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Why This Is Us Creator Dan Fogelman Said the Show Had to End with Season 6
"It's not because we don't have any more story to tell," Fogelman says.
This Is Us ended in May 2022 after six seasons, and it was tough to say goodbye.
For six years, the Emmy-winning drama put fans in their feels. Of course, that's largely credited to its talented cast, including Mandy Moore (Rebecca), Milo Ventimiglia (Jack), Sterling K. Brown (Randall), Chrissy Metz (Kate), Justin Hartley (Kevin), and Susan Kelechi Watson (Beth). Another factor is the show's varying subject matters. Every viewer can find something to identify with, which makes watching This Is Us a cathartic experience. The series has tackled everything from eating disorders to grief, addiction, and racism, all while jumping back and forth in time to show these characters' full journeys.
So, why did This Is Us have to end? It may ease your mind to know series creator Dan Fogelman isn't quite ready to let it go himself. "It's hard ending something you love, so I don't know that everybody feels right now it's the right place to end it," he said at a Television Critics Association press event in February 2022. "Because I think if we could all snap our fingers and just magically have more of this, we probably would."
Of course, that still begs the question: Why not move forward with Season 7? We have the answer, below.
Why won't there be a This Is Us Season 7?
For Fogelman, it's simple: Ending with Season 6 was his intention when the show started in 2016. He says moving forward with Season 7 and beyond could jeopardize the quality and integrity of the series.
"It's not because we don't have any more story to tell," he said at the TCA event. "It's because we exactly planned it to go this way. And so we're on a five‑year path, and to suddenly pivot and add more because we don't want it to end, it wouldn't be quite responsible to the show and what we have planned, and it would start becoming something else," he said.
Fogelman also revealed to The Hollywood Reporter that he first visualized the series finale during Season 1, and he hasn't changed it in the years since. "My hope would be that there’s a positive and optimistic message for the show, in trying to put something positive into the world at a difficult time that would hopefully make people feel something," he said. "And, hopefully, the thing they feel isn’t just sadness or ugliness, but it’s also kind of beautiful and quiet. That’s my hope for the end of it. Whether we get there or not won’t be for us to judge. But that’s the goal."
Will there be a spinoff show?
There are currently no plans for a This Is Us spinoff. However, Fogelman has said he's keeping a small door open to the possibility. “Once you’ve seen the completion of Season 6, the stories of these characters are told,” he told Variety. “So there is no real spinoff because you kind of know everything. Is there another play for the show? I guess you’d never say never, but I don’t see it. It’s personal to me, and I don’t see myself picking this thing back up.”
If he changes his mind, he may want to talk to Metz, who's already thought about a possible concept. "It might be a cool spinoff to have a family that was somehow affiliated with the family—the Pearsons—but not necessarily directly related," she told Entertainment Tonight. "And maybe we could sort of come in and out. As they came in and out of our story, we could come in and out of their story. That would be kind of cool to have another family."
What about a This Is Us movie?
Seeing This Is Us on the big screen is almost too much to imagine—but is it even a possibility? Similarly to whether or not we'll get a spinoff, the answer to this question lies with Fogelman.
"I'm very aware that a midlife crisis is right around the corner for me and that whatever I do next I'm going to hate in comparison to this show and these actors," he said at the TCA event. "So I say no to nothing... If we can figure out a movie down the road, I'd love to get back together with these guys and do it."
Hartley also expressed he'd be completely on board with a film. "I would do a trilogy movie, I really would. I would do a movie every year with these guys," he told Access Hollywood.
How does the cast feel about the series finale?
If fans are having a hard time grappling with the end of This Is Us, imagine how the cast and crew feel. Read some of their thoughts, below.
Mandy Moore: Before filming on Season 6 began, Moore told TODAY, "I don’t think that I’m emotionally ready to accept that this is the end. I know we have 18 more episodes. We haven’t started shooting our final season yet, but this is the best job I’ve ever had, and the fact that I won’t be with this work family anymore, it’s devastating. It’s heartbreaking for us, too.”
Milo Ventimiglia: "I've got a lot of resolve about showing up to work every day, spending time with the crew. We got a great crew," he said on Late Night With Seth Meyers. "But I'm sure those last moments, everyone's going to be in tears... I think we've established the audience will be crying, but us in production, I have a feeling that we'll be emotional. We'll have a hard time letting go."
Sterling K. Brown: "I was like, 'To not see [the cast] regularly in my life makes me a little sad,'" he said at the TCA event. "I still got your phone numbers. Like, I can still call Mandy Moore, which gives me some credibility. But to not be able to see you every day, I'll miss you. I'll miss the story that we've had a chance to tell with one another. And I can't wait for 20 years to do an E! True Hollywood Story. It's going to be awesome."
Chrissy Metz: "We don't even like to talk about [the end]," Metz told Entertainment Weekly. "We're pretending right now that it's just another season."
Justin Hartley: Hartley told TV Insider in October, "This is, obviously, something that I will miss forever. It’s the greatest job I’ve ever had, with just a wonderful group, this wonderful family. These are terrific people that I will forever be friends with, that I will forever do anything for. So it’s kind of sad that I won’t get to see them very often after the show. Obviously, we’ll all go on and do our own things, but I will keep in touch with every one of them.”
Susan Kelechi Watson: She said at the TCA event, "We get to actually maintain the integrity of what we came to [do]. We get to stick to that road map and exit while it's still good. It feels like we get to walk away and be really proud of something that feels like it's still resonating."
Where to watch This Is Us
Watch every episode of This Is Us on NBC.com. Also: Relive some of the show's best moments here on NBC's This Is Us: The Final Chapter digital experience.