Alexis Bledel Exits ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Ahead of Season 5 (EXCLUSIVE)

Alexis Bledel will not return for “The Handmaid’s Tale” Season 5, Variety has learned exclusively.

Bledel, who has played the key character of Emily/Ofglen on the Hulu drama since its first season debuted in 2017, said in a statement Friday: “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.”

During her four-year run on “The Handmaid’s Tale,” Bledel received four Emmy nominations and one win for her performance in the Bruce Miller-created TV adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s iconic novel.

Aside from “The Handmaid’s Tale,” Bledel is best known for her starring role as Rory Gilmore alongside Lauren Graham’s Lorelai Gilmore on “Gilmore Girls” and the revival “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life,” as well as her parts in “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” franchise and “Mad Men.”

Airing its fourth season from April to June 2021, “The Handmaid’s Tale” follows June (Elisabeth Moss) while she strikes back against Gilead as a fierce rebel leader, but the risks she takes bring unexpected and dangerous new challenges. Her quest for justice and revenge threatens to consume her and destroy her most cherished relationships.

Bledel’s Emily, an escaped handmaid and refugee in Canada who was known as Ofglen when she was still under Gilead’s rule, was last seen in the Season 4 finale of “The Handmaid’s Tale,” during which her character bands with June and other former handmaids to get revenge on Gilead.

Along with Moss and Bledel, the fourth season of “The Handmaid’s Tale” stars Joseph Fiennes, Yvonne Strahovski, Samira Wiley, Ann Dowd, Max Minghella, Madeline Brewer, O-T Fagbenle, Amanda Brugel, Bradley Whitford and Sam Jaeger.

The series is executive produced by Miller, Warren Littlefield, Moss, Daniel Wilson, Fran Sears, Eric Tuchman, John Weber, Frank Siracusa, Sheila Hockin, Kira Snyder and Yahlin Chang.

“The Handmaid’s Tale” hails from MGM Television and is internationally distributed by MGM.

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