SPOILER ALERT: This story contains details from the Season 5 finale of NBC’s This Is Us.
At a Rose Bowl FYC event on Tuesday night, This Is Us stars Mandy Moore, Chrissy Metz and Caitlin Thompson spoke with Deadline about the Season 5 finale, and revealed what they know about the drama’s sixth and final season.
Moore, who plays matriarch Rebecca Pearson, and Metz, who plays her daughter Kate, confirmed that the show’s main cast knows how the story ends. “We know some pretty big milestone moments. We just don’t know in what order it’s going to come out, and when it’s going to necessarily come out,” explained Moore. “But I think we know the big picture of big things that are happening, especially for our characters.”
In conversation with Deadline, Moore also offered a reminder that “we’ve shot some of the very last episode of the show already. Like seasons ago, too,” as some of the show’s creatives had hinted at in the past.
Regarding Rebecca’s storyline in Season 6, Moore said, “I think we all sort of understand where that’s headed.”
The actress is almost assuredly referring to her character’s battle with an advancing case of Alzheimer’s, which might result in her death by end of season. On the subject of that storyline, she said: “I know that it will be handled with care and consideration, and grace and respect, in the way that I think we handle all difficult subjects on the show. I don’t know exactly how we’re going to see that unfold though, specifically. But I do know that it’s going to be pretty devastating, as the disease is devastating.”
The Emmy nominee also teased more appearances from her TV husband Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) to come in the final season. “I think we’ll still, in This Is Us style, have flashbacks to moments that sort of tie the past to the present,” she said. “So, he’s still very much a part of the family, in ways that will tug at everybody’s heartstrings.” Moore also noted that Season 6 will further flesh out the history of the relationship between Rebecca and Miguel, as previously confirmed by creator Dan Fogelman.
For her part, Metz touched on Kate’s future, and the possibility that she will continue to pursue her passion for music. “I think Kate is really fulfilled in her job right now, and I think, same as Rebecca, that there’s always some sort of calling within,” Metz said. “And of course, we saw [Kate’s son] Jack older and pursuing music on a very big scale. So, I don’t know if that will be enough for Kate, you know? But we’ll see.”
Of course, in Season 6, Metz will also be exploring the dissolution of Kate’s marriage to Toby, after her husband accepts a job, which has him in San Francisco three days out of the week. “I think what we’ll get to see is those five years in between [the present and flash-forwards], and how it’s sort of beginning, middle, end with Kate and Toby,” she explained. “I’m really intrigued about that and how it starts to really dissolve.”
Then, there’s Thompson, who plays Kevin’s (Justin Harley) fiancée Madison—who in the Season 5 finale calls their wedding off. While the character explains that she won’t marry someone she believes doesn’t love her, Fogelman said on Tuesday that a future for Kevin and Madison is still a possibility. “I think if they can find love, then that’d be awesome,” Thompson said, in response. “But if not, then I hope they each find it in their own respective relationships.”
The trio wrapped the conversation by reflecting on what the show means to them, and how they feel about the fact that the end is approaching.
Thompson shared her appreciation of the “integrity,” on the part of Fogelman and his writing staff, in going out on their own terms. Metz called the thought of ending the show “really bittersweet.”
“It’s a really massive, life-changing, six-year chapter of my life…this beautiful time in my life and our lives, and it’s just so hard,” she said. “I know that we’re all excited to start a new chapter, but [also] you’re like, ‘I want to read it again.’”
From Moore’s perspective, thinking about the show ending is “so weird” because “it feels like we just got started.
“The show changed…all of our lives, so it’s hard to imagine…Like, where do you go from here? Just simply, selfishly, as an actor, I’m like, ‘There will never, ever be a job like this, ever again.’ It’s just like a dream upon a dream, upon a dream, and it’s a once-in-a-career job,” she added. “So in that sense, I’m holding on for dear life, and I’m going to savor every single moment next season. I think we all do every year.”