This Is Us will have a bit of a time jump when it picks up for its third season—and a major jump back in time. During a panel at the Television Critics Association Summer Tour, the showrunners of the NBC drama revealed where the show will pick up and where it will be headed throughout Season 3.
The second season of This Is Us predominantly focused on the heartbreaking mystery surrounding Jack’s Pearson’s (Milo Ventimiglia) premature death in 1998. For Season 3, co-showrunners Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger revealed the family’s story will move past the tragedy of their patriarch’s death with a focus on the clan’s early beginnings and even a peek at the future.
“We pick up on our Big Three’s [38th] birthday,” Aptaker said of the show’s present-day storyline, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
While cliffhangers on the Season 3 finale included a look at Kevin Pearson (Justin Hartley) headed to Vietnam with new girlfriend Zoe (Melanie Liburd) and Toby (Chris Sullivan) in a future depressed state, the This Is Us executive producer revealed the Season 3 storylines “are going to catch up to all of those moments over the course of this year.”
In addition, Tony and Kate’s (Chrissy Metz) journey to have a family will continue this season while Randall (Sterling K Brown) and Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson) will address the fact that their foster daughter, Deja (Lyric Ross) was last seen wielding a baseball bat at their car.
Aptaker also teased that flashbacks to Jack Pearson’s service in Vietnam will be a major storyline in Season 3.
“We are going to be spending a lot of time in Vietnam. We hired Tim O’Brien, who is one of the premier novelists and a veteran himself, to come consult in our writers’ room because most of us were not actually alive during Vietnam. We wanted that authority there to really get the story right. He’s actually co-writing, with Dan Fogelman, an early episode that really dives into Jack’s history there.”
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In addition, the origins of three love stories—Jack and Rebecca (Mandy Moore), Randall and Beth, and, yes, Miguel (Jon Huertas) and Rebecca—will all get a spotlight this season. This Is Us creator Dan Fogelman previously told Variety the first episode’s flashback storyline will be about Jack and Rebecca’s first date back in the early 1970s.
“Our first episode back is our past storyline which is basically the first date, the first night following their meeting that Jack and Rebecca ever have together. We’re really into early, early Jack and Rebecca incarnations, origin story.”
This Is Us fans can also look forward to more scenes featuring Ron Cephas Jones as Randall’s birth father, William, and Gerald McRaney as beloved Pearson family friend, Dr. K.
This Is Us returns Sept. 25 on NBC.