The Handmaid’s Tale star Alexis Bledel written out of season five in shocking way

The Handmaid’s Tale is finally back on our screens after a long wait, and fans were thrilled to be reunited with the likes of Elisabeth Moss’ June, Yvonne Strahovski’s Serena, Ann Dowd’s Aunt Lydia and more.

MORE: The Handmaid’s Tale’s future beyond season five revealed – fans have major reaction

It was confirmed earlier this year that Alexis Bledel wouldn’t be returning to the dystopian drama for season five, so how did they write out her character, Emily Malek? Find out here…

WATCH: See the trailer for The Handmaid’s Tale season five

Emily, or Ofglen as she is known in Gilead, was last seen in the season four finale, during which she, June and other former handmaids exacted their revenge on Gilead abuser Fred Waterford, played by Joseph Fiennes.

MORE: 13 heartbreaking The Handmaid’s Tale moments, ranked 

MORE: The Handmaid’s Tale season 5: How to watch the new series in the UK

The first episode of the season catches up with June in the immediate aftermath, when she and her fellow handmaids are reliving and reflecting on the attack against June’s commander. However, June quickly realises that Emily is missing and she seeks out her friend and fellow survivor at her home.

It has been revealed that Emily has returned to Gilead

When Emily’s wife Sylvia, played by Clea DuVall, answers the door, she is told that Emily decided to go back to Gilead to fight and to find Aunt Lydia and that she called to say goodbye to her family, including her young son Oliver. “It’s what she needed to do,” Sylvia says as June panics and insists that she can “fix this”.

It’s clear that June feels like what Emily did is her fault, but Sylvia tells her there’s nothing to be done. “It doesn’t matter, she’s gone,” she says dejectedly.

Alexis played the key character on the show since its first season in 2017

Given the fact that Emily has not been killed off, it’s clear that the door remains open for Alexis to return to the show if she wishes to in the future.

The Gilmore Girls star played the key character on the show since its first season in 2017 and during her four-year run on the show, she received four Emmy nominations and one win for her performance. However, she shocked fans back in May when she announced that she would be stepping away from the show. “After much thought, I felt I had to step away from The Handmaid’s Tale at this time,” the actress said in a cryptic statement.

MORE: The Handmaid’s Tale adds new cast member for season five after Alexis Bledel’s surprise exit

“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.”

Alexis recently hit the headlines after she announced that she was splitting from her husband of eight years, Mad Men star Vincent Kartheiser. The former couple welcomed a baby boy in 2015, just one year after walking down the aisle together in the Californian town of Ojai.

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