This Is Us Creator on What's Next After Finale Wedding Twist, Kate's Second Wedding in Season 6
Season 5 ended with one couple calling off their romance while a flashforward teased a Pearson family member's second wedding
This post contains spoilers from Tuesday night's season 5 finale of This Is Us.
This Is Us fans will surely have a lot of questions after that major cliffhanger in the season 5 finale.
The penultimate season of the NBC hit drama concluded with Tuesday's episode, titled "The Adirondacks," and the much-anticipated wedding between Kevin (Justin Hartley) and Madison (Caitlin Thompson) ultimately not taking place. Just hours before they were set to say "I do," and after much stress on Kevin's part to make everything perfect, Madison knocked on his door to ask whether the actor really loved her. Kevin was only able to tell her that he thought their love "can grow" as they raise their twins, Nicholas and Frances. Thus, Madison told him: "I can't marry someone who's not in love with me."
Turns out the wedding toast (and the Princess Bride "Mawage" line) that Kevin was seen rehearsing in front of a bathroom mirror was a flashforward, five years ahead, to Kate's (Chrissy Metz) nuptials to Phillip (Chris Geere), her boss at the music school for the blind. "This is the last time I'm doing this," she said to her brother and bridesmaids, Madison and Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson). This flashforward means Kate and Toby's (Chris Sullivan) marriage somehow leads to a divorce, but fans may already know why as career aspirations, in different cities, have resulted in the pair coming to a crossroads.
As for Rebecca (Mandy Moore) and Randall (Sterling K. Brown), they were finally able to talk about his New Orleans trip, where he learned about his biological mother, Laurel. In addition, Beth and daughter Tess (Eris Baker) were able to mend their tensions, and surprise (!), Uncle Nicky (Griffin Dunne) ends up getting married in the future.
On Tuesday, creator Dan Fogelman spoke to reporters about what's to come in season 6 for certain characters — and assured fans that "everything will be resolved" by the end of the series as audiences will get a "real sense of resolution and completion from this family."
Regarding Kate and Toby's marriage, Fogelman said the show will explore "where that all goes, where Toby [goes]," teasing that "our actors, our characters, have some really juicy stuff to dig into for the sixth season."
Specifically with Phillip, he's not going anywhere anytime soon. "Obviously Chris [Geere] is going to be a big part of the show next year. ... He's an actor we've been following for a while and are big fans of on the show, which is obviously a plot point that we've known was coming for quite some time — Kate's second wedding — and we knew it would be coming and would be revealed at the end of this season," Fogelman said. "So we actually had Chris come down and meet with Chrissy much earlier in the season under severe [COVID] testing protocols so we could, kind of, get that together and feel them out because it was such an unusual season of shooting. Yes, [Chris] is going to be a big part of [season 6]. As for the decision to have this timeline, which is essentially four years into the future for [Kate's] second wedding, it's been part of our plan all along from go. Obviously, we've hinted many times that something was not normal between [Kate and Toby] and here we are."
Fogelman shared that Metz and Sullivan "have known for quite a while, many seasons, where they're going and where the season is going, so nothing came as a surprise to them," regarding the future of their characters' marriage.
"There's so much love there, both between the actors in real life and the characters on camera, that it's difficult when you're trying to tap into this type of stuff. Our actors are beautiful in that they don't always love a choice I make for their characters," the executive producer joked. "I just go back to all the times that I've been to the most beautiful and loving weddings where nothing can go wrong and there you are years later at that person's second wedding. So the journey from A to B is something we really haven't done on this show yet. I think these two actors are gonna have some meaty stuff to dig into next year. I think, like everything on this show, I think we're going to be able to find something difficult and something beautiful."
Dedicated fans know that each season begins with The Big Three's birthday, but what hopes will a newly single Kevin have for his next year of life? "I think the hope for any season, I think often, when we're on our birthdays and we're blowing out those candles and we make that wish, we're wishing for a happy ending for ourselves and the people we like and whatever storyline we're currently living in," Fogelman said. "So, I think for Kevin, in particular, all of the people who write him, people who are fans of his and people who have varying relationships with him and root for, you're hoping he finds his romantic center. Whether that's in a marriage, whether that's in a relationship, whether that's in finding his center internally and just single, I think that's one of the looming questions on the show. Will Kevin find that happy ending in whatever form it takes? As a person who writes him, I'm rooting for that."
So will Kevin ever get married? "With Kevin, and recently Kate's relationship, this show has tried to put forward some successful marriages. But the honest truth is, as I get older, that really loving marriages don't always survive. And marriage is not for everybody," Fogelman said. "So with Kevin and the second marriage for Kate, we have some new territory to explore. That will be a big thing driving us forward next season. Who will Kevin wind up with? Will he end up with anybody we know? Does he wind up with anybody at all? One way or another that question will be answered. I can't answer if he winds up getting married or not yet."
In that flashforward, at Kate's second wedding, there was a bit of flirting going on between Kevin and Madison. "I think the main takeaway should be, yes, despite the heartbreak of that beautiful thing 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. We have our plan and we had it for quite some time. You're not wrong in reading into, like, there's genuine affection or maybe something more there. But outside of that, it's for next season to reveal," Fogelman said.
Next season will be a big one for Moore as an actress, according to Fogelman. "A big one that we've always planned on diving into heavily next season is the courtship and coming together and then ultimate separation then coming back together of Rebecca and Miguel. It's a big storyline we have," he said. "Mandy is going to have a tremendously ambitious season next year as an actress. Obviously, as you're traversing this timeline, these timelines into the future and her character battling Alzheimer's, it's going to be quite a showcase for a young woman, who I've been beating the drum for a while, is doing something quite extraordinary on television. So that's a big storyline to come."
Also in the flashforward, Kevin read an article on Randall's career, titled "Rising Star," which is an indication of how much the city councilman's career has grown. "I can say, that obviously, when you get a profile like that, something is happening with his career, with his star. We do have a plan, we've had one for a while, and we build it successfully with his early rise and slight indication with his local, even borderline, national profile just growing in small doses. That's a journey we know and by traversing time we will be able to tell that story in full," Fogelman said.
"I've been extremely proud of the work we've done this season with his journey as an adopted child and [coming] to terms with a lot of things with his family. I think we'll find a centered Randall as we enter our final season. We've had such a big character through these first five seasons ... regarding race growing up in a white family in Pittsburgh, involving his marriage and his career, his hopes and his dreams. I think this will be an opportunity to see our superhero character come full circle," Fogelman continued. "He's never been a character who necessarily has it together but I think you're going to kind of get to see Randall in his full color, really centered and balanced, and being there to support his family. One of those things we've talked about in the show is the marriage between Randall and Beth. There's an opportunity to also watch those roles reverse a little bit as a man who had so many questions and so many existential questions about his life and had many of them answered in this season of resolution for him."
In the present-day timeline, fans learn that Malik was accepted into Harvard University. Though he initially told Deja about getting accepted into Pennsylvania schools, their relationship may become a long-distance one. "We have this really mature, but still young, first love in our present day. And jumping into the future we have a grown-up version of that character. Deja and Malik's journey is one that we owe and plan on telling in full in season 6," Fogelman shared. "It's another area that I'm very excited about. Outside of Kevin and young Sophie, we haven't had a chance to explore adolescent first love and what becomes of that, and how it forms you. That story is one that we plan on telling in season 6, we've always planned on telling in season 6."
With many loose ends to tie up, Fogelman assured viewers that there will be answers to all their questions by the end of the final season, given all the different timelines. "This show has always been challenging, and where it takes place in time, and we always knew that season 6 would be ambitious in terms of the way it jumps time, and even more ambitious than other seasons. Because our audience has been so devoted, and I think because we hopefully smartly set up these contained areas where these future timelines live, I think you're going to have a real sense of resolution and completion from this family," Fogelman said. "We have been working tirelessly to set up this rewarding final season to make all the pieces fit together. We know what we owe, we know what our plan is. And that's been a part of the great benefit from the very beginning, especially the show allowing us to know our endgame and allowed us to build for what we hope will be a very rewarding final season."
Fogelman added, "All of those timelines will be brought to completion and explained. There will be no looming question when we get to the end of next season. Everything will be resolved and you can't always claim that 100 percent of your audience is going to like every single decision you make for the characters, but I don't think anything will be left on the table. So all those locations you've been to, all those future timelines we've been to, they will all get resolutions."
Season 6 of This Is Us returns in early 2022 to NBC.