This Is Us wrapped up its emotional second season this week, but not before teasing a few threads about what's to come. What will Kevin find in Vietnam? Did something trigger Toby's depression? Who is the mysterious "her" future Randall and Tess are referring to?
Despite its reputation as a tear-jerking family show, This Is Us also loves a good mystery. Though we've now seen the circumstances surrounding Jack's death, there's a lot of Pearson family drama left to explore and uncover. Here's everything we know about Season 3, so far, compiled from interviews with the cast and creators.
When is This Is Us Season 3 coming back?
NBC picked up the second and third seasons of This Is Us back in January 2017, once it was clear they had a massive hit on their hands. Series creator Dan Fogelman confirmed at a SXSW panel earlier this week that there will be 18 episodes in Season 3, and that it will return in September. No exact date has been set, but seeing as Season 2 premiered on September 26 of last year, we'd expect a similar Tuesday primetime date.
Get ready for even more Jack Pearson
Jack may have died in Season 2, but given the show's unique structure -- rife with flashbacks, flash-forwards, and the occasional dream sequence -- don't expect him to go anywhere. In the finale's aftershow, This Is Us executive producers Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger spoke about Jack's story going forward.
"I think Season 2 was so much about Jack's death, obviously, and I think Season 3, in a really cool way, is going to be more about his life and sort of focusing on these chapters that we haven't yet seen," said Berger. "I think Jack has alluded to Rebecca that he has a lot of secrets and there are parts of his life that even she hasn't been privy to, and we're going to get to really explore those parts in a really exciting way."
Some of Jack's stories will come out when Kevin and his new girlfriend Zoe travel to Vietnam, where Jack and his brother served in the war. We know very little about this time in Jack's life except that his brother died there and that it drove him to the bottle. Fogelman hinted at SXSW that Season 3 is "a big Vietnam season for us," so it's safe to say we'll spend a lot of time on that storyline.
Fogelman also teased that Season 3 will have more "Jack and Rebecca origin stories." We're going to need those after the finale ripped our heart out with a fantasy sequence of an older Jack and Rebecca renewing their vows.
We'll spend more time with the Big Three right after Jack's death
The last time we saw the teenage versions of Kevin, Kate, and Randall, they were mourning their father at his wake. We know though Rebecca that Kevin left the family pretty quickly after graduating high school, and that he married Sophie around that time. We also know that Kate stayed in Pittsburgh for a while, presumably never going to Berklee College of Music, and that Randall met Beth and had Tess when he was 28. Other than that, there's no clear timeline of what happened in between these years, or how the kids specifically dealt with their dad's death.
Aptaker told Glamour that Season 3 will dig into the year after Jack's death. "It happened in February of their senior year of high school, which is a seminal time no matter what. They also had this tragedy occur, which affects the rest of their lives, so we're going to dive into that year where there're so many stories to tell about the decisions they make and the way they react to their father's death shaped the trajectory for the next 20 years of their lives."