Chris Sullivan Talks Toby’s Future After Near-Death ‘This Is Us’ Twist
Chris Sullivan is happy to be alive. The This Is Us star, who spent the last five weeks in cliffhanger mode with his character’s fate hanging in the balance, says he knew all along that Toby would be okay, and that he’s relieved that he can finally talk about it after five weeks of playing coy.
Sullivan couldn’t contain his happiness now that the cat is out of the bag regarding the Toby twist. Shortly after the This Is Us winter premiere episode, “The Right Thing To Do,” aired, Chris posted a pic of his character in the hospital with the caption: “We made it!”
— Chris Sullivan (@SullivanTweet) January 11, 2017
In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Chris Sullivan he is happy he can finally talk about the midseason cliffhanger.
“Yeah, we made it out the other side. Toby is alive! He lives.” Sullivan told ET.
“I am relieved to not to have to answer that question anymore. It was all anybody wanted to talk about over the holidays and so now I don’t have to keep the secret anymore. He made it.”
Sullivan said he is thankful to show creator Dan Fogelman and all the This is Us writers for giving him “a very lovable character to play” and he also thanked fans for the overwhelming concern for his character.
“I’m glad that everyone was so concerned,” Chris said. “It was very nice. We’re endearing Toby to people, so that’s a good place to be.”
While viewers were kept in the dark for weeks, Chris Sullivan revealed that said he had reassurance from the get-go from This Is Us creator Dan Fogelman that Toby would survive the Christmas Eve heart attack that had him collapsing in front of his girlfriend Kate (Chrissy Metz) and the entire Pearson clan.
Indeed, Fogelman told the Hollywood Reporter he never considered parting ways with Chris Sullivan or his character.
“We had conversations early on about what would be Toby’s fate,” the showrunner said. “We always knew he was going to have this kind of collapse halfway through the first season. We decided pretty early on that he would make it. We had a lot of illness and potential death touching this family, and it didn’t feel like we could let go of Chris Sullivan. Before we ever started airing, we knew he was going to make it.”
As for that impromptu hospital proposal (or suggestion of one), Chris said fans will soon find out how Kate and Toby’s romance will play out, but that he expects his character to “probably dive in a little deeper into appreciating life and everything that he has” after his near-death experience. Still, he knows his character’s health ailment could come back to haunt him at any point.
“Dan Fogelman will always have that in his back pocket, if I get out of line, you know?” Chris joked to ET.
“If I get too big for my britches on set, Dan Fogelman can remind me that Toby does have a hole in his heart and can go at any second. And can be taken off at any second. But let’s be honest, they can do all the surgeries they want, but the only thing that’s going to fill the hole in Toby’s heart is Kate, you guys!”
Chris Sullivan says now that Toby is on the mend after a successful heart surgery, the next few episodes of the NBC drama will feature him trying to navigate his feelings towards Kate.
“They get closer and their relationship becomes stronger,” Chris told People of Toby and Kate. “Joy and happiness don’t strengthen relationships — difficulty does.”
Chris Sullivan’s character will now stay in New York for a while because his doctor doesn’t want him to travel back to Los Angeles, and his impromptu proposal to Kate will be a recurring theme throughout the remainder of the season.
Of course, it wouldn’t be This Is Us if things weren’t tumultuous, so don’t expect Kate and Toby’s engagement to go off without a hitch. Sullivan’s character has a history of depression, while Metz’ Kate is still dealing with the underlying reasons behind her weight struggles, so expect a few more bumps in the road before these two say “I do.”
Incidentally, This Is Us fans found out a little more about Chris Sullivan’s character in this week’s episode. We now know that Toby’s last name is Damon and that he was born in Palm Springs, California.
Take a look at the video below to see Chris Sullivan and Chrissy Metz in the proposal scene on This Is Us.
[Featured by Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images for FIJI Water]