Warning: This article contains spoilers about This Is Us season 3
At a This Is Us For-Your-Consideration Emmy event, series creator Dan Fogelman informed the crowd at the Ace Hotel Theatre in downtown Los Angeles that he knows exactly how the series will end.
“We’re pretty far out. Our writers and I are kind of to the end. We know where it ends and we have a path for each season of the show. We’ve always had a plan. We didn’t want to get stuck. We had the kids and the timelines, and had to have a plan. I don’t think this show despite any success it may or may not have, will overstay its welcome,” said Fogelman to a packed house tonight. Though Fogelman didn’t give a number in regards to how many seasons are left, the grand ending for This Is Us won’t be for some time.
Fogelman also revealed that despite the fact that the writers room just started and that they’re four to five episodes in, “I’ve already shot pieces of the final scene of the series.”
In terms of teases for season 3, Fogelman said that Beth Pearson, played by Susan Kelechi Watson “will get a deep-dive where we learn about her backstory; she’ll get a showcase.”
That’s similar to the rumors we heard out of SXSW, when it was indicated that Beth could be the next big mysterious death following Jack’s as the series continues. Watson responded to those rumors tonight saying, “I prefer to see old age makeup then death”. Fogelman indicated that we’ll see a teenage version of Beth and how she becomes the strong woman that we know as Randall’s (Sterling K. Brown)wife. Toby as well will get a big deep-dive as well. “Kate and Toby have a journey this season, and it’s a journey about them trying to start a family,” added Fogelman.
Following a screening of the episode “Super Bowl Sunday” tonight which centers around Jack’s death, most of the cast was in attendance sans Brown who beamed in via Skype from New York.
He began to mention some of the season 3 threads we already know about since they’re flash forwards during the end of the season 2 finale. Specifically Kevin Pearson (Justin Hartley) flies to Vietnam with his new girlfriend, Beth’s cousin Zoe (Melanie Liburd); Kate (Chrissy Metz) is dealing with Toby’s (Chris Sullivan) depression, as well as the biggest cliffhanger of them all: An older Randall tells his social worker daughter “I’m not ready to go see her,” indicating that someone in the family ultimately dies. Kevin’s arc will center around his father’s time in Vietnam.
“We’re going to dive into Jack’s experience in Vietnam this season, but we actually considered a little flash to him waking up in Vietnam [during the fire scene in Season 2] but we took it out,” said Fogelman.
“That big thing in regards to who the ‘it’s time to go see her, I’m not ready to go see her’; I’m not going to tell you who (it is), but it sort of leads to the end game of our show, not the end of the season per se, but the show as a whole. And who you think the ‘her’ is, is probably not who it is in typical Fogelman style,” said Brown throwing a wrench into any theories that the woman dying at the end of season 2 is his wife Beth. Brown went so far to say that in regards to those family members present tonight –i.e. Kate, Rebecca (Mandy Moore), Toby, Beth, and Kevin– “It could be one of those people on stage”. Milo Ventimiglia, who wasn’t listed to appear onstage, was another surprise appearance tonight.
Fogelman said that Hartley’s performance as Kevin in “Super Bowl Sunday” whereby he reflects on the man his father wanted him to be “effected our big picture thinking.”
Hartley spoke about his character and his new girlfriend in season 3, “we’ll see if that goes well and effects his sobriety. He also has a new movie coming out. He’s dealing with finding out information he didn’t even know about his father.”
This Is Us season 3 is expected to return to NBC in September. While the date wasn’t revealed to the crowd tonight, Deadline learned from a source close to the Fox series that it will not be on Tuesday, Sept. 18, three days days before Fogelman’s directed Amazon Studios film Life Itself, which opens on Sept. 21. Keen speculation would suggest that any solid promotion for Life Itself would be built during the commercial breaks of the new season of This Is Us, hence targeting Fogelman’s prime fanbase. So, perhaps, earlier than Sept. 18.
Fogelman told the crowd to great laughs that while he was having sushi with his wife recently at a small restaurant in the valley, he told her everything about how This Is Us ultimately ends. “She’s freaking out,” said Fogelman. Meanwhile, there’s two women sitting nearby who the creator swears heard every single word of the conversation, even to the point that he thought he saw one of them taking notes.
“Listen, the sushi ladies can tell you everything about it,” said Fogelman about season 3 of This Is Us, “it’s our biggest and most ambitious.”