Everything to Know About 'This Is Us' ' Final Season as You Prepare to Say Goodbye to the Pearsons

We're answering all of your biggest questions about This Is Us' final season, including the cast, the series finale date, and more

We're not ready to say goodbye to the Pearson family.

NBC's hit drama This Is Us is coming to an end with its current sixth season, which premiered on Jan. 4, and to say we're emotional would be an understatement.

The show — starring Mandy Moore, Milo Ventimiglia, Chrissy Metz, Sterling K. Brown, Justin Hartley — is known for its shocking twists and tear-jerking moments, and it seems like they're saving the best for last.

During the show's season 6 premiere at Paramount Pictures Studios in Los Angeles on Dec. 14, the cast and creator Dan Fogelman teased what lies in store for this final chapter.

"The first couple of episodes are really just setting everybody up for a bit of a ride," Fogelman told PEOPLE. "It's kind of like the part of the rollercoaster where you're just ticking upwards. There are no big, gigantic or crazy things happening at the end of the first episode. This isn't a season about a build. We're kind of setting the table for an ending, and it takes a moment to build that up."

For more on the final season of This Is Us, listen below to our daily podcast on PEOPLE Every Day.

As you tune into season 6, keep reading for everything else that lies in store.

Who's in the cast for This Is Us season 6?

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Ron Batzdorff/NBC

The core cast, including Milo Ventimiglia, Mandy Moore, Sterling K. Brown, Chrissy Metz, Justin Hartley, Susan Kelechi Watson, Chris Sullivan, and Jon Huertas, return for the final season.

In November 2021, it was reported that the original seven series regulars received $2 million cash bonuses for the final season after seeking a pay raise from NBC and 20th Television. Jon Huertas, who became a series regular in season 2, also received a $1 million bonus.

Additionally, Griffin Dune, Caitlin Thompson, Eris Baker, Faithe Herman, Lyric Ross, Asante Blackk, and Chris Geere all make appearances this season.

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Maarten de Boer/NBCUniversal

The trailer also teases we'll be seeing more of Kate and Toby's son Jack in the future, played by actor Blake Stadnik. Meanwhile, Alexandra Breckenridge, who plays Sophie, previously teased a potential return, to Entertainment Weekly.

"One of our major issues is, historically, [her other show] Virgin River and This Is Us shoot exactly at the same time every year," she told the publication. "So, I have meant to go back [to This Is Us] and then haven't been able to go back. It's been a logistical issue regardless of character development, so we'll see what happens for the last season."

It's worth noting that when PEOPLE asked Hartley how he would describe his character arc this season during the premiere, he teased, "[I] hope he finds true love. He deserves it." Maybe we'll be getting a Kevin and Sophie reunion in the flash-forward?

How is the cast involved behind the camera for This Is Us season 6?

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Ron Batzdorff/NBC

In addition to starring, many of the cast members got the opportunity to write and direct for the final season.

Moore will make her TV directorial debut this season on a Kate-centric episode, while Ventimiglia will direct another episode, after making his TV directorial debut in season 4.

During the premiere, Ventimiglia praised his onscreen wife, calling Moore "a natural" at directing. "She's great. She's wonderful," he told PEOPLE. "She knows exactly what she's doing [and] what she wants."

Sullivan and Huertas each directed an episode in the final season as well.

As for writing, Metz co-wrote the episode that Moore will direct. Watson also co-wrote an episode that dives even deeper into her character Beth. "I got to kind of write Beth's final opus, so it's really beautiful," Watson told PEOPLE about the episode titled "Our Little Island Girl: Part Two."

How many episodes will there be in This Is Us season 6?

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Ron Batzdorff/NBC

The final season will have a total of 18 episodes. During the premiere, the cast teased there would be another trilogy of episodes that focuses on the Big Three as well as a Jack-centric episode about his mother's death.

"To have an episode that is purely the discovery of Jack, it's been nice to revisit," Ventimiglia told PEOPLE. "It was really painful to shoot. It was about his mother's passing and dealing with that, the distance and the conversations he wished he had. Jack is the guy who's always trying to be the strength of the family. What happens when that strength wears thin and it breaks? ... It was tough to shoot but also was very satisfying as an actor."

When will This Is Us season 6 premiere?

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Ron Batzdorff/NBC

Breaking away from the show's usual fall release, the sixth and final season premiered on Jan. 4, 2022, on NBC. Additionally, the final season will air uninterrupted as there will be no midseason break.

"We know that saying goodbye to the Pearsons is going to be hard enough. So what we wanted to do is honor the fans and get them as close to an uninterrupted run as we could, which is only possible in midseason," Frances Berwick, Chairman, Entertainment Networks, NBCUniversal Television and Streaming, told Deadline.

When will the This Is Us season 6 finale air?

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Chrissy Metz on This Is Us. nbc

During NBC's Scripted Press Day panel, the cast confirmed that the series finale will air on NBC on May 24.

"It's gonna deliver. It's truly, truly going to deliver," Ventimiglia said about the show's finale episode.

How will This Is Us end?

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Ron Batzdorff/NBC

Since most of the cast knows how the series ends, they have offered a lot of cryptic quotes about the finale over the years, calling it "sad," "beautiful," "hopeful," and "exciting," among many other things.

Though the show's creator Dan Fogelman has stayed tight-lipped about what exactly lies in store for the Pearson family, he did tease that the finale will wrap up all the show's biggest mysteries in a nice way.

"My hope is that by the end of the series, there is no stone left unturned," he told EW. "You would have nothing left to ask me about spoilers. You might want to call me and say, 'I don't like what happened to such-and-such. I don't like who such-and-such wound up with.' But you won't be going, 'Who?' If we've done that, I feel like we've done our job and we've made the choices that we thought were best for the characters and for the story. But by the end of it, I don't think there will be any of these timeline mysteries left. Hopefully it will set us up for a very beautiful and simple ending to the entire venture."

Will there be a This Is Us spinoff?

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Ron Batzdorff/NBC

At the moment, there are currently no plans for a This Is Us spinoff, but creator Dan Fogelman isn't completely closing the door on the idea either.

"Honestly, more than the commerce of it all, we're not all ready to end making this show," he previously told EW. "But I've been pretty firm on creatively just knowing that it would be really hard to go past where we've gone this year, and it would be hard to keep the level where we've all tried to keep the level. So it definitely feels like the end and the time to go. Who the hell knows? My wife is very excited to go turn on the Sex and the City show all this time later. So I'm not speaking about the far future — or even the near future — though there's certainly no plans."

Metz has also offered the idea of having a spinoff that doesn't directly follow the Pearson family. "It might be a cool spinoff to have a family that was somehow affiliated with the family — the Pearsons — but not necessarily directly related," Metz told Entertainment Tonight. "And maybe we could sort of come in and out. As they came in and out of our story, we could come in and out of their story. That would be kind of cool to have another family."

Perhaps a spinoff could offer more backstory on one of the show's minor characters like Malik or Madison. Anything is possible!

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