The Handmaid’s Tale season 4: why this adrenaline-fuelled trailer changes everything we know so far

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This Margaret Atwood-approved trailer for The Handmaid’s Tale season four changes everything we know about June’s story, and here’s why.

For a very long time now, myself and other fans of The Handmaid’s Tale have agonised over June’s lack of impetus. She’s sat in her cell-like room, she’s stared at the walls, she’s escaped and been recaptured, she’s escaped again and chosen to walk willingly back into Gilead… and she’s driven us all half-mad in the process, too.

Now, though, the trailer for the Channel 4 show’s fourth season has landed, and it has ushered in a whole new side of Elisabeth Moss’ character. Praise be. 

What happens in The Handmaid’s Tale season 4 trailer?

Prepare yourselves, loyal viewers; no longer does our eponymous Handmaid sit and scheme silently in her head. No more does she content herself with merely scowling and glowering at the camera when she’s pissed off. Oh no.

Nowadays, she’s a fierce rebel leader akin to The Hunger Games’ Katniss Everdeen – and I’m 100% here for it. Especially when she finally gets the hell out of Gilead and into Canada (reader, I screamed). Especially, and I’m almost ashamed to admit this, when she full-on attacks Ann Dowd’s twisted Aunt Lydia.

Let freedom reign, and check it out for yourself below: 

What can we expect from The Handmaid’s Tale season 4, then? 

Of course, as per the official synopsis for The Handmaid’s Tale season four, June’s ascension to Mockingbird status (see what I did there?) isn’t exactly a smooth one.

In fact, “the risks she takes bring unexpected and dangerous new challenges. And her quest for justice and revenge threatens to consume her and destroy her most cherished relationships.”

Elisabeth Moss as June in The Handmaid's Tale production still
June will fight for her freedom in The Handmaid's Tale season four.

Well, it wouldn’t be The Handmaid’s Tale without a hefty dose of misery, I suppose. But which of June’s “most cherished relationships” does it mean?

The trailer offers us a glimpse of Samira Wiley’s Moira (aka June’s best friend) looking none too happy about something, a fair bit of Janine (Madeline Brewer) fighting at June’s side, and a quick shot of June’s (quite possibly doomed) lover, Max Minghella’s Nick. 

It’s also fair to assume that she’s going to come face-to-face with her beloved husband, Luke (O. T. Fagbenle), when she makes it to Canada, too. However, we imagine their reunion will be bittersweet for a number of reasons – especially as, based on the sequence of events as we see them in the trailer, it seems June is going to head back into Gilead once again.

Well, she has to save her daughter, doesn’t she?

Will June bring down Gilead in The Handmaid’s Tale season 4, then? 

Hulu renewed the hit drama for a fifth season back in October 2020, so don’t go into this 10-episode run expecting to see any clear-cut conclusions for June. 

And, of course, Margaret Atwood’s sequel, The Testaments, takes place roughly 15 years after the end of The Handmaid’s Tale – and it makes it abundantly clear that Gilead is still very much in operation, albeit in a weakened state. 

That being said, though, this trailer promises that the award-winning adaptation of Atwood’s first book is going to do away with June’s constant stagnation and usher in a new era of hope. Of impetus. Of action. Of… well, of change.

Considering this is a show in which nothing has changed for so very long, change is good. It’s what the people watching from lockdown don’t just need, but crave. And it’s what June bloody deserves, quite frankly.

How will The Testaments affect the plot of The Handmaid’s Tale season 4?

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, and twice the Gilead government tries to kill June as she’s living in Canada.

Could it be, then, that Nick isn’t doomed after all? And maybe their love won’t just survive, but thrive following June’s escape from Gilead?

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

When can we watch The Handmaid’s Tale season 4 here in the UK?

The Handmaid’s Tale will debut its fourth season in the USA via Hulu on Wednesday 28 April. Episodes will release weekly after the first three drop.

As for us fans in the UK, Channel 4 has yet to release a premiere. However, based on what has happened previously, it’s safe to assume the series will start airing at least a few weeks later.

Until then, this writer is counting down the days. Because this trailer has lit a fire in my belly and started a song in my heart, and I can’t wait to see freedom take root in Gilead after waiting so, so, so long. 

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Images: Hulu

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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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