We’re heading back to Gilead for the final season

The Handmaid’s Tale season 6: Everything we know about the Hulu show’s return

(Image credit: Hulu)

Praise be – The Handmaid’s Tale season 6 is on its way. The Elisabeth Moss-led show has followed June Osborne from the birth of Gilead right through to her latest act of defiance. Now we’re heading into the final season on Hulu, it’s sure to end with a bang. 

We may not have a release date or a trailer for season 6 yet, but the cast and creators have been sharing some insight into what we can expect. This includes showrunner Bruce Miller teasing where June will be heading in her final season, as well as how the show will lead into spin-off The Testaments, which is based on Margaret Atwood’s 2019 sequel.

We’ll be diving into this, as well as all of the other cast announcements and expected plot points in our comprehensive guide to The Handmaid’s Tale season 6. Although, before we go any further, take this as your spoiler warning. We’ll be diving into the ending of season 5 in this article so if you’ve not yet seen the show, proceed with caution. 

The Handmaid’s Tale season 6 release date

The Handmaid’s Tale season 6: Everything we know about the Hulu show’s return

(Image credit: Netflix)

Hulu has not yet announced a release date for The Handmaid’s Tale season 6. 

Given the fifth season only recently came to an end, we’ll likely be waiting a while. There have been no filming updates yet, but it’s expected production will start at some point in the new year. 

The first few seasons of The Handmaid’s Tale aired every year on Hulu. However, after pandemic delays during production on season 4, there have been long breaks between seasons of the show. 

The gap between season 4 and season 5 was around one year and three months. So if we’re following the same schedule, the final season could be released at either the end of 2023 or early 2024. Our money would be on the latter, though, given Moss has already shared this will be the biggest season yet.

“It feels like it’s going to be so long until you guys get to see anything else,” the actor told Elle (opens in new tab). “And I apologize personally for that, but every season we do gets bigger, and it takes longer to make every time. And because it’s the final season, we really want to make sure that it’s exactly what we want to do.”

The Handmaid’s Tale season 6 plot

The Handmaid’s Tale season 6: Everything we know about the Hulu show’s return

(Image credit: Netflix)

No official plot points for The Handmaid’s Tale season 6 have been divulged yet, but the cliffhanger at the end of season 5 left some pretty big questions to answer. Just a quick recap – season 5 saw Canada growing increasingly similar to Gilead with the authorities tightening control on its citizens. 

In the finale, June and Luke decided they needed to escape the country as soon as possible. However, things took a downward turn when Luke attacked a truck driver who tried to hurt June. The driver’s injuries were fatal and the Canadian authorities arrested Luke, leaving June to escape on her own with her daughter Nichole. 

On her train out of the country, she found out that Serena and her baby were traveling with them. Given the pair have been at loggerheads all season, this could prove interesting when the show returns. Elsewhere, Luke and June’s daughter Hannah is still trapped in Gilead, Nick has escaped to Canada, and Commander Lawrence is busy creating Gilead 2.0, New Bethlehem.

Miller said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter (opens in new tab) that he doesn’t expect there to be a big time jump when the show returns. “We don’t tend to jump very much in time,” he said. “And it’s simply because my brain doesn’t work that way. I’m like, ‘What happens next?’.”

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly (opens in new tab), the showrunner also teased that Nick and June have some unfinished business in the final season. “I feel like this is the most romantic Nick/June season ever because they spend the whole time trying to convince themselves that they don’t need to be together,” he told Entertainment Weekly. “And by the end, they are not successful at all, they fail entirely. They don’t even see each other in the last episode, and they’re so in love they can’t think about anything else.”

The Handmaid’s Tale season 6 cast

The Handmaid’s Tale season 6: Everything we know about the Hulu show’s return

(Image credit: Hulu)

All of the major cast of The Handmaid’s Tale is expected to return for the final season. This means Elisabeth Moss will be back as June Osborne, alongside O-T Fagbenle as her husband Luke. Max Minghella will likely be back as Nick too, who is June’s former boyfriend and confidante. Ann Dowd will also return as the conflicted Aunt Lydia in the new season too.

Yvonne Strahovski will be reprising her role as Serena Joy Waterford, who’s become one of the lead characters in the series over the past few seasons. Other returning stars include Samira Wiley as Moira, Bradley Whitford as Commander Lawrence, Amanda Brugel as Rita, and Madeline Brewer as Janine. 

Sadly some of the series’ original cast are not expected to be back after their absence in season 5. This includes Joseph Fiennes as Commander Waterford after his brutal murder in the season 4 finale. Alexis Bledel has also been written out of the series after announcing her exit as Emily ahead of the fifth season.

As the new season begins production, we expect more casting announcements to be made. Especially as we know the show is heading towards setting up The Testaments so there will likely be some new introductions on the way.

Is The Handmaid’s Tale season 6 the final season?

The Handmaid’s Tale season 6: Everything we know about the Hulu show’s return

(Image credit: Hulu)

Yes, The Handmaid’s Tale season 6 is the final season of the Hulu dystopian series. In a statement about it, Miller said that he was thrilled to be given the chance to end the show in a sixth season.

“It has been a true honor to tell the story of Margaret Atwood’s groundbreaking novel and the chillingly relevant world, and we are thrilled to bring viewers a sixth and final season of The Handmaid’s Tale,” he said. “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.”

However, while this is the end of the original show, a spin-off series is on the horizon. Atwood’s sequel novel The Testaments has already been snapped up by Hulu. Some aspects of the storyline will be included in the final season, while others will be incorporated into the spin-off. Details are still relatively light on this, but it’s expected to begin production after the final season airs.

This also means we might not get a complete ending to Gilead’s story, according to Moss. “I don’t think we feel an obligation to tie up the entire story of Gilead, especially not because we’ve got the sequel coming up in The Testaments,” she told Elle in the same interview as above. “So we do have the opportunity to continue the story.”

Check out our round-up of the best Hulu shows for what to stream next.

Fay Watson

I’m an Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, covering TV and film for the Total Film and SFX sections online. I previously worked as a Senior Showbiz Reporter and SEO TV reporter at Express Online for three years. I’ve also written for The Resident magazines and Amateur Photographer, before specializing in entertainment.


Persona 3 Portable: Nozomi (Moon) social link choices & unlock guide

The Nozomi social link in Persona 3 Portable represents the Moon Acana for the male protagonist, and is one of the rare occasions when the male lead has a harder time of things than the female protagonist – as he has to make considerably more effort with Nozomi. Nozomi ...

View more: Persona 3 Portable: Nozomi (Moon) social link choices & unlock guide

“Part of the Journey Is the End;” Marvel’s Avengers Seems to be Shutting Down

Whether it be purely the lackluster quality of the game or the general distaste for live service games, Marvel’s Avengers never truly found its footing in the two years since it was released. Despite the fact that both the Marvel and Avengers labels should guarantee a happy, comic-lover audience, ...

View more: “Part of the Journey Is the End;” Marvel’s Avengers Seems to be Shutting Down

Persona 3 Portable: Akihiko (Star) social link choices guide

Exclusive to the female protagonist, the Persona 3 Portable Akhiko Sanada social link offers an opportunity for the player to get to know the main party member even better, and even offers an exclusive romance.  Like any other S-Link, there are a number of reasons to want to spend ...

View more: Persona 3 Portable: Akihiko (Star) social link choices guide

Persona 3 Portable: Mamoru (Star) social link choices guide

Exclusive to the male protagonist’s story, the Persona 3 Portable Mamoru Hayase social link is the Star Arcana S-Link players can foster a relationship with. Much like other S-Links in the game, there are two main benefits to ranking up Mamoru’s S-Link. From a gameplay perspective, you’ll be granted ...

View more: Persona 3 Portable: Mamoru (Star) social link choices guide

Persona 3 Portable: Keisuke (Fortune) social link choices guide

In the male protagonist’s playthrough, Keisuke Hiraga is the social link for the Fortune arcana in Persona 3 Portable. Spending time with Keisuke and improving your S-Link with him will offer benefits to Persona aligned with the Fortune Arcana as well. Beyond the immediate benefits of spending time with ...

View more: Persona 3 Portable: Keisuke (Fortune) social link choices guide

The Minecraft Community Answers the Age-old Question: “Can it Run Doom?”

In the world of gaming, there are many questions gamers ask like, ” What’s the refresh rate,” and, “How is it already 4 AM?” But one is held high above them all, and that is, “Can it run Doom?” This question is usually asked of the most improbable hardware ...

View more: The Minecraft Community Answers the Age-old Question: “Can it Run Doom?”

Mark Hamill Hints That His Time as the Joker Is Over

Legendary actor Mark Hamill, acclaimed for his roles as Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars series and the Joker in Batman media, has recently indicated that he most likely won’t be returning to voice the Clown Prince in future Batman media. This comes courtesy of an interview with Empire ...

View more: Mark Hamill Hints That His Time as the Joker Is Over

Deadpool joins Marvel's Midnight Suns next week, adding new story missions

Chic-Fil-A’s Training Program Apparently Features a Familiar Fallout Face

Nintendo is reportedly increasing Switch production ahead of Breath of the Wild 2

Ex-Halo dev believes those who pushed for a better game ‘got laid off for it’

There are two clear winners in the PSVR 2 launch lineup

Naked Elden Ring Player Counter’s Placidusax’ Attack With Chaotic Results

Amazon Prime Video’s Invincible Season 2 Gets an Official Release Window

Upcoming Horror Reimagines Dracula as an Ancient Blood Goddess Worshipped by a Cult of Hippies

The Callisto Protocol Adds a Highly Requested Game Mode But Takes Away a Helpful Glitch

Scuf Reflex Pro review

Best PS5 games: top PlayStation 5 titles to play right now

Best Nintendo DS games: everything for the handheld you need to play

Man vs Paper Bag: BBC Shows Us How Far Entertainment Has Evolved in 50 Years


Top Car News Car News