When This Is Us returns for the second part of Season 4 next week, the family drama will introduce two new characters, played by Better Things co-creator/star Pamela Adlon and Chicago PD alumna Sophia Bush. The characters involved in the storylines of two of the Big Three, Randall (Sterling K. Brown) and Kevin (Justin Hartley).
In the back half of the season, This Is Us will “delve into Randall’s mental health and how he takes care of himself, what’s right and what’s wrong about how he takes care of himself,” Sterling said during a TCA panel for the show on Saturday.
“We have a cool guest star coming, Pamela Adlon, who will be involved in Randall’s very intense storyline,” This Is Us creator/co-showrunner said after the panel. “She has an unbelievable arc in the back of the season, she plays a limited but very important part of that story.”
One of the mysteries set up by This Is Us’ Season 3 finale will be addressed and resolved — at least partially — in the coming episodes.
“The story who is the mother of Kevin’s child and all that journey will be a story in the back half of the season, and there will be an answer by the end of the season,” Fogelman said.
Bush’s character will be involved in Justin’s storyline, Fogelman told Deadline, declining to comment whether she may be the mother of Kevin’s child.
This Is Us will use one of its signature storyline devises to kick off the back half of Season 4 with a trio of back-to-back episodes, each focused on one of the Big Three, starting with Randall in the midseason premiere, which also features John Legend. The musician will premiere a new song on the NBC series.
Timothy Omundson’s Gregory, Ron Cephas Jones’s William and Blake Stadnik’s grown-up Jack Damon are among the This Is Us cadre of recurring characters who will be back in the back half of the season.
“Tim has been one of my highlights of the season, not only because of my personal relationship but more because of the story,” said Fogelman who had previously cast Omundson as one of leads of his medieval musical comedy Galavant on ABC.
The recurring role on This Is Us as Kate and Toby’s cantankerous neighbor marks Omundson’s first major acting gig since he suffered a stroke, which he is still recovering from.
“I have been really excited to see how the audience has been reacting to his part of the show,” Fogelman said. “You are watching someone who is really putting himself out on camera in the middle of their recovery process, speaking openly about it and acting his a** off. It’s a really exciting part of the show, and hope it will be for a while.”
As for Randall’s late biological father, “a lot more William coming this season, we have a big storyline coming up,” Fogelman said.
This Is Us introduced the adult version of Kate and Toby’s son Jack Damon, played by Stadnik, in the Season 4 premiere. We haven’t seen much of him since, but that is going to change.
“A lot,,” Fogelman said when asked how many episodes Stadnik will be in. “He has a big, big part in our season finale.”
Fogelman also talked about how Adlon’s arc on the show came about.
“I’m such a fan of hers, and her and Sterling a relationship. I reached out on a whim, asking would she ever have time. I happened to have caught her in off-season (on Better Things), and she is going to do this cool part with Sterling.”
This marks Bush’s return to NBC where she starred on Chicago PD for four seasons. She already is working with This Is Us executive producers/co-showrunners Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger; she has a recurring role on their Love, Simon series for the Disney+ inspired by the praised 2018 movie.