The Handmaid's Tale Stars Bradley Whitford and Max Minghella Reveal Why They Stayed in Gilead

Season 5 of The Handmaid's Tale debuted earlier this week on Hulu with two new episodes that picked up the story in the immediate aftermath of June's (Elisabeth Moss) murder of Commander Fred Waterford at the end of Season 4. The season finds each of its primary characters in different places, at least metaphorically as both June and Serena (Yvonne Strahovski) deal with their new situations but for Max Minghella's Nick Blane and Bradley Whitford's Commander Lawrence, the season finds both men, at least physically, where they started: in Gilead. recently spoke with Minghella and Whitford about why their characters chose to stay behind in Gilead rather than escape to Canada and it turns out, both men have very different reasons for staying.

For Minghella, he feels that Nick stayed behind largely because Gilead is all he has ever known and he's still trying to figure out how to break free from the familiar world — even if he's struggling with it.

"I don't know that in Nick's case that he was a particularly fully-formed person before he came into Gilead, so I don't know if he knows anything else," Minghella said. "I think this is the only thing he's ever known really as an adult. And even though he's striving to find his moral compass and he has a very different moral compass than a lot of the other commanders in Gilead, I don't know if he necessarily has the tools or like, the intellect to know how to break free of that."

For Whitford, Commander Lawrence remained behind — and alive — because June inspired in him "a spark of decency."

"I think part of the reason that Lawrence is staying, that Lawrence didn't kill himself of basically causing Eleanor's death is that June has kind of inspired him," Whitford said. "I always say she's blown on the spark of decency with Nick and me and she's actually showed me a path to redemption that is going to be very difficult and very, very dangerous and really put us, I think, into conflict with each other down the road. But I think that's the reason that Lawrence needs to stay there, to see if he can do something to soften the horror that he helped to create."

Is Season 5 of The Handmaid's Tale the last?

Ahead of the Season 5 premiere of The Handmaid's Tale, it was announced that the series has been renewed for Season 6 — but that Season 6 will indeed be the final season.

"It has been a true honor to tell the story of Margaret Atwood's groundbreaking novel and chillingly relevant world, and we are thrilled to bring viewers a sixth and final season of The Handmaid's Tale," creator, showrunner and executive producer Bruce Miller said in a statement. "We are grateful to Hulu and MGM for allowing us to tell this story, which unfortunately has remained as relevant as ever throughout its run and are in awe of our incredible fans for their unwavering support, and without whom we never would have gotten to this point."

Will there be a sequel to The Handmaid's Tale?

As many fans of the series know, there is a sequel novel written by Margaret Atwood, The Testaments, and it was previously revealed that an adaptation of that novel would come once The Handmaid's Tale series wrapped up. It was recently noted that plans for The Testaments series are indeed still works, but details are continuing to be hammered out.

"The Testaments was an independent curveball created by Margaret Atwood for the series I was working on. I think she had had it in her head for a while. I tried as much as possible, and I'm still trying, to not really make The Handmaid's Tale about The Testaments," Miller shared about the new series. "The Handmaid's Tale should be good on its own and when it's done, it should be a nice little TV set that you put on the shelf next to the novel, and it hopefully adds to your enjoyment of it, and then you can move onto The Testaments."

The fifth season of The Handmaid's Tale is now streaming on Hulu.