After Renewal For Sixth And Final Season, The Handmaid's Tale Creator Details Plans For The Testaments Sequel Series

Elisabeth Moss as June in The Handmaid's Tale Season 5 premiere
(Image credit: Hulu)

The Handmaid’s Tale is officially coming to a conclusion, which will mark the end of an incredibly successful era for Hulu. The dystopian drama made history back in 2017 as the first streaming show to win the Outstanding Drama Series category at the Emmys, and has kept going strong over the years. Hulu has renewed the show for a sixth and final season, but The Handmaid's Tale creator Bruce Miller has confirmed that the end of the road for June doesn’t mean that the stories set in Gilead have to stop on the streamer. 

Hulu announced that The Handmaid’s Tale will return for a sixth season less than a week before the long-awaited fifth will premiere, along with the news that Season 6 will be the end. While that’s sad for any fans who would have been happy to keep watching June fight for many more years to come, it’s lucky that the show has run long enough to hit six seasons. The Margaret Atwood novel from which the story originated was pretty much adapted in full for Season 1; the other seasons have outpaced the source material. 

With Season 5 still on the way, it’s too early to predict much of anything for the sixth and final season, although it seems safe to say that Joseph Fiennes won’t be around after how The Handmaid’s Tale Season 4 ended for his character. We can, however, look ahead to the plans for The Testaments as the sequel series. The project began development back in 2019, before the Margaret Atwood sequel of the same name was published. Now, The Handmaid’s Tale creator Bruce Miller opened up to THR about how the original series will wrap June’s story and The Testaments will pick up, if ordered to series:

The show begins and you know what it’s about — it’s following the story of this woman. So you know from the beginning that where you are going is to a certain moment in the story of this woman. It’s not the June Osborne Tale, it’s The Handmaid’s Tale and a certain time of her life when she identified a certain way. When that time ends, luckily, very fortunately, we get to go into The Testaments, which June’s story is a part of but not central to. It’s a perfect creative situation that we get to peel off but maintain our connection with all of our characters that we’ve built and loved, and all of the actors. The part that is heartbreaking and terrifying is to leave the actors behind.

It’s not clear at this point if Handmaid’s Tale leading lady Elisabeth Moss would be involved in The Testaments, but it is actively in development, so fans of the original can at least enjoy the possibility of a sequel. While not many concrete details are available just yet about the project beyond Miller’s latest comments, any who have read the book by Margaret Atwood can guess at least some of the elements that will probably be involved. (Notably: probably a time jump.)

Of course, considering that Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale took the story well beyond the last page of Margaret Atwood’s original novel, The Testaments almost certainly can’t be adapted directly from page to screen. Still, after Bruce Miller crafted the novel into a series that became a pop culture phenomenon despite how incredibly bleak and dark it could be, it seems safe to say that he’s the right man for the job of adapting The Testaments.

For now, though, fans can look forward to the fifth season of The Handmaid’s Tale. Based on the things we know about Season 5, it looks like June and Serena are on a collision course when the first episodes release on Wednesday, September 14 in the 2022 TV premiere schedule. Leading lady Elisabeth Moss previewed that “the season itself is possibly one of the wilder rides that we’ve had,” which is saying a lot for this show. The hiatus since the end of Season 4 lasted for more than a year, so if you’ve let your Hulu subscription lapse or need to get one in time for the new episodes, now is the time!

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).