The cast of This Is Us

Here's What The This Is Us Creator Has Said About Possible Spinoffs

Will the Pearson family live on?

by Ani Bundel
Originally Published: 
Ron Batzdorff/NBC

Entertainment in the 21st century has been overrun with series turned into continuing franchises. From reimagined adaptations to sequels of all sorts, if something’s a hit, you can expect more where that came from. But This Is Us has thus far refused to conform. Rather than remain an open-ended story that goes on forever, it came in with a six-year plan, a clear start and a clear ending. But now, as the series comes to a close, leaving NBC with a hole in its Tuesday night schedule, the inevitable question of whether a This Is Us spinoff could happen has reared its head.

The original concept for This Is Us was actually as a movie. However, when it was suggested to series creator Dan Fogelman that he should pitch it as a TV series, the story was reworked to fit the new format, and the cast was reconfigured to match. Fogelman has said since the very beginning that he had a close-ended tale in mind for this story, and when asked about the possibility of extending past six seasons, his first reaction was that there’s nothing more to tell.

In a wide-ranging interview in Variety, Fogelman said he didn’t see the Pearsons’ story continuing. “Once you’ve seen the completion of Season 6, the stories of these characters are told,” he said. “So there is no real spinoff because [viewers will] kind of know everything. Is there another play for the show? I guess you’d never say never, but I don’t see it.”

But just because Fogelman doesn’t see any way to continue right now, that doesn’t mean it won’t ever happen. And, perhaps much more importantly, the showrunner confirmed to Variety that the studio that produces This is Us, 20th-Century Television, has opened talks to see if there’s any way the studio could keep the franchise going via a spinoff series.

Time could also change Fogelman’s perspective. For example, until Downton Abbey finished in early 2016, series creator Julian Fellowes insisted it was a TV-only venture. Six months after the PBS finale, though, he started coming up with ideas for movies. The concept of a show having “six seasons and a movie” may have started as a joke, but there’s a real goal in Hollywood behind it. This Is Us is only a feature film away from achieving that. (Also, reuniting a large ensemble cast for six weeks of movie set time is way easier than bringing them back for months and months of TV filming.)

Either way, the story of the Pearsons on This Is Us may be over now, but whether that stays the case remains to be seen.

This Is Us: The Final Season’s last episode premieres on Tuesday, May 24, at 9 p.m. ET on NBC and streams the next day on Hulu.

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