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As soon as NBC's This Is Us clued audiences in on the fact that Milo Ventimiglia's Jack Pearson was no longer in the land of the living in the most current timeline, it was a narrative topic that completely took over pop culture, even beyond the actual death episode. As such, showrunners Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger were excited to dive into a more ambitious Season 3, to take the story in different directions without the mystery of Jack's death hanging above. Which, naturally, will expand the story's scope. In their words:
Berger: It's really exciting for us. There's something very freeing about being past the mystery of Jack's death and moving into this new chapter and getting to tell a whole completely different kind of story. It's different than anything we [or] any of our writers have done in our first two years.
Aptaker: We're challenging ourselves to jump to decades we've never been in before and go into the future, as we've seen a little bit, and really play with the storytelling format in a way that's just much more complicated than we were able to in earlier seasons when we were showing people how the show worked.
This Is Us never allowed Jack's death to completely overtake the weekly plotlines, and usually just doled out small clues on the long road to the Super Bowl Sunday episode. But it still took a lot of effort and planning to get that far into these characters' lives without revealing any major details behind Jack's untimely passing. Especially considering it was such a relatively unremarkable death when viewed up against the long line of TV fatalities.
So it was with an excited shuffle of the feet that Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger got to working on Season 3, with creator Dan Fogleman likely calling some of the shots for the narrative's various arcs. Arcs that can now focus on Jack's Vietnam tour, which will give This Is Us a wartime vibe for a while that wouldn't have felt like a proper fit when the show was still going full-scope with Jack's life.
Plus, not having to keep stories tethered to Jack's death will allow for other characters to get more story time. For instance, fans will get to see the early days of Beth and Toby's relationship, which should bring about some interesting personal situations. And now that Jack's death has been experienced and mourned over, viewers will see more romantic sparks from Mandy Moore's Rebecca and Jon Huertas' Miguel. When speaking to outlets at this year's TCA press tour (via THR), Isaac Aptaker said this about the modern day coupling:
[Their relationship] is going to be something we tackle a bit this year and also bigger picture on the series.
Considering This Is Us already has another mystery for fans to chew on, moving beyond Jack's death didn't really present any obvious setbacks for anyone involved. And fans should be all the more entertained by new plotlines and the introduction of Jack's brother Nicky. Not to mention the potential returns of Ron Cephas Jones' William and Gerald McRaney's Dr. K.
This Is Us Season 3 will premiere on NBC on Tuesday, September 25, at 9:00 p.m. ET. Stay tuned for more updates, and head to our fall premiere schedule to see all the other new and returning shows that are on the way.