Everything You Need to Know About 'The Handmaid's Tale' Season 4
It's official! The Handmaid's Tale is finally back for its fourth season after a delay caused by the global pandemic. Here's everything you need to know about the gripping new season that will leave you on the edge of your seat.
Where can I watch The Handmaid’s Tale season 4?
For those located in the US, the first three episodes premiered on Hulu on April 28.
For those in Australia, the first three episodes premiered on SBS on April 29. Episodes will drop weekly and will be available to watch on SBS On Demand.
Who is in the cast of The Handmaid’s Tale season 4?
Season 4 of The Handmaid’s Tale will feature the regular cast:
- Elisabeth Moss as June Osborne
- Max Minghella as Commander Nick Blaine
- Bradley Whitford as Commander Joseph Lawrence
- Joseph Fiennes as Commander Fred Waterford
- Yvonne Strahovski as Serena Joy Waterford
- Alexis Bledel as Dr. Emily Malek Ph.D.
- Samira Wiley as Moira
- Ann Dowd as Aunt Lydia
- O-T Fagbenle as Luke Bankole
- Madeline Brewer as Janine
- Amanda Brugel as Rita
- Sam Jaeger as Mark Tuello
New-comers include actress McKenna Grace who will play Mrs Keyes, described as “a sharply intelligent, teenaged wife of a much older Commander”. Guest stars include Zawe Ashton, who will play Moria’s girlfriend and an aid worker in Toronto, as well as actor Reed Birney, who will play the role of a new Gilead person June meets.
How many episodes will there be of The Handmaid’s Tale season 4?
Season 4 will consist of only 10 episodes. "Some storylines just seem to shake out as a 10-episode story, in my eyes," showrunner Bruce Miller told IndieWire in January 2020.
Season 4 will be the most intense season
The Hulu TV series picks up where season 3 left off, with June now the face of the Mayday revolution, and her desire for revenge has threatened to destroy her life. According to the official synopsis for the new season, season 4 is said to bring some seriously tense scenes.
"In the upcoming fourth season of The Handmaid's Tale, June strikes back against Gilead as a fierce rebel leader, but the risks she takes bring unexpected and dangerous new challenges. Her quest for justice and revenge threatens to consume her and destroy her most cherished relationships."
In the trailer, June does a lot of running and even appears to seek asylum at the border. All we can say is - brace yourselves.
It will be entirely from June's perspective
In an interview with BAZAAR.com, Miller revealed that the new season will be entirely from June's perspective.
"The show is all from June’s point of view—all of it, including scenes with other people," he told the publication.
"Those are scenes where either she knows those people well enough to piece together what would have happened, or at some point afterwards, someone who was there told her what happened. Every single thing we see is something she either knows or would know, because she's telling us this story … The voiceover is her memoir."
Elisabeth Moss directs three episodes in season 4
Episode three is the first episode of the season directed by Moss.
“I feel like as June I've been so intrinsically involved in so much of this show from the very beginning, that I know it so well. So, it exists in my bones, this show,” Moss explained in an interview with SBS.
Miller added: "I think the thing that Lizzie did that was so amazing is she directed as Lizzie, she didn't try to be somebody else. It was more an extension of how she prepares as an actress, and how she works as a producer, to be a director.
"She is a generational talent in terms of being an actress. She's just remarkable and unique. And she brought that to her directing. She was Elisabeth Moss, with those years of television experience, with those years of acting experience, bringing those things to bear.”
Season 4 will be set in Chicago
All previous seasons were based around the Greater Boston area and had a home base - season one and two were the Waterford House, and season three was Commander Lawrence’s House. Now, season four says goodbye to the Greater Boston area and the idea of the “claustrophobic” home base, and moves to Chicago where there’s freedom and no boundaries. It’s symbolic of June’s passion, drive and relentless pursuit for change.
10 interesting facts about The Handmaid’s Tale
Now that you’re up-to-date with season 4, here are 10 of the most interesting facts about the show’s previous seasons.
1. All the horrible events are based on facts
The dystopian future depicted in the series may seem inconceivable in reality, but Margaret Atwood, the author of the book on which The Handmaid’s Tale is based, said all the atrocities are based on events humans had historically committed. "I made a rule for myself: I would not include anything that human beings had not already done in some other place or time, or for which the technology did not already exist," she wrote in a 2012 essay for The Guardian.
2. Elisabeth Moss films the show without makeup
In an interview with Time, Atwood said Moss filmed the series without makeup. "Bruce Miller, who is the showrunner and chief writer, said he felt that it allowed the acting to be more direct and because every little twitch and twinge was visible.”
3. The costume colours dedicated the entire show’s colour palette
Production designer Julie Berghoff, said Offred’s room was white to evoke the feeling of sanitarium, while Serena Joy’s spaces were decorated rich blues.
4. Serena Joy gave birth to her first child while season 3 was being filmed
Australian actress Yvonne Strahovski, who plays Serena Joy, was pregnant with her first child and returned to work just seven weeks after giving birth. "Everyone was pretty well into the fifth episode when I got back, so we were playing catch-up on the Serena Joy scenes that we hadn’t done yet”, she said in an interview. "It was an opportunity to work with these beautiful colors in the caste system," Berghoff told Architectural Digest. "I basically almost designed each room specifically for that character."
5. Joseph Fiennes had a brutal scene removed from the show
Joseph Fiennes, who plays the cowardly Commander Fred Waterford in the series, recently revealed that he fought hard to have a brutal scene removed from the final cut of an episode in season 2. The scene saw Fred rape his wife, Serena, during a trip to Washington. "It just felt like an idea to push the misogyny, and I felt it was all already there. It didn't need to be so brutally illustrated”, he said.
6. Offred’s ear tag number is a subtle nod to Margaret Atwood’s book
In the series, each handmaid is implanted with an ear tag bearing their ID number—not dissimilar to cattle at a farm. Offred’s identification digits are 1985, which is the year the original Atwood’s novel was first published.
7. The series is filmed in Canada
The set of Gilead is actually in Toronto, which is ironic as Canada is the free nation that handmaids flee to in the series. If you’re looking to embark on the dystopian holiday of your dreams, you can actually visit most of the filming spots in and around Toronto—like the Church of St. Aidan, which is used as the Red Centre in the series.
8. Margaret Atwood had a cameo in episode one
To kick off the first-ever episode of The Handmaid’s Tale, Atwood, who serves as a consulting producer on the show, played the role of an aunt who slapped Offred across the face for stepping out of line.
9. The Commander’s artworks mimic those in the Museum of Fine Arts
Fans of the series often praise the incredible attention to detail the writers have when it comes to set and prop design, and the wall décor is no exception. “All the paintings on the walls of the Commander’s house are copies of pictures from the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, because the idea was that they looted them and put them in their houses like the Nazis did,” explains the series creator, Bruce Miller.
10. Oprah does a voice-over in the show
ICYMI, Oprah Winfrey lent her voice to the second season of The Handmaid’s Tale in the 11th episode, titled ‘Holly’. In the episode, Offred comes across a functional car and debates whether or not to drive away and leave Gilead behind forever. As she contemplates, the car’s radio comes on and Winfrey’s iconic is heard, “broadcasting from somewhere in the great white north.”
"The American government in Anchorage received promises of economic aid from India and China," says Winfrey, as an unnamed and uncredited radio host. "In the United Kingdom, additional sanctions on Gilead were announced, as well as plans to raise the cap on American refugees relocating from Canada."
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