'The Handmaid's Tale' Bosses Sum Up Season 4 in Two Words: 'Patience Rewarded'
By Stacy Lambe
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The Handmaid’s Tale is finally back with season 4 after being delayed a year by the coronavirus pandemic. The Emmy-winning Hulu series starring Elisabeth Moss returns with three new episodes on April 28. And creator Bruce Miller and executive producer Warren Littlefield tell ET that the wait will be worth it.
“Patience rewarded,” Littlefied says, when asked to describe the theme of the 10-episode season that sees June (Moss) continue her harrowing journey as a rebel figure attempting to rescue her daughter Hannah while bringing the oppressive totalitarian society of Gilead down from within.
Audiences will finally see the fruition of seeds that have been planted throughout the first three seasons. “We've heard about a rebellion in Chicago and that is heating up. Nick [Max Minghella] was dispatched to go deal with that, with that as he rose in power… We taste freedom and then deal with the responsibility of that,” he teases, before adding: “We’re reaping the benefits of that journey that we’ve been on.”
And for June specifically, as someone who has worked very hard for something and made absolutely every sacrifice to achieve it,” Miller says, is “realizing kind what she’s lost in Gilead and what she’s lost while trying to maintain her humanity.”
Here is everything to know about the series ahead of the season 4 premiere.
What the Series Is About: Adapted from the classic 1985 novel by Margaret Atwood by Bruce Miller, The Handmaid’s Tale details the lives inside the dystopia of Gilead, a totalitarian society that took over the U.S., with June (also known as Offred when she was first introduced) as one of the few fertile women forced into servitude and ritualized rape as a reproductive surrogate for her barren rulers, Commander Fred Waterford (Joseph Fiennes) and Serena Joy (Yvonne Strahovski).
Where Things Left Off: Season 3 kicked off with baby Nichole crossing the Canadian border with Emily (Alexis Bledel) while June opted to stay behind to rescue her oldest daughter, Hannah. Ultimately, she was met with many challenges -- the distrust of handmaid Ofmatthew (Ashleigh LaThrop), the vengeful eye of Aunt Lydia (Ann Dowd), and the Waterfords’ manipulative efforts to regain power and status in Gilead -- that reinforced her commitment to infiltrate an underground network of Marthas and come up with the ambitious Mayday plan to sneak children across the Canadian border.
In order to complete the rebellion, June was forced to stay behind once again. But this time she was joined by other handmaids, including Janine (Madeline Brewer), Brianna (Bahia Watson) and Alma (Nina Kiri). In the explosive finale, June was shot while several other handmaids and Marthas were killed. (Read a full recap of season 3.)
What Season 4 Is About: In the new episodes, 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. “June is somebody who has realized that freedom isn't exactly all it's cracked up to be,” Moss tells ET. “And everything that she's been through in Gilead and everything she's seen and everything she's done is not going to leave her.”
The actress adds, “She's also going to have to find a way to fight back and resist in a way that is, I think, going to be surprising even to her.”