The Handmaid's Tale is returning for season 6 and in big news, it will also be the show's final outing.

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"It has been a true honour to tell the story of Margaret Atwood's groundbreaking novel and chillingly relevant world, and we are thrilled to bring viewers a sixth and final season of The Handmaid's Tale," showrunner Bruce Miller said in a press release.

"We are grateful to Hulu and MGM for allowing us to tell this story, which unfortunately has remained as relevant as ever throughout its run, and are in awe of our incredible fans for their unwavering support, and without whom we never would have gotten to this point."

The cast also released the following statement in line with the announcement: "When we started this journey in season 1, we bore no more. In season 2, we reclaimed our name. In season 3, we set ourselves free. In season 4, we prayed together. In season 5, you'll see how some sins can't be washed away.

"And as to season 6, our sixth and final season, well, you'll just have to wait and see. We can't thank you enough for supporting the show over the years. Much love to you all. Under his eye."

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Elisabeth Moss in The Handmaid's Tale season 5.
Elisabeth Moss in The Handmaid's Tale. Hulu

Speaking to Business Insider, star Elisabeth Moss (June) said that season 6 is "absolutely for the fans".

"It's definitely for our audience," she added. "It's definitely for the people that have stuck with us for five seasons, and we're kind of making this one for them."

But Miller isn't finished with Atwood's writing just yet.

A follow-up series, based on her latest work The Testaments, is "actively being developed", according to Deadline. The book picks up six years after the events of THT.

But before we get there, we've got the final season of the current series to go. Read on for everything you need to know.

*Spoilers ahead for The Handmaids Tale season 5*

The Handmaid's Tale season 6 release date speculation: When could it air?

Ann Dowd in The Handmaid's Tale
Ann Dowd in The Handmaid's Tale. Channel 4

After experiencing delays due to the SAG-AFRA writers' strike, things were pushed back for the sixth season of The Handmaid's Tale, but we now have a confirmed release window.

In an interview with Deadline, Disney Television Group President Craig Erwich, who oversees content for Hulu Originals, confirmed that the sixth season is set to kick off production this summer (2024) for an expected premiere in 2025.

The series airs on Channel 4 and Prime Video in the UK, and Hulu in the US.

The Handmaid's Tale season 6 cast: Who could return?

We'd expect the following faces to all return for season 6:

  • Elisabeth Moss as June Osborne
  • Yvonne Strahovski as Serena Joy Waterford
  • Madeline Brewer as Janine
  • Ann Dowd as Aunt Lydia
  • O-T Fagbenle as Luke
  • Max Minghella as Nick
  • Samira Wiley as Moira
  • Bradley Whitford as Commander Lawrence
  • Amanda Brugel as Rita

Ever Carradine, who plays Naomi Putnam, the adoptive mother of Janine's child who was previously married to Commander Putnam before becoming Commander Lawrence's wife (and taking his name), has also become a series regular for the final season.

As for Emily (Alexis Bledel), she headed back to Gilead to seek revenge for all of the violence wrought against her and every woman captured by the regime, but could she return?

"That character was not at the end of her journey as far as we were concerned," Miller told Entertainment Tonight, with the showrunner adding that the door had been left "open".

McKenna Grace, who plays Esther, the young wife of Commander Keyes, has also been speaking to Screen Rant about her fears for her character in season 6.

"I'm actually terrified," she said. "I have no idea what they're going to make me do. I'm game. Whatever they tell me, I'll do it and I'm game. But I am a little terrified.

"With that show, you never know. You truly never know what's going to happen. I'm excited to see what Esther's up to this season."

The Handmaid's Tale season 6 plot: What could happen?

Moss told Business Insider that she knows how the series wraps up.

"I've known for a while how it was going to end, so I don't think I can say anything," she said. "I'm too scared to say the wrong thing accidentally. I'm too nervous."

Speaking about his hopes for the final season, Miller said: "I just want it to be a solid season. But I also have been watching other shows end successfully or unsuccessfully, and I've got to take those lessons.

"I just want every episode to be solid, and therefore I want every scene to be solid. And that's all I'm thinking about. And if it doesn't feel like the finale of a show, that's okay. The beginning of it didn't feel like the beginning of a show either."

Handmaid's Tale
The Handmaid's Tale. Channel 4

At the end of season 5, June and Serena crossed paths on a train heading to Vancouver – and hopefully onwards to Hawaii – which raises questions about what their dynamic will look like in the next chapter. Will they unite and crucially, will they defeat Gilead?

"When we played out Serena's story, it seemed so logical, given June's story, that they'd probably end up in the same place," Miller told The Hollywood Reporter. "They're both trying to anonymously flee Toronto among a crowd of people. How many options do you have?

"I thought this is where Serena would end up before I thought this was where June would end up. It did feel like they were not running toward each other but running toward the same spot."

But while June is currently free, Luke has been captured after handing himself in to spare her and Nichole, leaving his future cloaked in uncertainty. Will he be able to escape and rejoin June in her efforts to defeat the regime?

There's also Nick, who found himself in hot water after assaulting Commander Lawrence. And his pregnant wife has also chosen to distance herself from him.

"[With] Nick, the problem is he tries to stay out of trouble, and now he can't because the thing that's pulling him back to trouble is June," Miller told Entertainment Weekly.

"I feel like this is the most romantic Nick/June season ever because they spend the whole time trying to convince themselves that they don't need to be together. And by the end, they are not successful at all, they fail entirely... but they're so in love, they can't think about anything else."

Nick Handmaid's Tale
Nick in The Handmaid's Tale. Hulu

And we can't forget Janine, who has been taken by The Eyes, leaving Aunt Lydia heartbroken.

"Janine is channeling her inner June, and look at the consequences," Miller told EW. "But being picked up by The Eyes can mean a lot of things. They have for a long time wanted Janine to be useful and reproductive, and if she isn't doing that at the Red Centre, they will move her somewhere else. And they're not very polite about it.

"But she also could just get pulled out and shot in the middle of the street. It's that kind of place."

Is there a trailer for The Handmaid's Tale season 6?

Not just yet! Expect a trailer closer to the release date in 2025.

The Handmaid's Tale airs on Channel 4 and Prime Video in the UK – you can sign up now for a free 30-day Prime Video trial.

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