The revelation was made at the Television Critics Association summer press tour, with the Emmy award winning series still part-way through season three’s first airing.
It has become a signature original series for Hulu, which claims that the show is the most watched series – original or acquired – on the streaming service.
Based on Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel of the same name, The Handmaid’s Tale takes place in the not-too-distant future and tells the story of life in Gilead, a totalitarian society in what was formerly part of the United States.
It stars Elisabeth Moss as a woman named June, who struggles in a puritanical society – an oppressive regime has seen women stripped of their rights and places fertile women into sexual servitude as ‘handmaids’.
At the end of the second season, we saw June had the chance to escape, but instead sent her baby to Canada with fellow handmaid Emily (played by Alexis Bledel), vowing to return to Gilead and only leave when her other daughter, Hannah, is safe.
So far in the third season, June has rebelled and begun to work with a network of kitchen servers to help save the children.
Meanwhile, despite being safe in Canada, Emily struggles to adapt to common freedoms once again.
Speaking to E! News about her character, Bledel said: “I think she’s a dealing with a real shock to the system, being back in a society that she recognises. She’s in Canada now…her family is there, so you can assume that she is going to want to reconnect, as of course they’ve never left her mind the whole while she’s been in Gilead struggling to survive.
“Now, she’s struggling to survive in a new way, fighting, sort of, against her own impulses.
“She’s been kind of hardwired to react to things, like guards with guns around every corner and things exploding, threats, things being taken away from her at every turn. So, without that aggression present, there is still all the trauma that lives inside her that she’s battling with, trying to process, perhaps better understand now in this new environment. Reconnection is so hard.”
The fourth season announcement was accompanied by a slew of premiere dates, with the third season finale set to start streaming on 14 August.