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This Is Us has always seemed to plan its storylines for the Pearson family far-ahead in advance, and now series creator Dan Fogelman has confirmed that with a crazy fact. Fogelman told audiences at a For Your Emmy consideration panel at the Ace Hotel in Los Angeles that the show has already shot parts of its series finale:
We're pretty far along. Our writers and I are kind of to the end. We have a path for each season of the show. We've always had a plan... I don't think this show will ever --- despite any success it may or may not have --- will ever overstay its welcome, and we have a story to tell. And we want to do this the right way. And so we have a plan. I've actually already shot pieces of the final scene in the series.
Dan Fogelman didn't reveal exactly how long he expects This Is Us to last, but the fact that he's already prepared and is filming parts of its endgame is typically a good sign for a television show that has good ratings. A show with a set end game has a far lesser risk of "jumping the shark," or losing the core of the series in random plot lines. But it's also somewhat risky to shoot in advance, as there's always a possibility a star currently attached to the series may exit This Is Us down the line and potentially throw the originally planned finale into disarray.
Dan Fogelman offered no huge reveals regarding what This Is Us has in store for its ending, although he did tease (via Deadline) a Season 3 plotline does play into the show's end in a way. The show creator said Randall's flashforward at the end of Season 2 is in some way connected to the show's end overall, which certainly magnifies the mystery presented in that scene. Does the "her" Randall and adult Tess refer to in that scene play into the show's finale? It's best not to speculate when it comes to This Is Us, considering Fogelman has a way of making an audience think one thing is happening when it's really going to be another.
For all the talk of how crazy it may be the series has already filmed parts of the finale, it's worth mentioning Dan Fogelman stated he and the This Is Us writers simply had a plan for the endgame. A plan could mean a definitive ending, or something similar to how Milo Ventimiglia and Mandy Moore knew Fogelman planned to kill Jack from the time they joined the series, but really knowing none of the specifics. That said, filming a scene would appear to indicate there's much more than a general idea for the show's end, although if they ever changed their mind it isn't like they can't just scrap the footage.