*Warning: This article contains The Handmaid's Tale spoilers*
If the fifth series of The Handmaid's Tale has sent you into a tailspin ever since it aired, then you might want to emotionally prepare yourself for this news because the series has been renewed for a sixth season.
The revelation will be bittersweet for fans as it will be the series' final season. However, all good things must come to an end and from the sounds of it, there's even more nail-biting drama to come.
Speaking about season six, Bruce Miller (the series' show creator, showrunner, and executive producer) said in a statement in following the release of the show's fifth season in the summer of 2022: 'It has been a true honour to tell the story of Margaret Atwood’s groundbreaking novel and chillingly relevant world, and we are thrilled to bring viewers a sixth and final season of The Handmaid’s Tale.
'We are grateful to Hulu and MGM for allowing us to tell this story, which unfortunately has remained as relevant as ever throughout its run, and are in awe of our incredible fans for their unwavering support, and without whom we never would have gotten to this point.'
The Handmaid's Tale, based on Margaret Atwood's 1985 novel of the same name, is a sci-fi thriller series which confronts ever-timely women's issues such as gender bias, women's autonomy and reproductive rights. Since it first aired in 2017, the show has continued to resonate with viewers, in an era of #MeToo and the 2022 overturning of Roe v. Wade.
In the last five years it has won 15 Emmy Awards, and taken home the award for 'Outstanding Drama Series', making in the first streaming service to do so.
Here's everything we know so far about the The Handmaid's Tale season six:
Will the cast be the same for The Handmaid's Tale season six?
We expect the cast of season six to mostly stay the same, with Elisabeth Moss (June Osborne), Yvonne Strahovski (Serena Joy Waterford), Madeline Brewer (Janine), Ann Dowd (Aunt Lydia), O-T Fagbenle (Luke), Max Minghella (Nick), Samira Wiley (Moira), Bradley Whitford (Commander Lawrence) and Amanda Brugel (Rita).
Alexis Bledel, sadly, won't be joining the cast the final season. Her character Emily was written out in the season five premiere, after it was revealed that she returned to Gilead. This followed on from her reduced screen time in season four.
Per Entertainment Weekly, Bledel issued a statement at the time, saying: 'After much thought, I felt I had to step away from The Handmaid's Tale at this time. I am forever grateful to Bruce Miller for writing such truthful and resonant scenes for Emily, and to Hulu, MGM, the cast and crew for their support.'
In September 2022, the cast of the series celebrated the show's renewal on social media. They highlighted that we'll have to wait to see what lies ahead for the series' characters in its closing chapter, and expressed gratitude to their fans for their continued support and devotion.
They said in a video clip: 'When we started this journey in season one, we bore no more. In season two, we reclaimed our name. In season three, we set ourselves free. In season four, we preyed together. In season five, you’ll see how some sins can’t be washed away. And as to season six, our sixth and final season, well, you’ll just have to wait and see.
'We can’t thank you enough for supporting the show over the years. Much love to you all. Under his eye.'
What's the The Handmaid's Tale season six plot?
In November 2022 Digital Spy asked Miller about a potential conclusion for the series, to which he responded: 'We’re going to wrap it up on our own terms. It’s something we never get with just the way the business is set up. And also, more importantly, not something everyone would give to the audience.
'The book is so frustrating at the end, because the book just ends. And everybody’s like, "How could you, Bruce Miller… Who do you think you are, writing more?" I’m like, "Oh my God, it’s all I’ve ever wanted to do, to write the rest." Because it’s like: what the hell happened?! Oh my God – it’s the most infuriating ending.'
As for how June's story will end, he stated: 'We have so many women through history who didn’t have names, who were never identified. They were there for a while. They told their story, and this is The Handmaid’s Tale – she told it.
'And then they disappear, faceless, into the mist of history. And that’s what the problem is: there are too many women out there who are just Offred and are just the Handmaid.
'But that’s the story we’re telling. In order to make it really this story, it starts when that kid is taken from her. And that’s when she turns into a Handmaid. And it ends when she disappears off of our radar.
'But she doesn’t disappear from the world. She’s a real human woman. Just because she’s not on our radar, doesn’t mean she doesn’t exist.'
Will there be a The Handmaid's Tale spin-off?
Aunt Lydia is a central part of the book that inspired the series, so it's possible that Ann Dowd could return in this new instalment.
Speaking about Lydia's shocking actions in the original book's sequel The Testaments, which was published in 2019, Dowd said, per The Hollywood Reporter: 'I was thrilled — let's get real on that — by what Aunt Lydia does and how she does it, her understanding of Gilead to its core and what will bring it down. What surprised me — and didn't — is how [she] got involved in Gilead in the first place.
Dowd added: 'When you play a role such as Lydia in The Handmaid's Tale, you search for a human connection that somehow explains why she would make the choices she makes.
'Now, you read The Testaments, and Lydia, being a family court judge, realised really quickly, "If I want to live and survive this world, this is what you have to do. Not only am I going to do it, I'm going to do it better than anybody so I'm going to be ruling the other Aunts."'
Is there a The Handmaid's Tale season six trailer?
We are a while away from seeing a trailer for season six, especially seeing as season five only just aired. In the meantime, we suggest you watch the season five trailer at the top of this article for a plot recap.
We'll continue to update this article as new information comes in.
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