"I felt I had to step away," the actress says.
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Emily is bowing out of the Mayday rebellion.

Alexis Bledel, who portrayed the defiant handmaid Emily Malek on four seasons of The Handmaid's Tale, is stepping away from the Hulu drama ahead of its fifth season.

"After much thought, I felt I had to step away from The Handmaid's Tale at this time," the actress said in a statement provided to EW on Friday. "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."

No further information regarding Bledel's decision was given.

Alexis Bledel on 'The Handmaid's Tale'
Alexis Bledel on 'The Handmaid's Tale'
| Credit: George Kraychyk/Hulu

For her role as Emily — also known by her handmaid names of Ofglen, Ofsteven, Ofroy, and Ofjoseph — Bledel was nominated for three Emmys, winning once for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series.

The last time viewers see Emily in season 4, she helps June (Elisabeth Moss) and the other handmaids exact their revenge on Gilead by brutally murdering Commander Waterford (Joseph Fiennes). Not much is yet known about the fifth season, but Madeline Brewer, who plays Janine, recently told EW things are going to get "wild." She added, "I truly don't know how to describe it… I mean, we're so much out of Gilead. And everyone is experiencing things that they have not yet experienced. Everyone's going through a transformative period."

And showrunner Bruce Miller previously told EW that the series will now be a bit like Sophie's Choice: The Series. "You're moving on with someone who's made these terrible choices. And unlike a movie version, we know what her choices were; we're in her pain and her trauma. So that's really interesting," he said of June's decision to kill Waterford, adding, "The story moving forward is about the long fight, and how do you keep up energy, enthusiasm, sanity, all of those things, while you're trying to fight for something that you may never see the end of, or you may never see the good from it?"

A release date for season 5 of The Handmaids Tale has not yet been announced.

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