Tale sequel, The Testaments. So, there’s more than enough content set in the world of Gilead potentially coming your way.
Starting with the new moon on Sunday, January 22, this Lunar New Year ushers in the year of the Rabbit. We’ve put together a guide on celebrating the Lunar New Year in Australia.
What is special about the year of the Rabbit?
As you might know, each year has an animal sign in the Chinese Zodiac, which is based on the moon and has a 12-year cycle. This year, we celebrate the year of the rabbit, known to be the luckiest out of all twelve animals. It symbolises mercy, elegance, and beauty.
What celebrations are taking place and how can I get involved?
There are plenty of festivals happening all around the country which you can get involved with. Here they are per state.
New South Wales
Darling Harbour Fireworks When: Every year, Sydney puts on a fireworks show, and this year, you can catch it on January 28 and February 4 at 9 pm in Darling Harbour.
Dragon Boat Races When: Witness three days of dragon boat races and entertainment on Cockle Bay to usher in the Lunar New Year. The races will commence on January 27 and finish on January 29.
Lion Dances When: Catch a traditional Lion Dance moving to the beat of a vigorous drum bringing good luck and fortune for the Lunar New Year. The dance performances will happen across Darling Harbour on Saturday, January 21, Sunday, January 22, and Sunday, February 4 and 5, around 6 pm and 9 pm.
Lunar New Year at Cirrus Dining When: Barangaroo’s waterfront seafood restaurant, Cirrus, is celebrating the Year of the Rabbit with a special feast menu. Cirrus’ LNY menu is $128pp with optional wine pairing and is available from Saturday, January 21, to Sunday, February 5.
Auntie Philter When: Hello Auntie’s owner and executive chef, Cuong Nguyen will be dishing out some of the most classic Vietnamese street foods with his mum, Linda. All of Philter’s favourites will be on offer, as well as Raspberry Pash Beer Slushies and other cocktails being served at the Philter Brewing rooftop bar on Sunday, January 22 and Sunday, January 29.
Lunar New Year Festival When: Ring in the Lunar New Year with food, music, arts, and more on Sunday, January 22, from 10 am to 9 pm.
BriAsia Festival When: From February 1-19, Brisbane will come alive with performances, including lion dances and martial arts displays. There will be street food, workshops, comedy and more.
Chinatown Adelaide Street Party When: Adelaide is set to hose a fun-filled day celebrating the Chinese New Year on Saturday, January 28, from 12 pm to 9 pm.
Crown Perth When: Across January and February, Crown Perth hosts free live entertainment, including colourful lion dances, roving mascots, and drumming performances. The restaurants will also throw banquets and menus dedicated to the Lunar New Year.