Season 2 of This Is Us may have come to an end, but the cast and crew are already gearing up for the third season of the NBC drama.
Ahead of Tuesday evening’s finale, Milo Ventimiglia, Mandy Moore and Justin Hartley, along with creator/executive producer Dan Fogelman, discussed the wrap of the second season and what’s to come in season 3 during their South by Southwest festival panel in Austin, Texas.
The Big Three
During the finale, a distressing scene of future Randall and future Tess apparently set in a hospital aired (Fogelman said this is 13 years into the future). He also said more on this will be revealed in season 3. However, Fogelman wouldn’t reveal if they are indeed talking about Beth. “People will be surprised this next season; it’s really ambitious and surprising,” said Fogelman. “It’s like Beautiful Mind in our writer’s room right now.”
Audiences will also get more Kevin (Hartley) and Randall (Sterling K. Brown) screen time in the third season. This comes from Fogelman’s love of watching them act together. “There is something about the two brothers together, you see a lot of it in the finale, there is something so real about them as brothers …. so I go ‘S—, we need to get Randall and Kevin on camera more.’ ”
“I hope his career goes the way he wants it to go and who knows if that means that he’s going to move into something else or he’s going to rediscover something other than acting that he likes … but I hope he continues to get healthy,” Hartley said about his character, Kevin.
Some of the kids who play the young Pearsons respectively call Moore (Rebecca Pearson) “Ms. Mandy” and Ventimiglia (Jack Pearson) “Mr. Milo.” And dad Jack is really like a father to these actors, many of them first-time actors, taking them under his wing on set to coach and guide them.
WATCH: ‘This is Us’ Star Chrissy Metz Reveals the Last Time She Sang a Mandy Moore Song!
Rebecca and Jack
Fogelman was so concerned about how much Moore had to cry in the three weeks of shooting Jack’s death that he seriously contemplated sending a clown to her trailer to cheer her up: “It was one scene after another. And first you’re at the hospital and then you’re at the house and then you have to tell the kids. It was like for three weeks. It was hard to watch.” Moore replied, “I so wish they had!”
Ventimiglia was a little more tight-lipped about what happens next with his character. When asked what he wants to see happen, he replied, “I wait for the scripts to come up.”
As for what Moore would like to learn from her character in season 3? “I am really curious about that chunk of time right after Jack passes away, that 10-year period of time, I am curious about that because I know during that time there is a disconnect with Rebecca and Kevin, and Rebecca and Kate, and I want to know how that happened.“ Moore also said that she wants to know more about how Rebecca and Miguel get together.
Next season, fans will see more of Rebecca and Jack’s origin story — which Moore said she is looking forward to as well — and more opportunities to hear Moore sing (she shared that she’d love to do a scene where she gets to sing with Chrissy Metz).
This Is Us Fun Facts (Including Season 3!)
The Pearson family was originally called the Peasings family and This is Us was written by Fogelman as a film.
The cast was super thrilled about their recent best drama ensemble Screen Actors Guild award win, which went to the principal cast. However, Moore and Ventimiglia were concerned that the six kids who play younger Kate (Metz), Kevin (Hartley) and Randall (Brown) at varying ages did not get awards — so they took it upon themselves to have exact duplicates made of the SAG Awards to present to the children.
The actress who plays Kate’s “maid of honor” and friend, Madison, is Fogelman’s wife in real life, Caitlin Thompson. So Fogelman joked that there’s no way that, contrary to what you might think in the season finale, he was going to write a love story for Madison and Kevin.
Fogelman said that they will do more with Lyric Ross, who plays Déjà. “She had never acted before, she was always going to be a huge part of the season, but when you see somebody like that, when you see the opportunity that you have with a young actor like that, you say, okay, we need to do a lot with this girl. And it’s a story not typically told on TV.”
As for what to prepare for next, Fogelman’s advice to the audience after viewing the finale together with the cast was to focus on where Kevin’s relationship is going with Zoe, as well as Vietnam being a big part of the next season. More glimpses into the future were also promised.