Elisabeth Moss in The Handmaid’s Tale

The Handmaid’s Tale season 4: 8 truly brilliant fan theories to read ahead of the Channel 4 show’s return

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The Handmaid’s Tale will be back on our TV screens very soon. In the meantime, though, these compelling fan theories should keep us busy…     

Please note that this article contains spoilers for The Handmaid’s Tale. Obviously.

The much-anticipated fourth season of The Handmaid’s Tale is due to air later this year on Channel 4, and we couldn’t be more excited. After all, the last time we saw June Osborne (Elisabeth Moss), she was being carted off by her fellow Handmaids as she nursed a pretty nasty gunshot wound – all after helping a gaggle of children escape Gilead into Canada.

So what happens next? Well, we’ve no idea, quite frankly – although this recent spine-tingling trailer has made it very clear that everyone’s favourite Handmaid hasn’t just survived her ordeal; it’s inspired her to ramp up those revolutionary vibes, too.

As showrunner Bruce Miller put it during a conversation with The Hollywood Reporter: “I don’t think she has much hope that she’s going to get out alive. I think she’s more there to fuck up Gilead.”

While we’ll have to wait a little longer for new episodes of the award-winning Margaret Atwood adaptation to find out exactly what happens next, plenty of die-hard fans have taken to Reddit to share their theories about the series. And, yeah, you better believe that a lot of them are hooked off the author’s latest novel, The Testaments.

Here are just a few of our favourites.

Is Baby Nichole actually Nick’s daughter?

June (Elisabeth Moss) holds her baby in The Handmaid's Tale
June believes that Nick is the father of Baby Nichole, but is she mistaken?

The most recent trailer for The Handmaid’s Tale has dropped a massive spoiler in our laps; Serena Joy (Yvonne Strahovski) is languishing in jail until an apparent pregnancy sees her released into her husband’s custody.

If true, this suggests that – unless Serena entered into an illicit affair without our knowledge – the baby was fathered by her husband, Fred (Joseph Fiennes). Which would mean, in turn, that he’s not infertile, despite Serena and June’s beliefs to the contrary. So could it be that Fred, not Nick (Max Minghella), is the father of June’s baby?

As one viewer put it on Twitter: “Y’all if Fred is fertile… then there’s a small chance Nichole could be his….. and he could get a paternity test and have rights to Nichole (more rights than Serena even has) #handmaidstale”

And on that note… is Nick the son of Fred Waterford?

Oh yes, we went there.

As @shelle_dossantos put it on Instagram: “I think Nick is Fred’s son from another relationship hence why he has gained so much respect and the fact that none of them have reported each other for the scandals they’ve committed proves my theory.

“The scene with the angel wings when Fred called Nick ‘son’?… I think it was some kind of hint.”

Will Aunt Lydia betray Gilead?

The Testaments exclusive: Aunt Lydia takes centre-stage in Handmaid’s Tale sequel – and Ann Dowd couldn’t be happier
Aunt Lydia takes centre-stage in The Testaments.

Will Aunt Lydia betray Gilead?

Spoilers ahead for The Testaments, but it’s worth remembering that Atwood’s much-anticipated sequel to her original book shows us a very different side to Aunt Lydia (Ann Dowd). Indeed, it turns out that she is a source for Mayday in Canada, smuggling damaging information out of the country in order to bring about Gilead’s destruction.

Will we see this side of her in The Handmaid’s Tale TV series, we wonder?

… and will a reunion with Noelle tip her over the edge?

Noelle (Emily Althaus) is a flashback character in The Handmaid’s Tale, and was shown to have forged a close bond with Lydia in her life before Gilead. Of course, theirs was a friendship that ended in disaster; Lydia, after a humiliating first date, decided to report Noelle to the authorities, voicing her disapproval over Noelle’s dating life, and the fact that she is not religious. 

The result? Noelle’s son was taken into foster care, and Lydia never saw the young mum again. However, fans on Reddit have theorised that she will return in season four as a Handmaid, prompting Lydia to truly reconsider her role in Gilead’s machinations.

“I would love to see her come back and think it could be a key relationship in Lydia’s character development, helping it to more closely mirror Lydia in The Testaments,” wrote one.

Is Hannah set to become an Aunt?

As one Reddit theory states: “I think that the Marthas will take June and all the other Handmaids that helped somewhere underground to allow June time to recover. At that point they will be given the choice to join the full resistance or be taken to Canada. Most will join the resistance.

“Word will get back for June’s work, and an order for her death, but Lydia intervenes and through the situation they come to an agreement, where Lydia will bring Hannah to become an Aunt when the time comes, and for June to set up the network in Canada for Lydia to send the inside information through. Due to the upper commanders attempting to gain Fred back, they trade June for the Waterfords and attempt to demand Nicole as well, but Luke and Moira have sent Nicole into hiding with a couple underground. Moira keeps in contact with the couple and she and Emily start doing more for the resistance within Canada.

“This will allow [them to] eventually bridge The Handmaid’s Tale to The Testaments.”

the handmaids tale
Will Hannah ever escape Gilead?

Will we see the Pearl Girls this season?

The Pearl Girls, as readers of The Testaments will know already, are a group of young missionaries who are sent from Gilead to other countries. 

Their aim? To bring more fertile women back to Gilead, obviously.

“I can see us seeing the beginning of how The Pear Girls come to be [this season],” theorises one Reddit user.

Will June survive a second assassination attempt?

Look, let’s assume that June is the “mother of Agnes and Nicole” from The Testaments (because she very clearly is). If that’s the case, then we know she a) survives the gunshot wound she receives at the end of season three, and b) she will likely endure another attempt on her life very soon.

That’s right; in the book we see Agnes (aka Hannah) discover a file about her Handmaid mother.

It states: “Two elimination attempts made (failed).”

Hmm. At least we know she’ll survive, eh? That’s something.

And will Nick and June be reunited at last?

Again, we won’t give away too many big spoilers, but it’s worth noting that, in The Testaments, June becomes an operative for Mayday… as does Nick. Both live deep undercover in Canada.

Could it be, then, that their love won’t just survive, but thrive following June’s escape from Gilead?

If so, it doesn’t bode well for Luke. Obviously. 

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Images: Hulu/Channel 4

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.

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