When The Handmaid’s Tale returns for its fifth season later this year, it will do so without one of its stars as Alexis Bledel has announced that she is leaving the series.
Bledel has been in The Handmaid’s Tale since the very first season, playing Emily/Ofglen. The series is based on Margaret Atwood’s classic novel of the same name where the United States has been overthrown and turned into the patriarchal religious state Gilead, where women are without jobs and seen as servants while those who are fertile are forced to conceive children for the state’s commanders in order to battle the low birth rate. Emily is one of June Osborne’s (Elisabeth Moss) closest friends and confidants in their secret battle against Gilead and has been tormented in several ways throughout the show, namely witnessing her lover hung because of their same sex relationship and being forcibly circumcised.
In a statement to Deadline, Bledel said: “After much thought, I felt I had to step away from The Handmaid’s Tale at this time. 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.”
In the fourth season of the series, Emily was still undergoing therapy for her trauma after she escaped Gilead into Canada and reunited with her family. After June also made her way to Canada, she convinced Emily to hold onto her feelings of anger toward those in Gilread responsible for their pain. This led Emily to refuse to forgive the woman who turned her in and got her partner killed, resulting in their suicide, and took part in June’s orchestrated group murder of Joseph Fienne’s Fred Waterford, one of Gilead’s lead architects and former commanders.
For her performance as Emily, Bledel has been nominated for an Emmy award for Outstanding Guest Actor for each season and won once. It is not known yet how the series will address her absence.
Season 5 of The Handmaid’s Tale is expected to premiere on Hulu later this year.
Ricky Church – Follow me on Twitter for more movie news and nerd talk.