Prepare to delve back into the dystopian world of Gilead: acclaimed drama The Handmaid’s Tale is returning for a 5th season this year. The previous season aired last year and ended in June, and since then there’s been growing feverent speculation on where the fifth series will take us.

What’s certain is that it’ll continue the story of June/Offred, the central character of both the series and Margaret Atwood’s novel. Production began in February of this year, and is set to conclude in July, with the aim of releasing the new season at the end of the year.

So what do we know about the fifth season? Unfortunately, for now plot details are few and far between: there’s been no trailers or synopses released, and the story of the new season has been kept tightly under wraps. However, it will almost certainly follow Offred/June in Canada, where she escaped to during the previous season. If the escape to Canada wasn’t dramatic enough, season 4 also ended pretty violently, with (spoilers of course!) June and several other former handmaids confronting Fred -June’s former master- and beating him to death.

It seems safe to say then that season five will likely continue down that dark path, with Gilead becoming an ever more bleak world to watch. But even if we don’t know concrete details, it sounds like the dramatic stuff won’t be letting up, with series regular Ann Dowd (who plays Aunt Lydia) telling The Independent “I’ve read the first couple of episodes and all I can say is they’re so good. I just didn’t see any of this stuff coming. To be able to get to season five and you’re thinking, ‘What?!’”.

Meanwhile, actress Samira Wiley (who plays Moira) earlier this year said “She [June] has resources around her now that she hasn’t had before living in Gilead. So, we’ll see how that will play out. How June can fight Gilead from within Canada and the help of her friends.” The series is certainly amping up the stakes, though it seems like it’s not ready to end yet: the show’s creator, Bruce Miller, has indicated he envisions the show continuing for several more seasons, and would also like to adapt the 2017 follow up to Atwood’s novel, The Testaments.

Though details are scarce at the moment, more info on the fifth season will be released in the coming months, ahead of the planned end of 2022 release date. For now though, if you’ve never seen the show (or need to catch up), all episodes are currently available on Amazon Prime Video.

THE FIFTH SEASON OF THE HANDMAID’S TALE IS SET TO RELEASE IN LATE 2022. WATCH THE PREVIOUS SEASONS HERE


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