Milo Ventimiglia, Mandy Moore and the cast were joined by Dan Fogelman on Friday to tease the second half of the final season.
As the end nears for This Is Us, the reality of saying goodbye is starting to finally hit the cast.
Milo Ventimiglia, Mandy Moore, Sterling K. Brown, Justin Hartley, Susan Kelechi Watson and Jon Huertas were joined virtually by creator/showrunner Dan Fogelman on Friday morning for a panel celebrating NBC's award-winning family drama's six-season run and to tease the last remaining episodes, including the series' swan song.
"I don't know if there's a pressure, so much as an enjoyment. When you've been on the show for as long as we've been doing it for six years, I think you read the script, you get excited about what you're going to be a part of, you get excited about what you're going to watch your friends do when you see the edits and the final cuts," Ventimiglia said when asked whether there was pressure to produce a memorable final episode. "I don't know if there's a pressure that I feel, other than we just keep doing exactly what we've been doing for six years. I know there's expectation but beyond that, reading what I've already read and what I've already held in our hands, it's going to deliver. It's truly, truly going to deliver."
While the show is on a brief hiatus due to the Winter Olympics (it'll return once the Games are over), there is a lot to look forward to as the second half of season 6 fast approaches. Perhaps the biggest question on everyone's mind is how the show will wrap up six seasons worth of story in just 11 episodes. One of the biggest storylines still left to be told is the dissolution of Kate (Chrissy Metz) and Toby's (Chris Sullivan) marriage, and how she transitions to marrying Phillip (Chris Geere) in the near future.
"Divorce is something that happens almost as frequently as it doesn't. And it hasn't happened on the show. The great majority of love stories start with wonderful love stories and marriages and the ones that end in divorce have ended in difficult and different situations," Fogelman said. "Marriages and divorces are like snowflakes. No one is exactly the same, but there can be commonalities. So the way Toby and Kate came together, I always thought was beautiful and romantic but also kind of imperfect. It was two people who wanted and needed different things, and there were a lot of conversations early on about what is different about one another. Circumstances can also start alleviating things and the distance is alleviating."
"There's a beautiful script that's been written that I won't say too much about that is one of the ones I'm most proud of, and the prisms in which we view people and humanity on the show... believe that people are flawed and messed up and make mistakes. But inherently there's a decency of beauty to the human existence and the human experience, and if divorce is something that happens to 50 percent of marriages, I think you can assume that while divorce can be sad... I think we can find some way to make it human and in its own way beautiful," he continued, adding that Moore recently directed an episode that further explores this that Metz helped co-write.
Fogelman also hinted that the future flash-forwards that the show has been teasing out over the past several seasons will be time periods that, as the series wraps up, the characters will spend significantly more time in -- specifically the day Rebecca is on her death bed, Kate and Phillip's wedding day and the very distant future with Kate and Toby's grown-up son, Jack Jr.
"We're definitely building towards there and we're definitely going to spend more time there over the course of the season," he confirmed, acknowledging that they mainly served as endpoints up until this point. "In the course of the end of the season, we'll live there more."
When asked whether there have been conversations or desires to continue telling the Pearsons' story past the initial six-season plan, Fogelman was hesitant about committing to such an idea, but admitted that he'd be open to it if the timing and story was appropriate. Fogelman shared that the series finale finishes the Pearsons' story in a finite way, so there may be difficulties in trying to continue it past that point.
"I say no to nothing," he said, adding later, "I suspect when I want to do something again for This Is Us with these guys, I suspect they're all going to be very busy and winning awards and winning Emmys and Oscars. But sure, if we can figure out a movie down the road, I'd love to get back together with these guys. By the end of this season, we will have told a complete story so I'm not sure. Will a movie be about what if Jack survived the fire or something? But I don't know."
This Is Us returns Tuesday, Feb. 22 on NBC. For more, watch below.
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