The Handmaid’s Tale Just Lost One Of Its Biggest Stars

This will be a huge chake-up.

By Vic Medina | Published

alexis bledel

Fans of Hulu’s hit show The Handmaid’s Tale are not going to be happy about this. Cast member Alexis Bledel will not be returning for the show’s fifth season, Variety reported. Bledel has been on the show since season one aired in 2017, portraying the character of Emily Malek/Ofglen in twenty episodes through the first four seasons. Her work on the series earned her four Primetime Emmy nominations, with a win in 2018 for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series.

Alexis Bledel issued a statement on May 27, confirming her departure from the series and thanking all involved for their work and support. “After much thought, I felt I had to step away from ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ at this time,” she said in the 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.” It is not clear exactly how the show will address Bledel’s departure. At the end of season four, Bledel’s character of Emily (a former handmaid) had escaped to Canada, but agreed to join the leader of the rebels, June Osbourne (Elisabeth Moss), in her fight against the Gilead regime. That seemed to set up a new storyline for her, and it is not known if Bledel filmed any scenes setting up her departure, or if it will be explained away without her.

alexis bledel
Alexis Bledel in The Handmaid’s Tale

The Handmaid’s Tale is based on the 1985 novel by Margaret Atwood. It tells the story of an oppressive regime known as The Gilead, which controls the American government and stripped basic human rights from women. Earlier this month, star Elisabeth Moss appeared on The Drew Barrymore Show to promote her new AppleTV+ series Shining Girls. During the interview, Moss revealed that filming on the fifth season of The Handmaid’s Tale is already underway, with half of the season already completed. That may be one of the reasons why Alexis Bledel released a statement confirming her departure — it was likely that once information began to leak from the Handmaid’s Tale set, it would have become clear that Bledel was not appearing. Moss revealed in the interview that much of the filming has been on location, promising it will be a “big” season. A premiere date for season five has not yet been revealed, although it is expected to be sometime this year, according to Glamour.

Prior to her Emmy-winning turn on The Handmaid’s Tale, Alexis Bledel won over audiences in her role as Rory Gilmore in the CW series Gilmore Girls, which ran for seven seasons from 2000 to 2007, alongside co-star Lauren Graham, who played her mother Lorelai Gilmore. They both appeared in the 2016 mini-series revival of the series Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life on Netflix. Her other TV and movie credits include The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and Mad Men. Needless to say, fans reacted to Alexis Bledel’s departure with shock initially, and then with thanks for her performance over her four seasons.

Bruce Miller created the TV adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale for Hulu, having previously serving as executive producer and writer on a number of hit shows including ER, Medium, and The 4400. It has won 15 Primetime Emmy Awards during its first four seasons. It had its most successful awards season in 2018, when it won Outstanding Drama Series and Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama (Elizabeth Moss), the same year Alexis Bledel won her Emmy. The series also stars Joseph Fiennes, Yvonne Strahovski, Samira Wiley, Ann Dowd, Max Minghella, Madeline Brewer, O-T Fagbenle, Amanda Brugel, Bradley Whitford and Sam Jaeger. Last year, it broke a dubious Emmys record, having been nominated for 21 Emmys and winning none.