When Will 'The Handmaid's Tale' Season 4 Premiere? Here's What We Know

The Handmaid's Tale Season 3 finally moved the story out from the world of the Waterford household. June has a different Commander now, Lawrence, who runs his house in a very unique way. She's no longer "Offred" either, but "Ofjoseph." But the Waterfords haven't gone far. The fight over June's baby, Nichole, and whether Serena Joy should have custody continues to roil relations between Gilead and Canada. And it's not over yet, as Hulu is prepping for another season to come in 2020. So when will The Handmaid's Tale Season 4 premiere? It's a good bet it might not be until summer of next year.

This is the longest Hulu has waited to announce a new season of the show has been greenlit. But then again, Season 3 began airing far later in the year than usual as well, debuting in June of 2019.

Season 1 premiered on Wednesday, April 26, 2017, with the first three episodes out of a 10-installment run. Season 2 followed in the exact same spot, with a premiere on Wednesday, April 25, 2018. It only dropped two episodes to start with a 13-installment season, leaving the final three to air after the Emmy 2018 cut off. Both seasons were only a week or so in before Hulu announced the next year was a go.

Series Trailer MP on YouTube

But with Game of Thrones' final season threatening to suck all the oxygen out of the 2019 Emmys, the streaming service decided to save Season 3 for the following year. Instead, the show used the final three episodes from Season 2 as the entries for 2019's Emmy nominations and held the Season 3 premiere until after the Emmy cutoff. The first three episodes of the 13-installment season arrived on June 5, 2019.

With the show debuting almost a full six weeks later than usual, Hulu did not rush out to announce that Season 4 was a go, either. Instead, the announcement came as part of the overall Hulu panel during the Television Critics Association summer press tour (known as the TCAs). It was part of a larger announcement for the 2020-2021 season lineup, so there wasn't much time spent discussing the particulars. But there are a few assumptions fans can make.

Hulu on YouTube

If The Handmaid's Tale Season 4 premiered in April of 2020, it would find itself in competition with Season 3 for Emmys. That's a less than ideal situation, and one Hulu would almost certainly like to avoid for its flagship show. Fans can bet on a premiere that comes after the Emmy 2020 cut off, most likely in the first week of June. Also, unless there is a decrease to 10 episodes, Season 4 will almost certainly run for 13 installments, with a three-episode premiere.

Finally, that there is a Season 4 at all is a bad sign for June. Speaking to reporters at the end of Season 2, series showrunner Bruce Miller said that June getting out of Gilead to Canada would be the series finale. If there' s another season to come, June's not getting out. At least, not right now.

The Handmaid's Tale Season 3 is streaming on Hulu now.