The Handmaid’s Tale season 4: will The Testaments affect June's fate in the show?

Handmaid's tale season 4
(Image credit: Hulu)

Blessed be the fruit: Hulu has confirmed that The Handmaid’s Tale is returning to our screens for a fourth season, and we can’t wait, especially after that dramatic season three finale. 

The Handmaid’s Tale is perhaps one of the most influential TV series in recent history, with women across the world donning the famous red cloak and white cap to campaign for gender equality. 

It’s critically acclaimed too, winning multiple awards at the Emmys, Golden Globes, BAFTAs, and more, since its premiere in 2017. 

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? Season 4 of the critically acclaimed TV series, The Handmaid’s Tale
  • When can I watch it? Still TBC, but it’s likely to come out in April 2020
  • Where can I watch it? Hulu in the US, Channel 4 in the UK, and SBS in Australia

What is The Handmaid's Tale about?

Based on the novel by Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale is set in the US in a dystopian near-future, where a totalitarian theonomic state, called the Republic of Gilead, has overthrown the government. 

In response to plummeting birth rates across North America, fertile women are strictly policed, being enslaved as Handmaids who bear the children of high-ranking men (whose own wives are infertile) – one of which is our protagonist Offred.  

Seasons 1 and 2 of The Handmaid’s Tale introduced us to Offred, following her and the other Handmaids; some of whom join a secret resistance group in a bid to overthrow the state. 

With season three of The Handmaid’s Tale having just come to a dramatic end in the US and UK (on Hulu and Channel 4, respectively), we’ll likely have a long wait for the next chapter in Offred's story. 

To tide you over until then, here’s everything we know so far about The Handmaid’s Tale season 4.

handmaid's tale season 4

(Image credit: Hulu)

When will The Handmaid’s Tale season 4 be released?

According to Elle, filming hasn’t started for season 4 yet, so we aren’t expecting it to land on our screens any time soon. 

In the past, previous seasons have premiered in April 2017, 2018, and 2019, so we’d be surprised if it came any sooner than mid 2020. 

Where will Handmaid’s Tale season 4 air?

The Handmaid’s Tale is a Hulu exclusive, so that will likely be the only place you’ll be able to watch it in the US. 

That means US viewers will need to buy a subscription package; prices start at $5.99 a month, going up depending on which package you choose. 

If you’re not sure whether to commit, Hulu does offer a free month with its smaller package, so you can try before you buy. 

If you're planning to watch from the UK then the channel to watch from is Channel 4 – you can either watch the show live on TV or catch up on All 4 for free.

Otherwise, the show is also on both Now TV and Sky, however Now TV is currently one season behind, so we wouldn’t recommend this option if you want to watch The Handmaid’s Tale season 4 as soon as it airs. 

In Australia, The Handmaid’s Tale season 3 is currently airing on SBS, so that will likely be the place to go for season 4 as well.

Another option might be the TV streaming service 'Stan', which also has all of the episodes of season three so far on its platform. You can sign up for a free 30 day trial, after which, you’ll need to pay upwards of AU$10 a month to get the service.

(Image credit: Sophie Giraud/Hulu)

What will happen in Handmaid’s Tale season 4?

Beware: Handmaid's Tale season three spoilers below.

The first season of Handmaid’s Tale was based on the same storyline in the Margaret Atwood novel – every season beyond that has been the invention of the show’s directors, with Atwood acting as a producer. 

So, it’s really hard to say exactly what will happen in The Handmaid’s Tale season 4. Season 3 saw the burgeoning resistance movement begin to grow, culminating in a daring attempt to smuggle 52 children over the border to Canada.

Viewers watched in horror as June was shot down in the process – is she still alive? We'll have to wait until season four to find out.

The Handmaid's Tale season 4 will likely spell trouble for Aunt Lydia, who failed to prevent June's escape plan.

Much of the series has been concerned with June’s desire to reunite with her husband, who escaped to Canada, and her daughter Hannah, who was adopted by a high-ranking Gilead family.

There's also speculation that Hannah will be used against June if she ever escapes to Canada and is able to testify against her former captors Serena Joy and Commander Waterford, who are on trial for crimes against humanity.

Will season four see Offred finally track down her family (if she survived the gunshot)? We hope so; after all, The Handmaid’s Tale makes for notoriously bleak viewing, and a bit of respite from the doom and gloom wouldn’t go amiss in the new season.  

What about the Handmaid’s Tale sequel? 

Margaret Atwood, writer of the original novel, has just released a Handmaid’s Tale sequel.

Called The Testaments, it’s set 15 years after the events of the first novel (and season one of the TV series), and will be narrated by three female characters, one of which is Aunt Lydia, a vicious and vindictive character who 'trains' new Handmaids in the original series. 

According to The Guardian, the sequel is not "connected to the television version”, so we aren’t expecting it to pick up where The Handmaid’s Tale season 3 ends. 

Could it become a spin off in its own right? Only time will tell, but Hulu are bound to be influenced by the success of the The Handmaid’s Tale TV series up until now.

Olivia Tambini

Olivia was previously TechRadar's Senior Editor - Home Entertainment, covering everything from headphones to TVs. Based in London, she's a popular music graduate who worked in the music industry before finding her calling in journalism. She's previously been interviewed on BBC Radio 5 Live on the subject of multi-room audio, chaired panel discussions on diversity in music festival lineups, and her bylines include T3, Stereoboard, What to Watch, Top Ten Reviews, Creative Bloq, and Croco Magazine. Olivia now has a career in PR.