The long-awaited fourth season of “The Handmaid’s Tale” finally has a premiere date: Season 4 will kick off with three episodes on Wednesday, April 28, Hulu announced Thursday during the virtual Television Critics Association winter press tour.
Hulu also dropped a teaser for the new installment (watch above), showcasing June (Elisabeth Moss) plotting to lead the resistance against Gilead after successfully smuggling 100 children into Canada with the help of Commander Lawrence (Bradley Whitford) and the Martha network in the Season 3 finale. “She’ll start a war,” Commander Waterford (Joseph Fiennes) tells Serena Joy (Yvonne Strahovski) in the clip. As you can guess, none of this sits well with Aunt Lydia (Ann Dowd).
Per Hulu, June will take risks that will bring about “unexpected and dangerous new challenges” while her pursuit of “justice and revenge threatens to consume her and destroy her most cherished relationships.”
During Thursday’s panel for the show, Moss, who makes her directorial debut with three episodes this season, said one of the themes of the season is power. “And what real power means and who has it,” she shared. “Power isn’t always what it looks like. Power can be dangerous. It can be something that is destructive. I think for June and Lydia, they’re both seeking power in their own journeys but perhaps in very different ways with different objectives.”
With June gone and conspiring against Gilead, Lydia’s singular focus is to track her down and do lord-knows-what. Lydia is in a “Javert kind of position where she’s just obsessed with June and has so much of her personal self-worth tied up with what June is doing,” showrunner and executive producer Bruce Miller teased.
The new premiere date is a return to old stomping grounds for the dystopian drama. Its first two seasons also premiered on the last Wednesday of April in 2017 and 2018, respectively, before the third season debuted in June 2019. Season 4 was originally supposed to premiere in fall 2020, but like everything last year, those plans went out the window due to COVID-19.
As previously announced, the fourth season will consist of 10 episodes, just like the first season but three fewer than each of the last two. Miller told our sister site IndieWire in January 2020 that that the truncated order was “100 percent creative.”
An April premiere, of course, also means “Handmaid’s,” which was renewed for a fifth season in December, will be eligible for the Emmys this year. Despite being off the air for 18 months and counting, the former Best Drama Series champ has never missed an Emmy cycle, thanks to Hulu shrewdly submitting the last three episodes of Season 2 that aired after eligibility in 2018 as orphaned episodes in 2019. That paid off with 11 nominations — the second most for a drama series that year — and three wins, including both guest acting categories. Ironically, the show did not do as well last year with its full third season in contention, earning 10 nominations with Moss getting snubbed. But with lots of series out of the mix this year because of COVID, don’t be surprised if “Handmaid’s” makes a huge comeback.
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