Variety has reported that Alexis Bledel will not be returning for the fifth season of The Handmaid’s Tale.
Alexis Bledel played Emily Malek on the Hulu series, a former University professor who was forced to become a Handmaid after the rise of Gilead. Bledel has played the role since the release of the first season in 2017 but has now decided to depart. “After much thought, I felt I had to step away from ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ at this time,” Alexis Bledel said in a statement. “I am forever grateful to Bruce Miller for writing such truthful and resonant scenes for Emily, and to Hulu, MGM, the cast and crew for their support.” Throughout her four years on The Handmaid’s Tale, Alexis Bledel received four Emmy Award nominations and one win for her performance.
Production on the fifth season of The Handmaid’s Tale got underway earlier this year and series star Elisabeth Moss teased to TVLine last month that the new season will be their biggest yet. “I will say that the season itself is possibly one of the wilder rides that we’ve had,” Moss said. “We’ve definitely had some seasons [where], you know, a lot happens. Some seasons, not as much happens. I almost can’t keep up with [season 5], and it’s not lip service. I truly mean I almost can’t keep up with the amount of activity that’s happening.“
Nothing has been confirmed, but it’s possible that The Handmaid’s Tale season 5 will be the last. Jordan Helman, Head of Scripted Originals for Hulu, said last summer that while “the success of The Handmaid’s Tale remains paramount for us,” they also want to “close out that show in creative fashion that feels organic, so we are in constant communication, literally right now, talking with Bruce [Miller], Lizzie [Moss] and Warren [Littlefield], about what the best way to end The Handmaid’s Tale is. We haven’t landed on an answer… I imagine we’re going to be able to answer that question in the coming months.” As I haven’t caught up with the last season of The Handmaid’s Tale, I can’t comment on whether or not the departure of Alexis Bledel might have major repercussions for the new season.