- Share this article on Facebook
- Share this article on Twitter
- Share this article on Email
- Show additional share options
- Share this article on Print
- Share this article on Comment
- Share this article on Whatsapp
- Share this article on Linkedin
- Share this article on Reddit
- Share this article on Pinit
- Share this article on Tumblr
[This story contains spoilers for the series finale of NBC’s This Is Us.]
After six long, teary seasons, This Is Us came to a close Tuesday, following up Rebecca’s (played by Mandy Moore) death in the penultimate episode with a finale set both at her funeral and in a happy memory of the family’s past.
Following such an emotional second-to-last episode, the cast reflected on creator Dan Fogelman’s decision to end the series on a more hopeful, uplifting note at the show’s finale event in Los Angeles on Sunday.
“I think it’s important to leave people smiling — maybe a tearful smile,” Moore told The Hollywood Reporter on the red carpet. “That last episode wiped me out and in a way I feel like, maybe selfishly because my character passed away, but I felt like that feels like the finale and this feels like a bit of an epilogue. But it’s the perfect way to tie everything up.”
“I think there’s always so much pressure that shows put on themselves to go out with a bang, the biggest and the most bold. But I think the way Fogelman has created this everyday scenario, very simple-to-life scenario, I think is beautiful and wonderful, and I think that’s very right,” said Ventimiglia. “It’s reminding us, the audience, that the living is in the small moments, not these big grandiose things. It’s actually the small everyday things — Rebecca even says it, she’s worried about forgetting the small moments of life. I’m excited for people to see it because it’s been a very wonderful experience for all of us who made the show and I know that it’s impacted a lot of people positively.”
And though the characters are grieving in the finale, they are able to reflect back on these childhood memories and move on with appreciation, as Chrissy Metz says the show deals beautifully with “joy through the pain, pain through the joy” and showing that “it’s important to feel the feelings as we’re going through them instead of brushing them under the rug. I think the Pearsons have showed everybody that we can come through the other side, but you have to go through it.”
More than half of the finale had been shot in advance, with Moore and Ventimiglia’s scenes almost entirely filmed three to fours years ago, partially because Fogelman wanted to capture the child actors at a specific young age. Moore said Fogelman told the stars at the time that the scenes would be used in the ending, but they had no idea how — and after years of distance, “I don’t even remember the scenes,” she admitted. “I was like, ‘What did we shoot?'”
Added Ventimiglia, “Dan had the forethought to know where he wanted the show to end, to understand what he wanted to do with it, so because of that we’re going to have a pretty wonderful episode,” as Chris Sullivan confirms, “It’s even more beautiful than we expected.”
As for a possible reunion special, film or spinoff down the line, though Fogelman is content with ending on his terms and ready to move on, his cast is on board if he ever chooses to revisit the Pearson family.
“I will never say no to being with my friends here,” said Moore. “Like anything, literally, I’m like sign me up, I’ll do it.” And Sullivan has his own idea of what that return might look like, following the finale reveal that Randall (Sterling K. Brown) is going to throw his hat in the presidential candidate ring.
“Ten years from now we all come back, pick up the story wherever they are 10 years from now,” Sullivan suggests. “Randall’s president, Toby’s his chief of staff, and it’s not This Is Us, it’s The West Wing. Aaron Sorkin writes it and it’s the characters from This Is Us and that’s what TV is then.”
For more of THR’s This Is Us final season and finale coverage, read interviews with Mandy Moore, Justin Hartley, Jon Huertas, Chrissy Metz and Chris Sullivan; the ensemble together; and more from Fogelman.
Sign up for THR news straight to your inbox every day