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Why This Is Us ' Creator Always Planned For Mandy Moore’s Character to Die

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Dan Fogelman had an ending for This Is Us right from the beginning.

The series creator had long planned for Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) to die in a fire and for Kate (Chrissy Metz) and Toby (Chris Sullivan) to go through a divorce. What's more, he always knew that he'd break that audience's hearts by having the Pearsons say goodbye to Rebecca (Mandy Moore) in the penultimate episode.

"I knew that it would end with the death of the matriarch of the family, who in many ways the show was often very much about," he explained to Entertainment Weekly, adding that these plot points aided in telling the Pearson's story, "Those details allow you to play in time confidently, because you know where you're going linearly, even if you're not telling the story linearly."

And with a clear story in mind, Fogelman was insistent that the show follow the course set all those years ago.

All of Mandy Moore's This Is Us Ages

"As the show was getting successful, I recognized there was going to be commercial reasons to continue it for as long as possible, and I held firm to the plan," he said. "I was pretty clear [in season 3]: 'If you pick it up for another three seasons, I'll commit my life to doing this for that amount of time, and then that will be it.'"

This is Us
Ron Batzdorff/NBC

Of course, NBC was interested in seeing if the story could go on longer and had conversations with Fogelman about stretching out the plot, but the creator said the network was never "forceful" about it. "They were always delivered with the right tone, which was like, 'We know what you said, but we're checking in,'" he remembered. "And there have been moments where I was like, 'Oh God, I love these people I'm working with.' But you have to stick to the plan. The only thing that's kept us afloat all these years was knowing where we were going."

This is Us
Ron Batzdorff/NBC

And having a firm storyline came in handy when they started filming season three of the series. A majority of the upcoming finale was filmed four years ago as they wanted to include the younger versions of the Big Three. Fogelman admitted it was an expensive bet to take on the series, but added, "It's a testament to how trusting everyone's been in the process."

Now that it's all nearly over, Fogelman said, "As much as I'm going to miss these people, I do believe it was the right decision for the show with every part of my being."

The This Is Us series finale airs Tuesday on NBC.

E! and NBC are both members of the NBCUniversal family.

Don't miss the debut of E! News' digital series, While You Were Streaming, on Friday, May 27, at 9 a.m. PT on Twitter @enews! We'll be recapping the biggest moments from the premiere of Disney+'s new series Obi-Wan Kenobi.