AUSTIN, Texas — For those of us in the audience at Monday’s early preview of tonight's “This is Us" finale, there wasn’t a dry eye. The panel on Tuesday was a little more lighthearted, but gave a very intimate look at some of the behind-the-scenes of a show that’s captured many of our hearts.
- Season 2 finale premieres Tuesday night at 8 p.m., guest starring Dan Lauria (“Wonder Years”) and Wendie Malick (“Just Shoot Me!”)
- Originally supposed to be a movie about the Peasings, which was eventually tossed out and replaced with what we know, the Pearsons
- Show won’t return until September 2018
Those that were at the screening were sworn to secrecy on what we had just seen, and were lucky enough to get a cast wrap-up afterwards. One that, unfortunately, our lips will remain sealed about, too.
The "This is Us" aftershow discussion at the Paramount Theatre on Monday, March 12, 2018. Pictured, from left: Radloff, Aptaker, Fogelman, Hartley, Moore and Ventimiglia.
Glamour magazine writer Jessica Radloff moderated both the post-screening discussion and the panel with creator Dan Fogelman and cast members Milo Ventimiglia (Jack Pearson), Mandy Moore (Rebecca Pearson) and Justin Hartley (Kevin Pearson). Showrunner and co-producer Isaac Aptaker was in attendance for the screening, but did not attend the panel.
One thing we are allowed to tell you is that Dan Lauria (“Wonder Years” dad extraordinaire) is going to play Toby's dad on tonight's season finale show, and Wendie Malick (“Just Shoot Me!”) is playing his mom.
Now for the sad news: The show won’t be returning again until September, which garnered a collective sigh from the audience, to which Fogelman replied, “Guys we need time to write! We need breaks too,” with Moore nodding her head in agreeance after having just flown from Australia with a stop off in Ireland before heading straight to Austin.
The crew remained tight-lipped about new season, but Fogelman said that they will continue the route of traveling back and forward into time — including exploring the origin story of Jack and Rebecca, and at the preview screening yesterday at the Paramount, said we’ll see more of the Vietnam story.
The cast remarked on fan encounters, including a humorous one (with video) about moderator Jessica’s mom getting to meet Hartley who had been a fan since his “Young and the Restless" days.
One of the most touching parts of the panel included the most genuine compliments to one another about their work on the show. When asked what their favorite scenes were, it was always one that featured a fellow cast member.
Ventimiglia recounted a story from dinner the night before where a fan approached simply to say ‘thank you’ and went on to explain how much the show had impacted her. He said it meant so much and that, it is refreshing to meet someone whose end goal isn’t a prize [a photo/video], but rather there for the human connection — that a phone almost feels like a weapon these days.
Speaking of weapons and the state of the world today, Fogelman said when he watches CNN, it’s hard to wrap his head around the state of the world, but that the show’s popularity "gives him hope a little bit. Gives me hope that this other stuff will fade away."
Moore echoed the boss’ sentiment saying, “It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity, in such a divisive time, to be a part of entertainment that is hopeful and inclusive.”
When an audience member asks if we’d get to hear more of Mandy singing in the future, Fogelman offered up a nugget, saying: "I think in season three, we're planning on potentially seeing quite a bit of Jack and Rebecca's origin story, of what happened after they met at that bar and what was their courtship life and exploring that period quite a bit.”
"And singing, honestly, was a big part of her life back then so I think it's fair to say that there will be some."
Moore, for her part, is down to use her vocals.
"I would like to sing with Chrissy [Metz] at some point on the series. I think that would be so fun," Moore added.
The finale airs Tuesday, March 13, at 8 p.m. CT on NBC. Have the tissues on hand.