It’s time to return to Gilead.
“The Handmaid’s Tale” has put June (Elisabeth Moss) through the ringer over the course of three seasons of Hulu’s hit dystopian drama. She’s been tortured, battled a nightmarish theocratic regime and was separated from her child.
Season 4, which premieres Wednesday (April 28) on Hulu, doesn’t let up — but series creator/showrunner Bruce Miller told The Post that the real-world unexpectedly falling into its own dystopia (i.e. the pandemic) did not impact his plans for the show’s fictional dystopia.
“It did change it practically because of Covid; we were unable to move people around the way we normally do, and so we were producing the show in a different way,” he said. “But mostly this was the story we were going to tell. I think all the prescience of the project can be traced back to [the book’s author] Margaret Atwood. She’s the good guesser, and we’ve just been following her lead.”
The new season finds an injured June and her fellow rebellious handmaids recovering in a safe house after the dark events of Season 3, which ended with them sending a plane full of children from Gilead to a new life in Canada. June is now the rebellion’s fierce leader.
Her secret forbidden love, Nick, (Max Mingella), is back after he was sent to Chicago, and former Handmaids Moira (Samira Wiley) and Emily (Alexis Bledel) are in Canada trying to help the children, while Serena Joy (Yvonne Strahovski) and Fred Waterford (Joseph Fiennes) await a trial for their crimes — and the nefarious Aunt Lydia (Ann Dowd) allies with Commander Lawrence (Bradley Whitford).
At this point in the story, the series (already been renewed for a fifth season) has progressed well beyond the plot of the original seminal 1985 Atwood novel — but Miller said he’s still in regular contact with Atwood, 81.
“Luckily — and I don’t say this lightly — she’s my friend. I would take more of her time if she was less busy. Usually what happens is that I sit down with her at the beginning of [each] season and I walk her through where things are going to go,” he said.
“She is at this point just an excited fan. She’s sent the toddler off to walk and she’s just excited to hear how things are going in college. Every once in a while, she puts the kibosh on something, but usually it’s when we’re talking way before [it films]. So we maintain as close of a relationship as we can. In the past she’s come to the writers’ room once or twice a season to say hello and chat. Really, I’ve been on a lot of shows that are based on books, and this is the ideal relationship to have. She’s still very interested and supportive but doesn’t tell me I’m ruining it.”
Miller is also spearheading an adaptation of “The Handmaid’s Tale” spinoff book “The Testaments,” for Hulu, which Margaret Atwood released in 2019.
“We are working on it. I’m a little bit of a ‘one at a time’ kind of person,” he said. “But it’s a spectacular story and we’ve been able to talk to Margaret long enough that we’ve been able to lay some of the superstructure into ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ that would support us moving on to tell ‘The Testaments.’ Whether it’s its own show or part of this show, those are bigger creative decisions — but we are definitely moving forward and laying the groundwork.”