‘This Is Us’ Creator Dan Fogelman Debunks These Fan Theories About Rebecca and Jack
Over four seasons, This Is Us fans have become so invested in the Pearson family, they can’t wait to find out what happens to them. In the first two seasons, it was all about how did Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) die? Four seasons in, there are exponentially more questions. Fan theories try to answer those questions in the meantime until creator Dan Fogelman delivers the answers.
Fogelman was on a This Is Us panel with the cast for the Television Critics Association on January 11. Showbiz Cheat Sheet asked him to respond to two popular fan theories from season 4. They’re not how the show is going to end, but Fogelman gave those fans props for thinking of them. This Is Us airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on NBC.
Dan Fogelman responds to ‘This Is Us’ Big Three narration theory
The fall finale of This Is Us showed Rebecca (Mandy Moore) wandering around absent-mindedly, forgetting things and misplacing her phone, mistaking a stranger for William. The episode revealed those events happened in two different timelines, but in one Rebecca revealed she was at a movie and forgot what she was there to see during the trailers.
One theory suggests that This Is Us could ultimately be the story of Kevin (Justin Hartley), Kate (Chrissy Metz) and Randall (Sterling K. Brown) telling their mother the story of their family at the end of her life.
“No, we don’t have anything coming at the end like that,” Fogelman said. “I don’t think we’re going to pull the wool out of what the narrative thread of the story is. Obviously where we’re treading with Rebecca, Mandy’s character, this show has always been about time and memory and nostalgia and the way you look back and forward at your family.”
Dan Fogelman responds to ‘It’s all in Jack’s head’
Another theory supposed all of This Is Us is in Jack’s head, either as his life flashes before his eyes in the fire or perhaps he imagines it while drinking. Like the Rebecca theory, Fogelman says the series will address time and memory without such an overt gimmick.
“There are elements of that without the device of the questions you just asked that are coming, but not quite like, oh, this whole thing has been inside somebody’s head,” Fogelman said.
Dan Fogelman appreciates the ‘This Is Us’ fan theories
Even though the above fan theories aren’t correct, Dan Fogelman and the This Is Us writers still like to hear them.
“Sometimes we read theories like, the writers will read a theory, I’m like, ‘Oh, that’s really good. Can we do that?’” Fogelman joked. “But I realize that’s plagiarism.”
The winter premiere of ‘This Is Us’ will give you more answers
It’s been a long winter after the fall finale, learning that at some point in the future Randall and Kevin stop speaking to one another on top of Rebecca’s condition. Fogelman previewed the return of This Is Us for 2020.
“I can just add that our first episode back is a really special episode directed by our cinematographer who’s been our DP, Yasu Tanida, who’s been our DP for the entire run of the series,” Fogelman said. “It starts one of our trilogy sets of episodes, where we have done once before where we have three episodes in a row in the same timeline, where each of the big three get an episode.”
The first episode of that trilogy belongs to Randall.
“It’s this really intense, very unusual, specialized episode of our show that’s about one thing, but it’s also in a really strange way about the marriage between Beth and Randall,” Fogelman said. “I’m really proud of it and of the whole run of the back half of the season.”