Speaking of which, Kevin and Madison seemed quite flirty in the flash forward, so what was Fogelman hoping to reveal in that moment? “The main takeaway should be, yes, despite the heartbreak of that beautiful scene between them and the unusual breakup between them, clearly something is very right with them in that future timeline at the end of the episode. To go beyond that, I can’t say. You’re not wrong for reading into the genuine affection, but outside of that is for next season to reveal.”
Next season’s episode count is still being discussed
Each season of This Is Us is 18 episodes, but because of the pandemic, season five was shortened to 16 episodes. So does that mean the final season will be 20 episodes, to make up for the two they couldn’t do this season? Or will it still be 18? “We haven’t gotten into that in great detail yet,” Fogelman admits. “It will ultimately come down to what the network wants from us. The 16 episodes this season were simply the nature of scheduling and room and our ability to get them out quickly enough. We were able to know that early enough so it didn’t really affect our storytelling.”
Fogelman does reveal that they had planned on doing a “specialized” episode in season five, which will now get pushed to next season, “but not at the expense of anything else,” he says. So, in other words, stay tuned!
The final season will answer all your questions
“We always knew season six would be ambitious in terms of the way the show jumps time, and even more ambitious than other seasons,” Fogelman says. “But I think you’re going to have a real sense of resolution and completion for this family. We have been working tirelessly to set up this rewarding final season to make all the pieces fit together.” Fogelman says they know they owe the viewers a lot of answers, but that’s always the been the game plan.
“There will be no looming questions when we get to the end of next season,” he says. “The audience won’t always like 100% of the decisions you make for your characters, but I don’t think anything will be left on the table. All those future timelines will get resolutions.”
Rebecca and Miguel’s courtship will finally be explored
For some time, fans have wanted to know how Miguel and Rebecca got together. We know that 10 years or so after Jack died, they reconnected over Facebook, but what drove them apart in the first place? And how long after they met up did things turn romantic? Fogelman says the show will be diving into those questions in season six. “That’s a big storyline. Mandy is going to have a tremendously ambitious season next year as an actress,” he says, referring to the character’s battle with a worsening disease. “It’s going to be a quite a ride and quite a showcase. There’s really some really juicy stuff for our actors to dig into.”
Randall for President?
“I can’t say much, but when you get a profile like that written,” Fogelman says of the magazine article sitting next to Kevin’s bed, “something is happening with his career and his profile growing. I think we’ll find a very centered Randall as we enter our final season.”
Malik and Deja’s new life
Viewers know Deja is pregnant some 10-15 years in the future, but don’t know who the father is, or if he’s involved. In the present day, Malik has been accepted to Harvard, which will obviously present some complications for their relationship. “It’s another area that I’m very excited about,” Fogelman says. “I have an episode I have been wanting to do for some time about adolescent first love and what becomes of that and how it forms you, so that’s one we plan on telling next season.”
Parts of the finale have already been filmed
When you have kids of all ages on a show like This Is Us, it’s inevitable they’re going to grow up before your eyes. Without revealing too much, Fogelman says some finale moments have already been shot (our guess is that it involves the big three when they were around 12 years of age). “I’ve always loved knowing an end point. Since the very beginning I’ve had a strong feeling of where I want this to end…the moments, images, scenes. I’ve had a list of them I’ve wanted to tell in a pretty specific order, and it’s a real gift to be able to execute them the way I want.”
And in honor of the final season, NBC has released this video of the cast as they reminisce about the show that changed their lives and look ahead to an emotional and rewarding sixth season.
This Is Us will return in January 2022 for the final season.
Jessica Radloff is the Glamour West Coast editor. You can follow her on Instagram at @jessicaradloff14.