‘This Is Us’ Season 6 Finale: Creator Explains Why Rebecca Died Before the Last Episode

NBC’s This Is Us fans weren’t surprised by Rebecca’s death in This Is Us Season 6 Episode 17, “The Train.” Rebecca’s ending had been teased all season long, and viewers finally got to see her reunite with Jack as she drifted away. Now, the This Is Us Season 6 finale comes next. Here’s why show creator Dan Fogelman didn’t want Rebecca to die in the final episode.

Rebecca’s death in ‘This Is Us’ Season 6 Episode 17, ‘The Train,’ brought the cast to tears

Randall looking at Rebecca as she's lying in a hospital bed in 'This Is Us' Season 6 Episode 17, 'The Train'
Sterling K. Brown as Randall, Mandy Moore as Rebecca | Ron Batzdorff/NBC

The This Is Us Season 6 finale takes place after Rebecca’s death in episode 17, “The Train.” Episode 17 brought the Big Three together to say goodbye to Rebecca, and Rebecca’s subconscious put her on a literal train. While on the train, Rebecca was able to look back on the significant moments of her life up to her death.

Fans had a tough time watching Rebecca die after so many years with the character. And the cast also felt deeply affected by the character’s death. Mandy Moore openly admitted she threw up when she read the script for “The Train.” She also told The Hollywood Reporter that she couldn’t be present when the actors were saying their goodbyes to Rebecca, as it made her cry.

“Because, as much as I’d like to, I can’t be crying. I can’t be present,” Moore explained. “So, I had to put myself in the middle of the ocean on my own plane. And that was surprising to me. I thought I could be quiet and still and listen to everyone, but it was far more challenging than I expected.”

Series creator Dan Fogelman explained why Rebecca didn’t die in the final episode

Randall kissing Rebecca's forehead in 'This Is Us' Season 6 Episode 17, 'The Train'
Sterling K. Brown as Randall, Mandy Moore as Rebecca | Ron Batzdorff/NBC

The This Is Us Season 6 finale could’ve featured Rebecca’s death, but series creator Dan Fogelman had his reasons for not leaving on that note. According to Variety, Fogelman didn’t want the finale to just focus on the Pearson family’s loss.

“So much attention that was put on ‘How does Jack die?’ early on. How Jack dies and the big episode where, in fact, he does die. But so much of our series is about what happens after,” Fogelman told the publication. “And I always wanted and always had planned for the final episode of the series to revolve around the epilogue of the continuing story of the family rather than the moment.”

Fogelman then noted he wanted the show to exemplify how “the human spirit kind of endures and moves forward, rather than just a moment that would have everybody hysterically crying because somebody passes at the end.”

The ‘This Is Us’ Season 6 finale will leave fans on a hopeful note

While “The Train” focuses on loss, “Us,” the title of the This Is Us Season 6 finale, will leave fans feeling hopeful for where the Pearson family is headed next. Mandy Moore told Entertainment Weekly that she cried when reading the script for the final episode, but only because it was the final episode she would ever be a part of.

“I cried just because it was the end,” she explained. “But it was not nearly as upsetting to me. I was like, ‘Ah, what a beautiful way to wrap this up.’ I just remember closing [the script], going, ‘You stuck the landing, Dan. You really did. No one’s going to be disappointed.’ This is a really beautiful way to end this story.”

The This Is Us Season 6 finale airs Tuesday, May 24, at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.

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