Season four of This Is Us just ended—read our recap about the finale with Justin Hartley for more—but creator Dan Fogelman is already hard at work on the next season. “I’ve written the season premiere for season five,” he said on a call with reporters, “and there’s something big that happens. We have our entire plan mapped out for seasons five and six.”
That’s welcome news for fans who can’t wait to reunite with their favorite characters, especially during these uncertain times. “I feel like a small thing we can do is keep our [TV] world moving and provide an hour-long reprieve for people,” he says.
So what can you look forward to when the series returns? Here’s what we know. Caution: Some spoilers ahead.
Season five will likely air this fall. Of course, everything depends on when it will be safe to go back to work following the coronavirus pandemic. Production on This Is Us usually starts in July for the show to premiere in mid to late September. We’ll let you know as soon as NBC announces a start date.
The new season will be about re-birth. The theme for season four was expansion (as in new characters) and ambitious storylines (the deep future). Fogelman says season five, however, will be about uplifting moments and new beginnings. “I’m very excited about that, especially with where the world is right now,” he says. “I would call it almost a re-birth that will come next season. [There will be] a lot of new beginnings and particularly the words birth and re-birth is going to be a big thematic part of next season.”
The main cast will return. Mandy Moore, Milo Ventimiglia, Sterling K. Brown, Justin Hartley, Chrissy Metz, Susan Kelechi Watson, and Chris Sullivan will all be back, along with recurring characters like Madison (Caitlin Thompson) and Jack Damon (Blake Stadnik). While it may not seem like there’s as much to uncover in past storylines, Fogelman says that’s not true. “Jack and Rebecca will always be in the show in those past timelines, plus younger versions of the kids,” he says. As for future storylines, Fogelman says the show will continue to move forward into later years, and not just the deep future where Jack Jr. lives. “It’s so interesting to think we started with Rebecca and Jack, with him sitting with a towel, and then decades later there will be all these human beings that will be offshoots of these people.”