This Is Us has once again left fans with a lot of really big questions. The Season 3 finale gave us our first look at future Rebecca (Mandy Moore), who was not in great shape medically and appeared to be suffering from some sort of dementia as the Pearson extended family gathered for a somber gathering that also included pin the tail on the donkey and sidewalk chalk.
The enigmatic flash forward came after a finale that saw Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson) and Randall (Sterling K. Brown) solve their marriage rift by moving to Philadelphia so Randall could be closer to work and Beth could open her own dance studio. Meanwhile, Kevin (Justin Hartley) realized he really does want kids, which led to the dissolution of his relationship with Zoe (Melanie Liburd). Kate (Chrissy Metz) got happier news as baby Jack finally started breathing on his own and grew enough to be able to come home at last.
The developments in the current timeline led to more questions in the future, though. Kate and young Jack were suspiciously missing from the festivities, though Toby (Chris Sullivan) ultimately made it. Kevin has a tween son in the future as well, though we don't know how that happened. Even more mysteriously, it was Nicky (Griffin Dunne) who was sitting by Rebecca's bedside when Randall arrived, not Miguel (Jon Huertas).
TV Guide spoke to This Is Us executive producers Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger to try and get answers for our burning questions about Rebecca, her condition, and what exactly this gathering is about. They also teased what they are most excited to explore in expected, but not yet announced, fourth season.
What can you say about Rebecca's condition?
Elizabeth Berger: We only say specifically that this is a much older, much different Rebecca than we're used to seeing. We're going to be giving more answers specifically about her condition as we move forward.
Where is Kate?
Isaac Aptaker: Great question! You'll have to stay tuned and all will be revealed.
Is the little boy we see talking to Randall Jack, or is it a different child whom Kevin will end up raising?
Aptaker: That is Kevin's son.
Does that mean we can expect Kevin to find a significant other in Season 4, or is he going to go into parenting alone?
Aptaker: Either one is totally possible. We saw at the end of this season that Kevin is realizing that perhaps having a child of his own is more important than he'd ever realized, somewhere in the grand scheme of his life. That is something he'll be moving towards. Whether it's finding a partner and having a kid or having a kid on his own remains to be seen.
Miguel is also missing from this final sequence. What can we assume happened to him?
Berger: That is also a story that we will be telling slowly moving forward.
What is the importance of pin the tail on the donkey game at this "party"?
Aptaker: That's another one that people should be a little bit confused by right now: the fact that they're bringing these fun, kind of childish party elements — the chalk and the pin the tail on the donkey — to what seems to be a pretty somber gathering. It's not supposed to make sense just yet, but if people trust us, we do have a plan. It will all be explained.
Dan Fogelman has said this is about the midpoint of his grand plan for the series. If the first half was setting us up, what can you say about what the tone and content of the second half will be?
Berger: All of these questions that we can't answer right now are all of the things that we're really excited to tell going forward, filling in the blanks. We have a lot of joyous stories that we're excited to tell. We have some heartbreaking stories that we're excited to tell. Those blanks about what happens to Kevin romantically? How does this kid come about? Where is Miguel? These are all things that we are itching to tell, storywise, so we've really set ourselves up for some juicy stuff going forward.
Do you see the second half being a bunch of these smaller questions, or do we have another "How did Jack die?"-sized mystery coming our way in Season 4?
Aptaker: Going into Season 4, there's nothing as ominous or dark as the death of a main character, but I think there are a lot of expected relationships that are going to come into play and also some brand new characters that people would have no way to see coming that are going to come into our Pearsons' lives and really stir the pot.
Beth and Randall "found the door" in this episode, as Beth puts it, and they didn't get divorced. Is moving to Philadelphia automatically going to fix things for them though, or will there still be bumps in the road?
Berger: I don't think that it's a fix for anything. We feel like they came through this chapter stronger than ever, that they were really put through the paces. They really had to look inward, look at their marriage and their priorities, and do the work to restore [the marriage]. So we do feel like when we come back, we are seeing the couple that we know and love perhaps even better than ever because of what they've gone through. We're definitely coming back to see a united front, but obviously, there's going to be completely new challenges from being in a new city, being in a new environment, having three girls that have just been wrenched out of their daily routines. Those are the kind of things that we're excited to play moving forward.
Can we expect Kate and Rebecca's relationship to improve in Season 4?
Aptaker: I don't know if I would say "improve" is the exact right word, because I think it's going to be tested in a new way. They found this really nice balance last year at Kate's wedding. It sort of continued on this really nice path this year, but that's been a dynamic where they're separated by three time zones and a country. Now that they're going to be living right on top of each other, I think they're going to have to find a new equilibrium, but we are excited to tell those stories and to have Rebecca and Miguel out on our West Coast with our California characters.
With Rebecca on the West Coast, is there a better chance that we'll get to see Mandy and Chrissy sing together?
Berger: I would say there is a better chance. It's something that we always talk about doing because we in the writers' room also love the idea of it. It's somehow continuously gotten pushed, but hopefully this season we can finally do it.
Aptaker: We know we want it. We know there's a danger that it crosses over into, "We're the Partridge Family all of a sudden." We're very careful with it, but it's a really cool, exciting idea. We know people are dying to see it, so yeah, perhaps.
What are you most excited for fans to see in Season 4?
Aptaker: I'm really excited to dive back into this younger romantic period of Jack and Rebecca. When we left them off this season, they were leaving Los Angeles to head back to Pittsburgh to start on this life together. They date for quite a long time. They don't get married for quite a while. They don't have kids for quite a while. There's a lot more of their story to tell before they become the mom and dad that we're used to seeing every week. I'm really excited to play more in that time period.
Berger: I think we have really exciting stuff planned for all of the characters that you already know and love. I'm really excited for a couple of new characters that we're introducing. We always say, sort of like Kevin's painting, our story expands outwards. I think it's going to expand in a really exciting, satisfying way, so I can't wait for people to see it.
This Is Us has yet to be renewed for Season 4 by NBC.