'The Handmaid's Tale' Is Coming Later Than Expected This Year

Julie Kosin
Photo credit: Hulu

From Harper's BAZAAR

Season 2 of The Handmaid’s Tale went out in spectacular fashion, with June deciding to stay in Gilead to rescue Hannah after seeing baby Holly (now Nicole) to safety with the help of Serena(!), Emily, and a host of watchful Marthas. With myriad possibilities open for storytelling in Season 3 (welcome to the rebellion, Commander Lawrence!), two new additions to the cast, and a later release date, here’s everything we know so far.

1) Season 3 will premiere June 5.

The Handmaid's Tale Season 3 is coming two months later than its previous seasons, with Hulu announcing today (February 11) the new season will premiere on June 5.

Hulu renewed The Handmaid’s Tale for a third season back in May 2018, just one week into the show’s Season 2 run.

Here's how Hulu's describing the new season:

Season Three of The Handmaid’s Tale is driven by June’s resistance to the dystopian regime of Gilead and her struggle to strike back against overwhelming odds. Startling reunions, betrayals, and a journey to the terrifying heart of Gilead force all characters to take a stand, guided by one defiant prayer: “Blessed be the fight.”

2) Get ready for Gilead's version of D.C.

Hulu premiered a Super Bowl teaser for Season 3 of The Handmaid's Tale, and though it featured very little new footage, it did offer a chilling preview for Gilead's version of Washington, D.C., complete with a large cross in place of the Washington monument.

3) Season 3 will be about June's fight.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, showrunner Bruce Miller said June is "ready to fight" to get Hannah out of Gilead alive-and damage the regime in the process. "She's ready to rise up, and ready to take some chances and use all the skills she's learned over the last three years."

4) Christopher Meloni and Elizabeth Reaser are joining the cast as guest stars.

They're playing a married couple, Commander Winslow and Mrs. Winslow, Hulu announced today (January 24). He's "a powerful and magnetic Commander who hosts the Waterfords on an important trip," while she "becomes a friend and inspiration to Serena Joy," according to Hulu.

Photo credit: Getty Images

Following Reaser's recent performance in the chilling Haunting of Hill House and Meloni's manic energy on Happy! (not to mention his iconic role on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit), this pairing is instantly intriguing. I'd love to see Meloni go head-to-head with Bradley Whitford's Commander Lawrence.

5) The show will chronicle Emily and Nicole's escape out of Gilead.

Miller confirmed to CNN that we'd see their journey, though he didn't explicitly say whether or not they'd make it, necessarily. "There's a lot of people who want her, including the whole country of Gilead-if she happens to get out," he said. "She's the next generation that they're all doing all of this for."

CNN reports Miller also said that Serena might be having some regrets about her decision to let Nicole go.

6) Aunt Lydia's alive!

Producer Warren Littlefield confirmed to EW that Aunt Lydia survived Emily's knife attack, and actress Ann Dowd will return for Season 3. Miller told CNN that the incident will "transform" Lydia. (Hopefully this means we'll finally get her backstory!)

Photo credit: Hulu

7) Commander Lawrence will be back.

In an interview with reporters, Miller said (per CNN), that Whitford's unnerving yet shockingly rebellious Commander Lawrence, “the architect of Gilead’s economy,” will get a lot more screen time in Season 3. "You never know what he's willing to do and what he's not willing to do," Miller said, expanding on Lawrence's erratic behavior in his interview with THR: "He seems a little gone, with a glint in his eye. So that makes him very tough to predict, what he's going to do. He can be helpful, or not so helpful. That's the kind of character we like, someone who is interesting and consistent, but in the end, unpredictable in some really basic and important ways."

8) As will Rita, of course.

The hero of the finale will hopefully get more screen time in Season 3, and actress Amanda Brugel says she's ready for it. "At the end of Season 2, I know where she’s going," Brugel told Vulture. "Now I have her voice, so I’m ready to use it."

9) The show could ultimately have 10 seasons.

Back in January, Miller told The Hollywood Reporter he has 10 seasons planned out which would incorporate-spoiler alert!-the fall of Gilead, which Atwood describes at the end of her book. "The book starts, then jumps 200 years with an academic discussion at the end of it, about what's happened in those intervening 200 years. It's maybe handled in an outline, but it's still there in Margaret's novel," Miller said. "We're not going beyond the novel; we're just covering territory she covered quickly, a bit more slowly."

But in the newer THR interview, Miller clarified that he really just wants to tell a good story: "I don't like TV shows that dribble off or overstay their welcome," he said. " When we get to the end of Handmaid's Tale, I want it to be a beautiful piece of fiction, like the book, that you put a little bow around and you can put it on your shelf next to the book, and that it feels like a story well told from beginning to end."

Bonus: A Margaret Atwood-penned Handmaid's Tale sequel is coming this year.

Yes, you read that right: The Testaments takes place 15 years after the events of The Handmaid's Tale, though publisher Penguin Random House says the book is not associated with the plot of the TV series. The book is set to be released September 10, 2019.

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