Prepare to delve back into the dystopian world of Gilead: acclaimed drama The Handmaid’s Tale is returning for a fifth season in a matter of days, premiering on both Channel 4 and Prime Video at the same time – the first time this has happened following Amazon’s acquisition of MGM, who distribute the show, earlier this year. The previous season aired last year, and since then there’s been growing fervent speculation on where the fifth series will take us.
Details of what to expect have trickled in in the past few months: 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, with Elisabeth Moss calling the new season “one of the wilder rides that we’ve had” in an interview with TVLine.
So what do we know about the fifth season? Though a fair amount of story has been kept under wraps, we know that it’ll follow Offred/June in Canada, where she escaped to during the previous season. If the escape to Canada wasn’t dramatic enough, season four 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. This event proves to be something of a flashpoint for June, as she becomes a more vengeful crusader against the oppressive regime she’s lived under.
I will say that the season itself is possibly one of the wilder rides that we've had
It’s safe to say then that season five will likely continue down the dark path of season four, with Gilead becoming an ever more bleak world to watch. June is set to get into conflict with Serena Waterford, Fred’s widow, as she realises what happened to her husband. And the dramatics 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 continuing for several more seasons, and would also like to adapt the 2017 follow up to Atwood’s novel, The Testaments.
Watch the trailer for Season Five below…