Warning:The following post includes spoilers for the fifth season of The Handmaid's Tale, which premieres today on Hulu.
Saying goodbye to Alexis Bledel wasn't easy, says Elisabeth Moss.
Bledel, who played Emily on The Handmaid's Tale opposite Moss' June, announced earlier this year that she would not return for the series' fifth season. While there was enough notice for the series to adjust to her absence, Moss admitted that Bledel's departure was not ideal.
"I love Alexis. I’ve known Alexis for years, back from our Mad Men days. So, I love her very much. We were very sad that she couldn’t join us this year but I think she’s spectacular," said the actress. "...it wasn’t the easiest thing in the world to handle, I’ll be honest with you, because she’s such a great, fantastic part of the show. But I do think that it was handled in a really good way."
The Handmaid's Tale kicks off Season 5 immediately following the events of Season 4's finale, and June learns quickly that Emily has returned to Gilead to fight and "find Lydia if she can".
She might be absent for now, but the creatives behind The Handmaid's Tale were able to write Bledel's character off in a way that leaves the door open for her return should she change her mind. "That character was not at the end of her journey as far as we were concerned," said executive producer Bruce Miller. They "were mindful of that, from a practical standpoint, to [leave] that door open."
"I think we handled it the best way possible," added Moss.
The first two episodes of The Handmaid's Tale Season 5 are now streaming on Hulu, with new episodes dropping Wednesdays.
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Jade Budowski is a freelance writer with a knack for ruining punchlines and harboring dad-aged celebrity crushes. She was previously a reporter/producer at Decider and is a member of the Television Critics Association. Follow her on Twitter: @jadebudowski.