The star's HBO comedy, which premiered in 2016, will conclude with its upcoming fifth season

By Morgan Smith
April 14, 2021 09:00 AM
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Issa Rae Insecure HBO
Credit: Merie W. Wallace

Insecure left many of its characters' fates — and relationships — hanging in the balance at the end of its fourth season. Now, Issa Rae, the HBO comedy's creator and star, teases that the show's fifth and final season will answer burning questions and include even more surprising plot twists.

Rae, 36, tells PEOPLE the plotline of Insecure's final season was influenced in part by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. "They're asking themselves, 'Are we going to be okay?' Because so much happened last season in their lives," she says. "We thought they would be faced with this question of despair, and that question will motivate them throughout the season." 

The series, which premiered in 2016, follows best friends Issa (Rae) and Molly (Yvonne Orji) as they struggle to navigate the tricky professional and personal terrain of Los Angeles. The cast also includes Jay Ellis, Alexander Hodge, Amanda Seales and Natasha Rothwell.

"I think the common instinct is when the show is over, the characters' lives are over, and we don't see them again," Rae says. "But remembering that their journeys will continue beyond the show really freed us in terms of writing [the script]."

Insecure
Insecure
| Credit: Merie W. Wallace/HBO

The California native says she's most excited for people to watch Molly's character development throughout the final season, but won't spoil any details. Season 5 has already begun production, and the series is set to return later in 2021.

Beyond Insecure, Rae's schedule has been packed with other film and TV projects, and a new partnership with LIFEWTR to support diverse creators in the arts.

Issa Rae
Credit: Courtesy of LIFEWTR

LIFEWTR's "Life Unseen" initiative has selected 20 artists to design labels for its bottles and is also running a contest (now through July 30) for artists to receive an opportunity to showcase their work, mentorship from Rae and $10,000 to fund future projects. LIFEWTR also teamed up with the Institute for Quantitative Study of Inclusion, Diversity and Equity (QSIDE) to examine representational blind spots in film, fashion, music and visual arts.

"I've always been about prioritizing underrepresented voices in the industry," Rae says. "Hollywood tends to be lazy in that effort, just by choosing people that have already been discovered and giving them the same opportunities."

Rae says they're looking for artists who are passionate and unique, as well as interested in "opening the door for others down the line, because it's important to inspire the next generation and show people that they can have the same possibilities."

Once Insecure wraps, Rae will focus on developing TV projects for HBO, HBO Max and Warner Bros. under a new five-year deal the actress and producer recently inked with WarnerMedia. 

One of those projects is the eight-episode comedy series Rap S---, which follows "the female rapper moment we're having in history right now, and [serves as] commentary on the culture," Rae explains.

Above all, Rae says she wants to continue making content that she would personally watch on her days off.

"I had a moment where I decided I'm going to create all the shows that I want to see, all the worlds I want to see," she says. "Now, I have the opportunity to collaborate with people I'm fans of to do just that … and that's a dream come true."

A premiere date for the fifth and final season of Insecure has not yet been announced.