'This Is Us' Creator Reveals Certain Scenes from the Finale Were Filmed 4 Years Ago

"[The studio] always really trusted us to do our thing," This Is Us creator Dan Fogelman said of filming some series-finale scenes years in advance

Lonnie Chavis as Randall, Mackenzie Hancsicsak as Kate, Parker Bates as Kevin in This Is Us
Lonnie Chavis as Randall, Mackenzie Hancsicsak as Kate and Parker Bates as Kevin in This Is Us season 2. Photo: Maarten de Boer/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty

The series finale of This Is Us has been in the works for a while!

Ahead of the groundbreaking NBC family drama's final bow next week, Entertainment Weekly chatted with several cast and crew members about the impact of the show, with creator Dan Fogelman sharing that they shot half of the upcoming finale four years ago.

"It's a testament to how trusting everyone's been in the process," said Fogelman, 46.

Five of those "everyone"s? The child actors who played younger versions of the Big Three — specifically, Mackenzie Hancsicsak (Kate), Lonnie Chavis (Randall) and Parker Bates (Kevin) — and the younger versions of Randall's (Sterling K. Brown, as an adult) daughters Deja (Lyric Ross), Tess (Eris Baker) and Annie (Faithe Herman.)

"To the credit of the studio [20th Television] and network, four or five days of shooting stuff for four years later is not an inexpensive undertaking," Fogelman told EW. "They always really trusted us to do our thing."

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Faithe Herman as Annie, Eris Baker as Tess, Lyric Ross as Déjà in This Is Us
Faithe Herman as Annie, Eris Baker as Tess and Lyric Ross as Deja in This Is Us season 2. Ron Batzdorff/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty

The showrunner also noted that "the actors never questioned anything" he was doing for the purpose of scenes that would be used later, including the one of the Pearsons in the early '90s that viewers will see in the finale.

"I was like, 'Guys, we're gonna spend an extra four days on set and you're gonna shoot material with the kids that won't air for years and is untethered to anything else you're doing.' And they were like, 'Great!' " Fogelman said.

Milo Ventimiglia, who plays Jack Pearson, told EW that doing the scenes in advance "didn't seem that big" at the time, or "one of those things that you think, 'Wow, this is going to be a massive moment for the show. Thank God Dan was thinking ahead to get it!' "

"[They] just played as any other scene[s] that we shot, which was good," added Ventimiglia, 44. "It kind of took the pressure off. I remember Mandy [Moore] and I walking off set and Dan going, 'Those were the final shots of the show.' I mean, he said it like it was in stone."

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Fogelman, who wrote the last two episodes, told EW that the finale "feels like a time capsule of a family" and "purposefully a little different, in a really good way."

"It is about a special day in the past of this family, and the simple things and the little things, as the adult family buries their mother. It will just be a very simple, quiet episode after a very big, loud one," Fogelman added, referencing the penultimate chapter that aired this past Tuesday, in which Moore's Rebecca dies after a battle with Alzheimer's disease.

Ventimiglia said that after the finale, the show "feels complete" and "like there's no more room for anything else, nor does it need anything else. It's just full."

"I just remember closing it going, 'You stuck the landing, Dan. You really did,' " added Moore, 38. "No one's going to be disappointed. This is a really beautiful way to end this story."

This Is Us' series finale airs Tuesday, May 24 at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.

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