In a new interview, the Emmy-winning actor, who plays adult Randall Pearson on the series, was asked if the prevalence of the Black Lives Matter movement will influence his character in the coming season. This Is Us fans know that Randall is an elected official in a predominantly Black Philadelphia constituency.
Brown revealed that he has talked to the This Is Us showrunner Dan Fogelman about how real-life topics may be addressed in the upcoming fifth season, but that nothing has been set in stone due to the extended filming hiatus amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“I’ve had conversations with Dan and the writers from our show, and I know that the world is necessarily going to impact the world of the Pearsons,” Brown told TV Line.
The actor explained that Fogelman doesn’t want to be “too specific” with regards to what viewers will be seeing in Season 5 just yet because producers still don’t know when they will be going back into production and they want to keep an eye on what else is going to be transpiring in the world that they may also want to incorporate into the show.
“There’s thoughts that were percolating in the writers’ room with regards to how and if to address the pandemic,” Brown explained. “And then over the past month/five weeks, there’s been, you know, since Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor and then George Floyd and others who went out before, right, there’s now like, ‘How do we address this, too?’… So I know that everyone is paying attention, and that our intention is to reflect the world in which we live.”
Brown’s TV sister Chrissy Metz (Kate Pearson on This Is Us) previously said she thinks the contemporary show will “have” to address the real-life issues of 2020 when it returns for Season 5, per Page Six.
As for the past, Brown also teased that viewers may get to see more of his character Randall’s backstory in a way that hasn’t been seen before on the time-jumping drama series. Viewers previously got a look at some members of Randall’s biological family in the Season 1 tearjerker episode “Memphis,” when his character took a road trip with his bio dad William (Ron Cephas Jones).
Of the upcoming storyline, Brown said it’s “an excavation of Randall’s past, connected to family again” and that he thinks it’s going to be a really “soul-searching” sort of thing. He explained that there is Randall’s late father William and all of the other people connected to William, so there’s many “opportunities” to meet people connected to his past.