This Is Us stars offer one-sentence teases for the final season
The Big Three are down to one.
We should clarify that: Only one more season of This Is Us stands between you and the end of the Pearson family story. Sure, sure, we all stay in the painting, but the era-hopping family drama really is vanishing next year. At a TIU panel moderated by EW Editor in Chief Mary Margaret on Tuesday — yes, the same night that the twist-topped season 5 finale aired — the stars of the show were asked to issue a one-word or one-sentence hint about their character for season 6, because it's never too early to start playing the guessing game about the last go-around. Chrissy Metz and Mandy Moore played along in person, while the rest of the cast popped up in video form to offer a few teases.
Justin Hartley: "There will be a lot of reconnections."
Chris Sullivan: "Transformational."
Mandy Moore: "I hope that Rebecca has the ability to have grace for herself and her loved ones and have true profound perspective on her life and her legacy, and I hope she's able to be as present as possible given the circumstances."
Sterling K. Brown: "I hope he's able to find closure. I think that he's on the journey to finding closure with regards to self-acceptance, his place in the world, knowing unequivocally that he is of value, not having to prove it to anyone, not having to prove it to himself, but a deep abiding knowledge that he belongs. That he is loved. Yeah, closure. I think that's what I'm looking for, for Randall."
Chrissy Metz: "A lot of what Sterling said is very similar to what Kate is going through, but in a very, very different way. She has found confidence in a way she never has before. It wasn't pretty, it wasn't easy, it wasn't linear, it still won't be. But I think it would be 'true happiness.'"
Susan Kelechi Watson: "I'm not truly dead, I'm still here with you: And I will always be here with you."
In addition, creator Dan Fogelman, who knows a thing or seven about how that final season will take shape, first addressed Hartley's tease of "reconnections" when asked whether his wedding womp-womp might pave the way for Kevin's ex Sophie (Alexandra Breckinridge) to re-enter the picture. "If you're talking about what you want to see for Kevin, we'd like to see our lovable charming, larger-than-life guy find centered happiness and find, if not love, something in his romantic journey that feels complete and full," he hinted. "As a person who writes him, that's what I'm rooting for. Not everybody winds up married, not everybody winds up with who you'd expect. Certainly whatever choice we make there's going to be people who wished it was somebody else, but hopefully all people who root for the character will be satisfied with what it brings for Kevin."
The creator also offered a brief tease for the final batch of episodes: "We're going to try and make something really beautiful and something that leaves people feeling full and warm. And if they cry, it's not just of sadness but because of the melancholy beauty that fills our lives. Hopefully we make something so beautiful that it makes people want to go out and have babies or call their parents or call their siblings. That's always how we intended to end the show. I have scenes and settings in mind and moments that I've always had in my brain. We're going to try to pull off something really lovely."
Fogelman also cautioned that one episode of the unabashedly sentimental series may truly tax your Kleenex reserves. "[T]here's one story line that's one of our stakes in the ground for season 6 that when I speak about it, my eyes start welling up with tears," he shared with EW in another interview. "And I'm not a crier."
During the panel, Fogelman also spoke to the challenges of making a TV show during a global pandemic, addressing the choice to include those issues (including a racial reckoning) in the world of the show after what he described as "heavily heated debates" in the writers' room.
"Ultimately, we made a bet that we could tell a television season inside of that without having to disrupt our big plan, but also allowing it to inform it and make it stronger," he reflected. "If Kevin was going to knock up a stranger, isn't that more interesting to push them together in the midst of a pandemic? It's the same overall story. If Sterling is going to have a reckoning with his past with his family and a story about how race was handled inside of his family, isn't that more important to tell right now in this moment in time?
"We had a platform to chronicle this year in the life of this one family that hopefully people will find something relatable when 30 years down the line, God willing, this is in our rearview mirror after all the loss and all the heartbreak, and be able to look back at something we captured in this one year," he concluded.
There's plenty more Pearson intel to mine from the panel, which you can watch in its entirety above. In addition, Fogelman explained what that time jump might mean for the final season over here, Metz broke down Kate's wedding twist here, Moore took us inside Rebecca's apology here, and Caitlin Thompson (Madison) explained her character's decision to call off the wedding here.
NBC’s beloved era-hopping drama tells the story of the Pearson family through the years.