Sterling K. Brown will have some emotional scenes coming up in the back half of This Is Us’ first season. Brown, who plays Randall Pearson on the hit NBC drama, will also headline an upcoming present day episode of the series. In an interview at the Television Critics Association winter previews, This Is Us creator Dan Fogelman said Brown’s character, Randall, will focus heavily on his dad William’s (Ron Cephas Jones) fight with cancer, despite his current rivalry with newcomer Sanjay Jahiri (Hari Dhillon) at work.
“The back half of the season is very much focused on William’s fight with cancer,” Fogelman said, according to TV Guide.
“Different answers are searched for, and different possible outcomes are on the table. In terms of Randall’s storyline and William’s storyline, our focus really turns to that.”
This Is Us fans already know that William will die in a future episode. In a flash forward scene, Brown’s character was previously shown in mourning as he packed away his father’s clothing and sobbed while holding his hat. While Fogelman wouldn’t reveal if William will make it to Season 2, viewers saw the character get a renewed sense of energy thanks to a “chemo boost” after he decided to stop getting cancer treatments.
— Sterling K Brown (@sterlingkb1) January 25, 2017
Fogelman says that while fans won’t see as much of William’s relationship with his boyfriend Jesse (due, in part, to guest star Denis O’Hare’s busy schedule), they will learn more about the woman who gave birth to Sterling K. Brown’s character. There will also be another play on the This is Us format as there was a few episodes ago in the entirely 1980s-set episode, “The Big Day.”
“In a couple of episodes there’s an episode with entirely Sterling,” Fogelman told reporters. (While the showrunner didn’t name the episode, an upcoming This Is Us episode is titled “Jack Pearson’s Son.”)
In addition, Entertainment Weekly reports that viewers will get to meet other members of Randall’s biological family. The Leftovers alum Amanda Warren will guest star as William’s mother, Dorothy, in an upcoming episode of This Is Us.
Dorothy will be featured in flashbacks with a young William (Jermel Nakia). In addition, Brian Tyree Henry (Atlanta) will also guest star on the show.
“He plays a friend from William’s past is all I can say,” Fogelman told TV Guide. “In both flashback and present day.”
Some fans have speculated that Sterling K. Brown’s Randall could have a biological brother, although EW says Henry will play William’s cousin.
No matter what happens with his character throughout the rest of the season, Sterling K. Brown is counting his lucky stars. Sterling was nominated for a SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series for his role in the NBC breakout hit, and while he lost to The Crown star John Lithgow, Brown was especially emotional over getting a nod at the peer-nominated awards ceremony.
“I started to cry,” Sterling K. Brown told the Los Angeles Times. “Just sobbing like a baby because you know to have a supporting role in what I consider a wonderful ensemble and to see the nominees that I was nominated within that category. My wife woke up because she heard me cry. She said, ‘What’s the matter?’ I said, ‘I just got nominated for ‘This Is Us.‘ She’s like, ‘Baby, it’s OK. It’s OK.'”
Sterling K. Brown knows that This is Us is something special.
“I’ve been reading scripts for a long time and something that’s nuanced and heartwarming and funny and just beautiful doesn’t land on your lap that often,” Brown told the Times. “This is something special happening. This is entertainment but this is not just entertainment. This is something that’s going beyond the pale.”
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Sterling K. Brown has had a great year. He previously won an Emmy Award for his role as Christopher Darden in The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, and next up, he’ll star in Marvel’s The Black Panther.
You can see Sterling K. Brown on This Is Us Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.
Take a look at the video below to see Sterling K. Brown talking about his This Is Us character, Randall Pearson.
[Featured Image by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images]