This Is Us Season 4 Has A 'Potentially Polarizing' Start, Dan Fogelman Warns

This Is Us Mandy Moore Rebecca Milo Ventimiglia Jack Pearson NBC

The first two episodes of This Is Us Season 4 will be major grounding points for the series. However, creator Dan Fogleman warned that the bold start may also be polarizing -- "in the best possible way." Not sure what that means, but trying to decipher This Is Us clues has been part of the fun up to this point. The show always manages to surprise with twists in every timeline.

This Is Us Season 3 faced plenty of criticism from fans, but that doesn't mean Dan Fogelman plans to change course. After all, last season was still honored with nine major Emmy nominations. At a recent Emmys celebration brunch, Fogelman shared some updates on the 2019-2020 season, which starts airing in September.

I would say that there’s a lot of secret new cast members who are going to be a big deal, coming up, so that’s one part. I would say there’s going to be a big announcement or release about it at the end of this month. I would say that in the series, we have what I call little markers, little stakes we put in the ground that serve as grounding points for the whole arc of the whole series, and I would say our first two episodes of this season are two of those. So, it’s a big, bold, potentially polarizing—but in the best possible way—start to the season.

Well, that's intriguing! It's good to hear (via Deadline) This Is Us will be announcing its new cast members at the end of August. As for the first two episodes of the season, oh boy. I don't even know whether to be more worried or excited about that "polarizing" tease.

This Is Us is looking like it'll continue for about six seasons before an "elegant" ending. If I looked back and thought about major markers -- stakes in the ground, as Dan Fogelman put it -- I would certainly add Jack Pearson's death to the list. What else would make your cut? It sounds like we're getting more of those moments at the start of Season 4.

This Is Us loves to play with time, and I wouldn't be shocked if the new grounding moments took us into the future, as the show did with the "Her" reveal of much older Rebecca. That flash-forward also showed us Beth and Randall were still together (thank god), and Kevin is now a father. It looks like Zoe is staying out of the picture, but Jennifer Morrison is joining the cast in a "substantial" role, and one of the many possibilities for her place in the show could be as mother to Kevin's son.

This Is Us Season 4 is now filming, and Mandy Moore showed off a photo from her first scene, showing Rebecca and Jack in a flashback. So it sounds like at least one flashback scene will be in the premiere.

Dan Fogelman previously said This Is Us Season 4 would show more of the early days in Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) and Rebecca's relationship, after their California dreamin' road trip. We'll also see Randall, Kate, and Kevin go through puberty.

It also looks like we'll also see The Big Three at another younger age. Check out this tease:

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Awwww. This Is Us Season 4 is also meant to bring in Rebecca’s father as a prominent part of the show. I wouldn't be shocked to hear about his casting at the same time as everything else we get at the end of this month.

As Dan Fogelman noted, when first mentioning the Rebecca's dad news:

Our world is going to expand a little bit in a really interesting way. Where we’re starting the season [next year] is as ambitious as we’ve been in a storytelling way.

Yep, he said "ambitious" then and now it's "big, bold" and "potentially polarizing." I love when This Is Us gets ambitious, but the show does have to be careful not to lose viewers along the way. If the plan sticks to six 18-episode seasons, there's still a lot of story left to tell.

There does seem to be an endgame in view, with some of the series finale scenes already filmed at this point. But if the story drifts too much, or there's too much soap opera drama for our beloved couples, will fans still stick around for that much more? Guess we'll see. This Is Us still averaged more than 8 million viewers every Tuesday night in Season 3 (up to 13 million including DVR), which is very impressive. But ratings did slip a bit as the season progressed, and were down from Season 2. Hopefully This Is Us can reverse that trend in Season 4 and keep the momentum going until the story is fully told.

This Is Us will give fans that potentially polarizing start to Season 4 on Tuesday, September 24 on NBC.

Gina Carbone

Gina grew up in Massachusetts and California in her own version of The Parent Trap. She went to three different middle schools, four high schools, and three universities -- including half a year in Perth, Western Australia. She currently lives in a small town in Maine, the kind Stephen King regularly sets terrible things in, so this may be the last you hear from her.