‘The Handmaid's Tale’ Season 4: Here’s What You Need to Know
June (Elisabeth Moss) is back and ready to take on Gilead, no matter the cost.
It’s been nearly two years since we last followed June Osborne’s (Elizabeth Moss) tumultuous journey. And now, we're finally getting some answers about the former Handmaid's fate as she continues to fight for justice in The Handmaid's Tale season four. Will she win the battle against Gilead? And how will her relationships fare when she becomes consumed with revenge?
We may only be a few episodes in, but fans have already got some ideas for where season four is headed. Plus, from the looks of Hulu’s terrifying trailer, we haven’t seen anything yet.
The two-and-a-half minutes of footage features clips of June on the run, being captured and tortured. There are even glimpses of her friends (and enemies) such as Serena behind bars and a volatile fight between June and Aunt Lydia. As Waterford says in the clip, “This will start a war.”
Curious to know even more about season four? Read on for more details.
1. What is ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ about?
Set in the dystopian Republic of Gilead—a totalitarian government ruled by Christian fundamentalists after a global decline in fertility rates—The Handmaid’s Tale centers on June and her fellow handmaidens, a group of fertile women who are forced to bear children for members of the upper class who aren’t able to make any of their own. The Hulu series is based on Margaret Atwood's 1985 novel of the same title.
2. How did season three end?
In case you need a refresher, season three marked a major turning point for June, who turns into a powerful resistance fighter. After years of torture and abuse, she finds a greater purpose in Gilead, going as far as risking her life while taking a stand against an oppressive system. Towards the end of the season, June is on a mission to get several children out of the country. However, the show’s finale concludes with June being carried off by a group of handmaids after she’s been shot. Whether the children actually made it out remains unclear.
Although some fans were disappointed that June didn’t make it out of Gilead in season three, showrunner Bruce Miller explained that the likelihood of this happening anytime soon is actually pretty slim. While speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, Miller said, “She's not going to leave without Hannah. She's not going to leave without Hannah. I don't think she's considering leaving. I think June made the decision a while ago that she has a much better chance of seeing her daughter again, even if just seeing her again.” Makes sense.
3. What can fans expect in season four?
In short, a whole lot of drama and even more fiery resistance from June. In the new episodes, she plans to organize another uprising—but this time, she’s targeting a weak area of the regime in an attempt to provide a better future for herself. Unfortunately, it’s only a matter of time before June gets captured by Gilead.
4. June and Aunt Lydia will go head-to-head
During a virtual Television Critics Association Press Tour, Miller confirmed that there will be a whole lot of tension between June and Aunt Lydia, which comes as no surprise, since 86 children managed to escape at the hands of Handmaids under Aunt Lydia’s supervision.
Miller said, “We’ve got Lydia in this season in a Javert kind of position, where she is just obsessed with June and has so much of her personal worth tied up in what June is doing, and how much damage June is wreaking out in the world that she feels responsible for.”
He continued, “Although [June and Lydia] are kind of enemies in this story, they are inextricably linked. They spend a ton of time thinking about the other one and what the other one is doing. So it's fascinating to have two people who really would like to be both rid of each other but who are tangled up with each other all the time.”
5. Season four will also focus on how June channels her rage
As we all know, June is certainly not the type to stay silent and go with the flow. And even if she’s freed from Gilead, her anger over the injustice will most likely drive her to raise awareness, according to the actress Elisabeth Moss.
Per Elle, she revealed during the press tour, “So much of June's journey, especially in the back half of the season, is about a feeling of rage and anger, and about the desire to sweep things under the rug, the desire to say that everything is okay now…the desire to say that it’s all going to be fine and everything’s going to be all right and nothing was ever a problem and let's just forget everything that just happened,” Moss said. “June’s journey is sort of screaming into the wind, ‘We will not forget,’ and I think that’s extremely relevant.”
6. There’s more insight into the refugee experience
While speaking with Entertainment Tonight, Miller and executive producer, Warren Littlefield, revealed that fans can expect more of Emily (Alexis Bledel), Sylvia (Clea Duvall), Luke (O-T Fagbenle) and Moira (Samira Wiley). Miller said, "The show has an obligation to represent an accurate refugee experience, because so many of our characters are either trapped or they’re going to be refugees.”
Littlefield also added, "We have a lot of characters in Little America who have found some peace, but they’ve also found that Gilead stays within you, and you have to carry that forward, and just because you are in Canada to start the year doesn’t mean you’ll stay there."
7. Two new people have been added to the cast
In addition to the main cast members, fans can expect to see two new faces: McKenna Grace and Sam Jaeger. Grace, who you may recognize from Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House, portrays a teenage wife named Mrs. Keyes. According to Deadline, her character has a “rebellious, subversive streak, and is calm and pious on the outside with turmoil, even insanity, on the inside.”
Meanwhile, Jaeger, who made his first appearance in the season three finale as Mark Tuello, is returning as a series regular.
8. So, when does season four premiere?
Season four is officially here. Only the first three episodes of the ten-episode season are currently available on Hulu, but new ones will drop each week on the streaming service.
9. Will there be a fifth season?
In December 2020, while the cast was still filming for season four, Hulu announced that The Handmaid's Tale will be returning for a fifth season. Though the streaming service has yet to confirm a release date, we can estimate that it will premiere sometime in 2022. On Instagram, the official account shared a video announcement with the cast, writing, “The cast has a special message for you. Season 4 returns in 2021 …oh and praise be, we’ve also been renewed for Season 5! #HandmaidsTale.”
Blessed be the fruit.
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