Daddy is coming to town…
On Sunday night, This Is Us creator Dan Fogelman revealed we will meet another member of the ever-expanding Pearson clan. The show celebrated its third season coming to a close at the PaleyFest’s final night in Hollywood, where many were already looking to what might happen next year in season 4.
“Rebecca’s (Mandy Moore) father is going to become a prominent part of the show,” Fogelman revealed during a game of “Truth or Dare” that prompted him to share something about season 4 that no one else knew. His alternative option was to eat chocolate with ranch dressing, which as we learned from Miguel (Jon Huertas) in a recent episode is not a delicious combination.
This Is Us has seen a run of prominent guest stars as parents from Dan Lauria and Wendie Malick as Toby’s (Chris Sullivan) dysfunctional family in season 2 to the iconic Phylicia Rashad as Beth’s (Susan Kelechi Watson) mother in a recent season 3 episode. Now we’ll be meeting Rebecca’s father, but in what context (and This Is Us timeline) remains to be seen, as well as who might play the mysterious patriarch.
“Our world is going to expand a little bit in a really interesting way,” Fogelman teased of where we go from here. “Where we’re starting the season [next year] is as ambitious as we’ve been in a storytelling way.” He also revealed he’d recently returned from a personal writer’s retreat where he penned the season 4 opener and more future material.
In addition to meeting Rebecca’s father, Fogelman also hints that the fourth season will grant us more time in the early days of Jack and Rebecca’s relationship following their road trip to California. With the actors playing the various iterations of the Big Three quickly aging, there will also be storylines that capitalize on that — a.k.a. The Big Three tackles puberty (and you thought adulthood was hard).
But first, we have two more episodes, including a season finale, which Fogelman promises will have “a lot of answers.” Elaborating on the finale, he said, “There’s a tremendous amount of attention on Randall (Sterling K. Brown) and Beth’s storyline. There will be an answer there in terms of long-term health.” Additionally, we can expect some answers to the uncertainties around Kevin (Justin Hartley) and Zoe’s (Melanie Liburd) relationship, as well as the fate of baby Jack.
Producer Elizabeth Berger also stressed that the mysteries surrounding the future timeline will get some answers in the finale as well. “We’re in the middle of the movie,” Fogelman remarked on where the chips fall when it comes to the greater narrative arc of This Is Us.
Still, it’s the final minutes of the finale you won’t want to miss. Fogelman teased, “It’s kind of gigantic — the last five minutes of the episode are sprawling.” Indeed, Watson and Brown revealed that the events of the last moments of the finale were so top secret that the final scene was redacted in their script.
The PaleyFest panel asked the entire cast to take on “Truth or Dare” challenges that coaxed some nuggets from Fogelman and in a similar moment of truth, Justin Hartley added that when it comes to what’s next for the Pearson family, “everyone is not ok.” Though couldn’t that really be the tagline of the show?
This Is Us airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on NBC.