Everything We Know About 'The Handmaid's Tale' Season 5

What could possibly be next for June after that shocking Season 4 finale?


Hulu’s series adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s beloved novel The Handmaid’s Tale has been one of the most intense dramas on TV ever since it premiered in 2017-but Season 4 ended with what’s arguably its most dramatic finale yet. After Moira (Samira Wiley) took June (Elisabeth Moss) across the border into Canada to seek refuge where she had the opportunity to transition into a safer, somewhat normal life, June put everything at risk by violently killing her abuser, Commander Fred Waterford (Joe Fiennes). It came as a shock to Fred, since he thought he was going to be escorted back into Gilead, unscathed, after striking a deal to provide information in exchange of being freed of all charges-but he was instead met by a vengeful June, a handful of other handmaids, and their stones. Although, for viewers who have been closely watching June and saw the rage that filled her when Fred offered her an apology-only out of selfishness-his violent death seemed inevitable.

Like all of the decisions June’s made thus far, this certainly puts her in a precarious position. It’s fair to wonder what’s next for the rebel based on the character from Atwood’s novel. If you’re still reeling from that finale and curious as to where the series, showrun by Bruce Miller, is headed next, we’re breaking down everything we know about The Handmaid’s Tale Season 5 so far below.


Will there be a Season 5 of The Handmaid’s Tale?

Months before Season 4 came out, Hulu announced the series was renewed for a fifth season in December 2020. It shouldn’t come as a surprise, considering its flagship series is not only one of the streaming service’s most popular shows, but a major awards contender. Plus, there’s definitely a bit more of June’s story to tell. Praise be!

When will Season 5 of The Handmaid’s Tale be released?

It’s hard to say when we’ll be headed back to Gilead, but hopefully the wait won’t be as long as the two-year gap between Seasons 3 and 4. Considering the show typically premieres in the spring with one year in between seasons (Season 1 premiering in April 2017, Season 2 in April 2018, and Season 3 in June 2019) and the fact that Season 4 only aired when it did in spring 2021 because of how much the pandemic affected its production schedule, it seems possible the show could be back in spring 2022. Deadline reported that Season 5 is already in pre-production, so that definitely seems feasible.


Who in the cast will be back?

Season 4 ended with what has maybe been the most shocking (certainly the most violent) death thus far, with June and a group of handmaids killing Commander Waterford (Joe Fiennes). (Nolite te bastardes carburondorum, baby!) If you thought his story was through-or wished you wouldn’t be seeing anymore of June’s abuser-don’t get too excited. He’s actually confirmed to be back. Showrunner Bruce Miller told The Hollywood Reporter, “The character dying doesn’t mean Joe [Fiennes] stops coming and being part of the cast. We do have quite a heavy flashback show.”

Aside from him, it seems like the rest of the core cast should return. Obviously, The Handmaid’s Tale would be nothing without Elisabeth Moss’ June Osborne-and Miller has even said that the show will run as long as she’s alive-so she’ll be back for more. The same goes for her husband Luke (O.T. Fagbenie), her adversaries, the now-pregnant Serena Joy (Yvonne Strzechowsk), Aunt Lydia (Ann Dowd), her allies Commander Lawrence (Bradley Whitford), Nick (Max Minghella), Moira (Samira Whiley), Emily (Alexis Bleidel), Rita (Amanda Brugel), and U.S. Government-in-Exile representative Mark Tuello (Sam Jaeger).

The situation in Gilead is of course still culminating, so it seems likely that the series will revisit the characters in the resistance left there. That means probably expect to see more of Season 4 newcomer Esther Keyes, played by McKenna Grace, and Madeline Brewer’s Janine, who we now know are working together.

Sophie Giraud/Hulu
Sophie Giraud/Hulu
Sophie Giraud/Hulu

What will it be about?

Just after June killed Commander Waterford, she visited her daughter Nichole-telling her husband Luke, “Just give me five minutes with her and then I’ll go.” In that moment, Luke realizes that his wife made the decision to execute revenge over her family, and June is realizing in real-time what she must do and where she must go next. Right now, what and where that is is unclear, but it’s certainly where Season 5 is going.

Although nothing is confirmed, Elisabeth Moss speculated to Entertainment Tonight that June is “going to have to be on the run again.” That sounds about right, considering she’s now a murderer. Of course, there were no witnesses and she’s a refugee, but murder is still a heinous crime. Gilead will also probably put two-and-two together, and that would be a major concern for June, should she go back across the border. It definitely seems like that’s the route she’s going to take next season, considering her daughter Hannah is still over there, as are Janine and Esther. Now she knows exactly where Hannah is, thanks to an ally in Nick, and there’s essentially no turning back. Showrunner Bruce Miller told The Hollywood Reporter that “moving forward, that image of Fred is what June sees every time she closes her eyes.” So June is definitely forever changed by the incident, but she’s also likely going to continue to be absolutely relentless in carving out a better world for her daughters.

Fred’s death also greatly affects Serena Joy. Miller said, “It could push Serena to be a very sympathetic figure. It could push her into a rage that is inexplicable; it could push her into a level of freedom.” Although she grew to fear and dislike Fred, now that she’s pregnant, we can’t imagine she would be too pleased with what June did (and that finger she got in the mail). Plus, that’s not to mention June may still want enact even more revenge on Serena herself.

On a larger scale, that shocking death has major repercussions. The showrunner also mentioned that Fred’s killing has the possibility to be an incredibly symbolic moment for the uprising in Gilead, which could finally push things over the edge on both sides. Elisabeth Moss similarly said June is committed to bringing “the whole system down” in order to create a better future for her daughters, so expect to increasingly see the nation and its politics’ demise going forward.Want more Thrillist? Follow us on InstagramTwitterPinterestYouTubeTikTok, and Snapchat.

Sadie Bell is the entertainment editorial assistant at Thrillist. She’s on Twitter at @mssadiebell.


Where to Celebrate Lunar New Year 2023 in Australia

And what it means to be in the year of the Rabbit.

where to celebrate lunar new year australia

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.

Lunar New Year at the National Gallery of Victoria
When: Celebrate the year of the rabbit at the National Gallery of Victoria’s festival of art, food, and art-making activities for everyone from 10 am-5 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.

South Australia

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.

Western Australia

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.

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