Well, This Is Us fans, the season two finale is finally upon us. The past few episodes were a wild ride for the Pearson family: the cause of Jack's death was finally revealed, Randall and Beth took in a foster child, Kate and Toby's never-dull relationship finally led to the alter, Kevin's struggle with addiction came to a breaking point, and we were treated to numerous heart-melting romantic moments between Jack and Rebecca.
Tonight's episode promises to answer just a few of our burning questions. And thankfully, this isn't the end for the Pearson family: This Is Us will return for season three this fall. Here's what we can expect from the upcoming season:
1. Season three will be at least 18 episodes long.
In January 2017, NBC picked up seasons two and three at the same time for a minimum of 18 episodes each, Deadline reports. While the premiere date of season three has not been announced, it will likely debut in September 2018. Both season one and season two both kicked off near the end of September.
2. Thankfully, Jack isn't going anywhere.
The heartbreaking cause of Jack's death was revealed in season two's Super Bowl episode, but Milo Ventimiglia will still be featured in season three. "Even though we saw Jack pass, that doesn’t mean that I, Milo, am leaving the show," Ventimiglia revealed on Megyn Kelly Today.
In fact, series creator and showrunner Dan Fogelman told Entertainment Weekly that viewers will learn even more about Jack in the new season. "We can do things with Jack and learn things about Jack that we really can’t with a lot of our other characters," Fogelman told the magazine. "It’s one of the things I’m most excited about - where we go next in learning stuff about Jack. Which is ironic because the character just died in the most public way on national television.”
3. Kevin is on a better path in season three.
Kevin's battle with drug and alcohol addiction came to a dramatic breaking point in season two. We watched Justin Hartley's character hit an all-time low, and now fans are hopeful for a healthy and sober Kevin after a stint in rehab.
Hartley sounded off on Kevin's future during the Deadline studio at SXSW. "I think he’s figured out that it’s not something that you can sort of handle on your own," the actor said of his character's struggle with addiction. "You need people around you and a support system. Kevin has these tools now. He's understanding how to use them, and I think he's progressing in the right direction. I mean, I think he's on the right path, and he's only going to continue to get stronger."
Watch the full video of their SXSW session here:
4. Season three will explore how Kate, Kevin, and Randall cope in the year after Jack's death.
Executive producer and co-showrunner Isaac Aptaker told Glamour that the "seminal year for the big three after the death of their father" will be a season three storyline.
"It happened in February of their senior year of high school, which is a seminal time no matter what," Aptaker revealed to the magazine. "They also had this tragedy occur, which affects the rest of their lives, so we’re going to dive into that year where there’re so many stories to tell about the decisions they make and the way they react to their father’s death shaped the trajectory for the next 20 years of their lives."
Mandy Moore hinted that she's eager to explore what Kate, Kevin, and Randall were experiencing during this period. "They lost their father at 17, 18, that’s a really formidable period of their lives where they were supposed to go off to college," Moore told Variety in an interview. "Kate was going to study music and who knows what genius thing Randall was going to get up to, and I feel like it really derailed everybody, like to varying degrees. So I want to know how that fundamentally impacted them, as individuals, but also our relationship."
5. Randall and Beth's relationship will be tested.
Randall and Beth's relationship evolved throughout season two, as they decided to take in a foster child, Deja, and Randall started a new business. So will obstacles arrive for this fan-favorite couple thanks to these major changes? Since it's This Is Us we're talking about, the answer is likely yes.
“There will be a bit of an exploration of marriage with regards to Randall and Beth going through times that aren’t all sunshine and rainbows,” Sterling K. Brown, who plays Randall, revealed to People magazine. “And that’s not to say that they are in danger of parting ways, but marriage is real and takes work.”
6. We'll learn more about Rebecca and Miguel's relationship.
Many This Is Us fans (myself included) protest Rebecca's present-day marriage to Jack's best friend, Miguel. In season three, we'll get their full love story: Aptaker told Variety Rebecca and Miguel's relationship in the aftermath of Jack's death will develop next season.
"Miguel is the man who tries to step in and help Rebecca manage the Big Three as she’s putting her life back together,"Aptaker said. "What that looks like does lead to the future as we know it for them - but how exactly that plays out and how it leads to that moment we saw in the Halloween flashback episode, where he reaches out to her after many years, is going to be a big Season three story."
7. Expect plenty of flash-forwards in season three.
It's no secret that This Is Us is eager to show the past, present, and future of their beloved characters. In the upcoming season, we can expect even more scenes taking place in the future.
Susan Kelechi Watson, who plays Beth in the series, hinted we'll see more flash-forwards featuring Randall and Tess (like we saw this season) soon. "Now we’ve seen Sterling’s character, we’ve seen Randall in the future," she told TVLine. "And we’ve seen Tess in the future. So that’s probably an avenue that is gonna get explored."
Ventimiglia also hinted at more flash-forwards in season three in an interview with Entertainment Tonight. "[Creator Dan] Fogelman, his intention was always to jump into the future," Ventimiglia said. "That was something we all knew going in and when we saw that jump into grown-up Tess, adult Tess and older Randall, that was where he always wanted to go. I don't know that the show always lives there, but I think understanding that we do exist in the past, it makes sense that we'd exist in the future as well."
8. We'll learn more about Beth.
"I guess we’ll see more of Beth’s family," Kelechi Watson told TVLine in an interview. "We’ll see more of what’s happening between her and Randall in terms of this transition and what’s going to happen with Deja. That’s pretty much all I know so far."
9. And Mandy Moore is hoping for a Rebecca-Kate duet in the future.
While it's unclear if this dream duet will take place in season three, Moore is pushing for it. “My hope still is that I get to do a duet with Chrissy, so present day Rebecca and Kate get to sing together," Moore said in the Deadline interview at SXSW.
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