The Handmaid’s Tale season 5: Everything we know so far, including the one star who won’t be returning

It took viewers a while to recover from that Season 4 finale of The Handmaid’s Tale last year. Now, after months of catching our breath, attention has firmly been diverted to Season 5, which luckily for us, was confirmed last year. So, what can we expect?

Much to our delight, Hulu commissioned the show for yet another series before we even got the premiere date of Season 4, which wrapped up with its tenth and final episode for UK audiences on Sunday 22 August, 2021.

As fans will know, a lot happened in the season, including the arrival of new teen handmaid Esther Keyes played by McKenna Grace and the brutal killing of Commander Fred Waterford by OG June (Elisabeth Moss).

And as the show continues into season 5, it seems the narrative focus will shift over to Esther, who is set to be “the new June” following June’s escape from Gilead.

The Handmaid’s Tale — “Milk” – Episode 404 — June takes a harrowing journey with Janine, trying to escape Gilead, as Janine remembers a stressful experience in her past. In Toronto, Serena tries to manipulate Rita, who seeks advice from Moira. June (Elisabeth Moss) and Janine (Madeline Brewer), shown. (Photo by: Sophie Giraud/Hulu)Sophie Giraud

Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Grace said: “I feel like there’s only one June. But there is the whole rebellion and there are all of these other girls. So, there’s one June, and I supposed there’s one Esther as well! We’ll see what she gets up to into the next season. I have no clue, but I have hopes.”

She added: “I think she [Esther] definitely can be part of this rebellion and the new generation of Handmaids. She will cause quite a stir.”

That, we can believe! But what else can we expect from Season 5?

Who will be starring in season 5?

The first real shocker of season 5 is that Alexis Bledel will not be reprising her role as Emily. 

Five years after earning herself an Emmy for the role of Dr. Emily Malek, a former university lecturer who manages to escape Gilead, Alexis announced her decision to “step away” from the series.