This Is Us has never been a series to shy away from a touchy subject, but the heavy stuff it does tackle, the writers often get right. The show will look to continue that trend in Season 3, as the show has teased that a chunk of Season 3 will show Jack Pearson's time in Vietnam. This Is Us is hoping to make the storyline as accurate and realistic as possible, so it's enlisted acclaimed Vietnam War journalist and writer Tim O'Brien to serve as a consultant on the upcoming storyline.
Tim O'Brien was drafted into the Vietnam War and served from 1969 to 1970, and in the time since has touched mass audiences with his stories about the conflict. O'Brien's most notable work, The Things They Carried, has won several awards and been included in recommended reading lists at middle and high schools. This Is Us creator Dan Fogelman told Deadline he's been a fan of O'Brien's work since college, and that he's written several papers on The Things They Carried. Fogelman said it was intimidating to present he and the writers' ideas for Jack's Vietnam plotline to O'Brien, although he added that the experience was also incredibly rewarding. Fogelman also said he's typically not thrilled to have his work rewritten, but having O'Brien do it was an exception.
Tim O'Brien is not the first consultant This Is Us has brought in to evaluate a storyline, as past interviews have revealed this is a somewhat common occurrence. If the writers are having trouble writing a certain topic, or feel they want to better understand a certain perspective, they'll invite someone of a background similar to what they're writing to share their story and help them get it right. Vietnam is a particularly touchy subject, even today, and the show would catch flak if it was not portrayed with respect and accuracy, so having Tim O'Brien come in to evaluate their ideas is certainly a smart move.
This Is Us' hiring of Tim O'Brien would appear to mean Season 3 of This Is Us will show Jack spending a meaningful amount of screentime in Vietnam, although an exact length has yet to have been revealed. One thing that seems to be certain is that the storyline will tap into Jack's relationship with his brother Nicky and tell the story of how he died in the war. The story will also have some connection to Justin Hartley's Kevin Pearson, who was seen at the end of Season 2 on a plane to the country.