'This Is Us': Everything we know about the heartwarming (and heartbreaking) new season

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  • Dan Fogelman
    American screenwriter
  • Mandy Moore
    Mandy Moore
    American singer, songwriter, actress and voice actress
  • Milo Ventimiglia
    Milo Ventimiglia
    American actor
Mandy Moore and Milo Ventimiglia return as Rebecca and Jack on the third season of
Mandy Moore and Milo Ventimiglia return as Rebecca and Jack on the third season of This Is Us. (Photo: Ron Batzdorff/NBC)

The Pearsons are back — well, almost.

After what feels like an intolerably long break for fans of This Is Us, Jack and Rebecca, Randall and Beth, and all the rest return to NBC on Sept. 25 at 9 p.m. Though it seems like the cast has already pulled every tear they possibly can from viewers (*raises hand*), there’s much more to come.

Although the show makers are keeping much of the upcoming season under wraps, here’s some of what we can expect.

There’s a big surprise in the first episode

As Mandy Moore told Entertainment Weekly, there was an early moment in the season that left her reeling. “There’s something that doesn’t involve my character that’s a bit of a twist in the first episode that people are going to be like, ‘Whaaa…?'” she said. “It’s a bad ‘Whaaa…?’ It’s not heartwarming.”

Jack and Rebecca will return to their first date

The trailer for the new season shows that the Pearson family’s core couple, played by Milo Ventimiglia and Moore, will return to the night of their first date, part of which they spent at a carnival. Jack’s gone in the present day, sure, but his character will still loom large over the season.

The cast of
The cast of This Is Us is back with more heartwarming drama. (Photo: NBC)

An early episode focuses on Jack in Vietnam

Creator Dan Fogelman explained the show would be “diving heavy” into Jack’s service in the Vietnam War, with the aid of an expert on the subject. “One of my writing heroes, Tim O’Brien, who wrote The Things They Carried and many other novels, I just finished actually writing an episode with him that’s an entire Vietnam Jack backstory episode, early in our season,” he told Deadline. “That’s going to be really incredibly exciting and unusual.”

Actor Michael Angarano, from Will and Grace and I’m Dying Up Here, will play a new character, Jack’s brother Nicky, who’s part of the Vietnam storyline.

The ‘her’ future Randall spoke about to adult Tess will be revealed

In one of the show’s signature flash-forwards, last season’s audience saw an older Randall (played by Sterling K. Brown) tell his eldest daughter, “It’s time to go see her, Tess.” Iantha Richardson, who plays the character, responds, “I’m not ready.” Brown has promised that the mysterious “her” will be “illuminated.”

William returns

Ron Cephas Jones, who portrays Randall’s biological father, will appear in flashbacks. “Our second episode has a big William story, and we have others coming,” Fogelman told EW. “Of our first seven or eight episodes that we’ve got written right now, he’s a substantial part of three or four of them.”

Kevin’s still got a girlfriend

Remember how Kevin (Justin Hartley) hit it off with Beth’s cousin Zoe, played by Melanie Liburd, at the end of last season? Well, Liburd has been promoted to a series regular. Good news for Kevin and Zoe, but bad news for Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson), who’s skeptical of Kevin’s intentions.

Newlyweds Kate (Chrissy Metz) and Toby (Chris Sullivan) could be in for a rocky road. (Photo: Ron Batzdorff/NBC)
Newlyweds Kate (Chrissy Metz) and Toby (Chris Sullivan) could be in for a rocky road. (Photo: Ron Batzdorff/NBC)

Kate and Toby will encounter obstacles to parenthood

In an official trailer for the season, Kate (Chrissy Metz) teased that the couple’s quest to expand their family would “not be as easy as they thought.” She added more detail in an interview with EW: “Having a baby is something that is life-changing, and two people just want to hope that they can have a baby,” she said. “Whose fault is that? Maybe there’s something going on physically with Toby [played by Chris Sullivan] too? Who knows? Those things might not have been talked about or addressed because we keep our secrets and we’re ashamed of them.”

Expect more Déjà

Actress Lyric Ross, who plays the foster child Déjà who was taken in by Randall and Beth, was announced as a series regular for next season, whereas she was a recurring guest on the show last year. As fans will recall, we last saw the character bashing in Randall’s car with a baseball bat. “Will she become a part of our family? Will she not become a part of our family?” Brown muses in the trailer.

Randall is back with his dad jokes

In the first photo of the season, Fogelman showed Brown’s Randall just as excited as fans are to start the new batch of episodes. Can’t you feel his daughters rolling their eyes?

Gotta love Randall.

The third season of This Is Us premieres Sept. 25 at 9 p.m. on NBC.

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