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Castle Vet Jon Huertas Reflects On How Abrupt Cancellation Affected Fans, Compares It To How This Is Us Wrapped

Jon Huertas on This Is Us.
(Image credit: NBC)

This Is Us recently closed the book on its epic family saga, which used leaps back and forth across timelines to relay the meticulously woven story of Jack and Rebecca Pearson and their three children Kevin, Kate and Randall. The series coming to its end was expected, so much so that creator Dan Fogelman knew the series’ final words and legitimately filmed the final shot several years in advance. As Jon Huertas said goodbye to Miguel Rivas, the beloved character he played for the series’ entire run, he couldn’t help but compare the NBC drama's conclusion to that of his previous series, Castle, which faced an abrupt cancellation in 2016 ahead of what would have been its ninth season on ABC.

Jon Huertas played This Is Us' Miguel, Jack's best friend who later became Rebecca's second husband following Jack’s death. Near the end of Season 6, Miguel was the focus of a beautiful episode that showed the efforts he made in dedicating his final years to caring for Mandy Moore's ailing matriarch. Huertas spoke to Yahoo Canada about the starkly different ending that his previous character Javier Esposito and others received on Castle, whose cancellation was unexpectedly announced just days before the Season 8 finale aired. In his words:

I felt bad for our fans because they were hoping and expecting another season, and they were expecting a great ending. We thought we were going into Season 9 but that's also the difference between the two types of shows, the two genres. With a procedural it's a standalone episode every week...so they're not as concerned [from] the studio level that this show needs to end on a note.

The Nathan Fillion-led crime procedural may not have been the overly sentimental, let’s-talk-about-our-feelings type of drama that Dan Fogelman brought to NBC, but plenty of fans cared about what happened between Fillion's Richard Castle and Stana Katic's Kate Beckett (Stana Katic), as well as Jon Huertas' Javier and his partner Kevin Ryan, as portrayed by Seamus Dever. That’s not to mention the disappointment of the actors themselves, many of whom had already signed one-year contracts to return for Season 9 ahead of the cancellation announcement.

The situation surrounding Castle was so tenuous that two endings were filmed for the Season 8 finale — one that was set to air if the drama was renewed, and the one scene they hoped we’d never see. Unfortunately, today we know how that turned out, and such cancellations certainly aren't a rare breed when it comes to TV shows whose narratives lack more of a big-picture scope. Not that it's stopped CBS and NBC from adhering to such dependable ratings-grabbers. 

The differences between This Is Us and Castle regarding their respective endings may be many, but there does remain at least one similarity between the two Jon Huertas projects — their fans want more. Nathan Fillion had some Castle fans hoping that a revival was on the way after the actor posted an Instagram photo of the New York City skyline. This Is Us fans, meanwhile, have been hoping the Pearson story could get the spinoff treatment (maybe featuring Randall’s daughters, or Kate’s rock star son?) since long before the series actually ended, though that probably won’t be happening anytime soon. But if they brought in Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic...

For now, however, fans can relive all the drama — whether procedural or sentimental — via streaming, as both series are available to Hulu subscribers. Also be sure to check out our 2022 TV Schedule to see what new and returning shows are premiering soon.

Mom of two and hard-core '90s kid. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Can usually be found rewatching The West Wing instead of doing anything productive.