This Is Us creator Dan Fogelman spilled Season 5 restart information and a surprising storyline twist that will include the current worldwide coronavirus pandemic in a new tweet. The showrunner made the reveal after a fan retweeted a screenshot from a Disney Television Studios panel at Deadline's Contenders Television, where several of the series' stars including Sterling K. Brown, Phylicia Rashad, and Ron Cephas Jones were featured as they discussed their part in the series.
Along with a shared image from the discussion, the fan asked several pointed questions of Fogelman, including when This Is Us would head back into production. They queried when new episodes would air, and if the writers addressed COVID-19 in the present day. They also asked if the long-planned show ender at the close of Season 6 would remain the same in the light of the present-day events.
Fogelman addressed each question directly but did not elaborate his answers.
"Not sure yet on the production start. Not sure when new eps will air. Yes on COVID. We've decided to attack things head-on. Very proud of the This Is Us writers. Same planned ending. Same route to get there," he explained.
The addition of the coronavirus pandemic to the storyline, which spans the majority of the lifetime of core characters The Big Three, surprised fans who wondered just how that would play out in the delicate relationship balance of siblings Randall, Kevin, and Kate Pearson. These characters are played by Brown, Justin Hartley, and Chrissy Metz.
"Thanks for the answers!! I love that you are tackling COVID in your upcoming scripts and that you are sticking to your ending. Look forward to seeing the show when it is safe for you all to go back into production," remarked one Twitter user.
A second viewer wrote that the tempestuous relationship between the two brothers that came to a head at the close of the finale episode in March could also lend itself to a deep dive into the ongoing Black Lives Matter movement. They cited that conflict would contain serious and heavy material where both Randall and Kevin, as well as their extended family, could have differing viewpoints.
"Thank you for your show and all that you do. Reading that coronavirus will be a part of what you are doing stays true to who you all are each week. It's a moment to watch life in its raw form and come to the realization that other people's experiences match mine," explained a third social media viewer.
Other fans asked for an extension of the NBC series by one more season due to the pandemic.