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This Is Us: Everything we know about season 2
Tissue time is nigh: This Is Us returns to NBC for season 2 on Sept. 26. What emotionally charged adventures await the Pearsons in the '70s, '80s, '90s, and beyond? Here’s a roundup of all the intel about season 2 of the hit NBC drama from the cast and creator Dan Fogelman.
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Just as the season 1 premiere opened with the Big Three — Randall (Sterling K. Brown), Kate (Chrissy Metz), and Kevin (Justin Hartley) — celebrating their 36th birthday separately, the season 2 premiere takes place on their 37th birthday. Are they together together this year to mark the occasion? “They are not,” Fogelman told EW.
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The past story in the season premiere takes place the day after Jack and Rebecca’s brutal fight. “You’re picking up the story line the morning after Jack has left the house, and what happens next,” Fogelman told EW. “It’s intense — and it’s all in the first five minutes of the show.”
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Each of the teenage Big Three will process the news of Jack and Rebecca’s (temporary?) split differently. “You see some things with the teenage versions and the aftermath of the ‘separation’ between Jack and Rebecca,” Brown told EW. “And it’s really, really interesting to see the way in which they set up how each of them responds, given who we are at age 37 now.”
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Obsessed with the how-did-Jack-die mystery? You probably shouldn’t miss the season premiere. “The first episode of the season holds not all the answers but a huge piece of the puzzle,” Fogelman said at an Emmy For-Your-Consideration panel this summer.
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When the actors received the season premiere script, it was missing a scene. “The surprise is so big that when Dan wrote the script, he omitted the final scene from the script just so it couldn’t be leaked,” Brown told EW. “I know what it is, but he didn’t put it in writing because he just didn’t want it to be leaked."
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No, you won’t have all the answers to the how-Jack-died question by the end of the premiere, but you will later in the season. “It’s fair to say that any looming big question that the audience is in a froth about is going to be answered in the course of the second season of the show,” Fogelman told EW.
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As indicated in the season 1 finale, present-day Kate will pursue a singing career, like her mom.
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Kate and Toby (Chris Sullivan) may head to the altar, but it won’t happen early in the season. “I think that Toby and Kate have a long way to go to really get to know each other, and to know themselves,” Metz said at the Emmy For-Your-Consideration panel. “They don’t just want to step into a marriage.”
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William (Ron Cephas Jones), who passed away late in season 1, will pop up in a variety of forms, including in flashbacks. “We’re going to go into his previous stories — things we didn’t know about him and didn’t see — so very much the way that Jack lives in the show, even though we know he’s already gone, is very much the way that William can,” Fogelman told EW.
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Randall (Sterling K. Brown) is looking into adopting a third child, but, well, you saw the look Beth [Susan Kelechi Watson] issued when he revealed that to her in the season 1 finale. “I think it’s a big proposal, and it’s something she hasn’t thought about and has to try to wrap her brain around,” Watson told EW. “But I also think that she was not planning to have more kids, even when she thought that they were pregnant, she was really not that enthusiastic to take that on. And to not know the circumstances of that child or where they’re coming from and all of that — it’s a huge deal… I’m not sure how on board she can get.”
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Randall will seek his mother’s advice about the adoption story, and her story of adopting Randall pulls the heartstrings, as you can see for yourself in this clip from the season premiere.
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That '70s Show alum Debra Jo Rupp will play a social worker who crosses paths with Randall and Beth during the adoption process.
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You’ve seen Jack as Superdad, but season 2 will flesh out the Pearson patriarch and show more of his flaws, Fogelman told reporters in August.
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Kevin will try to navigate a long-distance relationship with his ex-wife, Sophie (Alexandra Breckenridge), while filming that Ron Howard war movie in L.A.
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Sylvester Stallone will play himself in an episode, starring in the Ron Howard movie as a father figure to Kevin’s character. Stallone “hears what Kevin is experiencing in his life with his own father, and talks to Kevin a little bit about life and acting and memory and aging,” Fogelman told EW. “It’s a big part. It’s going to be really cool.”
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Will season 2 be the “biggest” that the show will ever do? According to Fogelman, it’s likely. “When it’s all said and done — after six seasons of the show, eight seasons of the show, four seasons of the show — looking back, season 2 will probably feel like our biggest in story content, just because the moves are really big,” he told EW. “There are some heavyweight story lines that people are waiting for — and not even expecting — that are going to come up that will be hard to match in the future, and then set forth some new bombshell stuff that will carry us through for seasons to come and keep people as interested.”
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Last season, Helen Hunt and Timothy Busfield each directed an episode. This year, another well-known actor goes behind the camera: Regina King is helming the sixth episode. Fun fact: She also directed an episode of another Fogelman show, Pitch.
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You’ll be seeing more of the younger versions of the Big Three, as the Pearson kids have been promoted to series regulars.
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You’ll also be seeing more of Sophie and Miguel, as Alexandra Breckenridge and Jon Huertas were promoted to series regulars.
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This is a big one: Season 2 will definitely not be the last season of This Is Us. (And not just because the show has been a ratings standout.) Back in January, NBC renewed the series for a second season... as well as a third. That's at least 36 more episodes — and too many boxes of Kleenex to count.