How ‘This Is Us’ Will ‘Attack’ the COVID-19 Pandemic in Season 5

This Is Us will be back for season 5, but a premiere date is still up in the air. The cast and crew are still waiting to begin production amid the COVID-19 pandemic. However, showrunner Dan Fogelman says the schedule for the time-jumping NBC drama isn’t the only thing the pandemic has affected.

This Is Us
The cast of ‘This Is Us’ | Rodin Eckenroth/FilmMagic

Fans will see the beginning of Rebecca and Miguels’ relationship in season 5

Due to the time-jumping in the This Is Us storyline, fans have yet to see the beginning of Rebecca (Mandy Moore) and Miguel’s (Jon Huertas) relationship. Moore recently told TV Insider that this is something the writers want to explore. And, it will happen in season 5.

“I feel like that will be one of the greatest tricks of the show is getting people to get on board with Rebecca and Miguel,” said Moore.

The Emmy-nominee admits that the story will always be about Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) and Rebecca. But, Rebecca and Miguel deserve a “new lease on life,” says Moore. She is excited to see how they are going to bring the characters together.

Amid the production shutdown, Moore says that the This Is Us writers reconvened over the summer. She revealed that Fogelman had already written the first two episodes. And, Moore says the new season will be “super ambitious,” like always.

‘This Is Us’ season 5 is all about new beginnings

Every season of This Is Us has an overall theme. In season 4, the theme was all about adding new characters and expanding the storyline. For season 5, Fogelman says the theme is new beginnings.

“I’m very excited about that, especially with where the world is right now,” Fogelman told Glamour. “I would call it almost a rebirth that will come next season. [There will be] a lot of new beginnings and particularly the words birth and rebirth are going to be a big thematic part of next season.”

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Fogelman also said during a recent panel that he and the writers are trying to figure out how to incorporate the major events from 2020 into the storyline. 

During the first four seasons, he says they have made it a point to avoid current news. But, this current moment in time with the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter protests are “something different.” If they attack these topics, he says it needs to be done in the right way.

The COVID-19 pandemic will be part of ‘This Is Us’

Fogelman recently confirmed on Twitter that they will tackle the pandemic “head-on” during the upcoming season of This Is Us. He told Entertainment Weekly’s Dan Snierson for the 92Y that the show is “uniquely suited” to mark this current moment in time.

Even though it makes sense for the pandemic to affect the Pearson family in some way, Fogelman admits it is “complicated territory.” He still has a plan to incorporate the virus into the storyline. But, how that happens will depend on when the show is able to begin filming.

Fogelman noted it was hard enough for the writers to keep track of “18,000 timelines and characters.” He admitted that there was serious debate about the show taking place in a world where coronavirus never happened.

On the flip side, they discussed having the first nine episodes of the new season all taking place during quarantine.

“We’ve been all over the map. I think we have a plan that splits the balance…. But you know, we’re fluid writers. We have the ability to adjust as needed,” said Fogelman.

Season 5 of This Is Us will hopefully premiere on NBC sometime in 2020.