This is Us Season 4 release date, cast, story, and theories

This Is Us fans need not worry about their favorite show returning to television, the NBC drama has been renewed for a fourth season. Truth be told, the network also renewed the series for a fifth and sixth season. It's even possible the show could continue on past Season 6, according to TVLine, as no decision has been made regarding the end of the series.

While it's not known just what these later seasons will entail, series creator and writer Dan Fogelman and many of the This Is Us cast have spilled some secrets about what's to come throughout the 18 episodes of Season 4. We've compiled all the This Is Us details — we're talking fan theories, confirmed storylines, new cast members, cliffhangers, twists, and more! — and we have to tell you: The fourth season is where it's at. Here's everything you need to know This Is Us Season 4.

Note: This Is Us Season 3 and 4 Spoilers ahead.

The shocking fall premiere of This Is Us

The This Is Us Season 3 finale, "Her," left us immediately wanting more. In true This Is Us fashion, the episode ended in both a cliffhanger and a flash-forward. Since April 2019, we've been waiting for a new season to shed light on that twist ending. 

The following month, it was confirmed that the series would return to NBC "Tuesdays this fall." In June, This Is Us announced on Instagram the actual date of their triumphant return: Sept. 24, 2019. Fans quickly commented that they couldn't wait for the popular drama to return in the fall.

That wait started to feel even longer after actress Mandy Moore, who plays Rebecca Pearson, divulged what we can expect at the very start of This Is Us Season 4. "There's a couple different things that happen in the first episode that kind of change the game for the show," Moore told The Wrap. She also shared that "there is a twist at the end of the first episode that even [she] didn't see coming." That's right, folks — we're going to start the very first episode of Season 4 on our toes.

This Is Us Season 4 will feel like Season 1

The first episode of This Is Us Season 1 ended with the audience realizing that there were two timelines at play: the past and present. As The Wrap recapped, Rebecca and Jack's story took place in the past whereas Kate, Randall, and Kevin's stories were in present day. The audience also learned that the Big Three are Rebecca and Jack's adult children. This surprise may sound impossible to rival, but Mandy Moore told the publication that the twist in This Is Us Season 4's first episode "feels analogous to the pilot."

Series creator Dan Fogelman also compared the fourth season to the show's first. In May 2019, he told Entertainment Weekly, "In some ways because characters are restarting — and Randall and Beth's family is moving, and Toby and Kate are bringing a baby home, and we're going to continue the Jack and Rebecca origin story — it's going to feel in some ways almost like a version of season 1 in the middle of our series, in that we're starting these new stories after we've told a lot of the stories in full for the past three seasons."

Some This Is Us characters have big challenges ahead of them

If This Is Us Season 4 has a theme, it's probably "restarts." Series creator Dan Fogelman told Entertainment Weekly there will be "restarts for everybody." He continued, saying, "And midpoints. I think it's going to be very ambitious and sprawling in terms of how it plays with time. Many of our characters are in the middle of their stories, and that's a point where characters are opening up to new things and new things are starting." That makes for an exciting time, Fogelman revealed, but "some" characters are going to face a "very scary period in terms of how fraught their storylines are." Say what now?

We don't know for sure which characters are going to struggle the most, but you may want to keep your eye on Beth and Randall. Although we know they end up staying together in the end, showrunner Isaac Aptaker divulged to Good Housekeeping that Season 4 will explore how Beth and Randall's marriage and family "will survive when everyone's life has been upended after season 3."

There's a "big plan of expansion" for This Is Us Season 4

Although Jack and Rebecca are central to the series, Jack's past is no longer going to be a recurring theme in This Is Us Season 4. "I think a lot of the mystery of Jack has been kind of told by the end of this season [Season 3], but it doesn't necessarily mean it's any less interesting to go and live with those younger families," series creator Dan Fogelman told Good Housekeeping in late July 2019. "We are starting to move towards new chapters in season 4 with The Big Three ... some of the more mysterious or dramatic pulls of the series might start falling into the hands of some of our other characters."

As it happens, This Is Us is only going to get bigger — and likely better — as it continues. "We have a big plan of expansion," Fogelman confirmed when speaking to the publication. "The show is intended to be the expansive ways our lives evolve and connect us with our people ... That starts happening more and more." Is the anticipation killing you too?

We'll see more of Jack and Rebecca's early days in This Is Us Season 4

While it's true that "the mystery of Jack" is all but resolved, not all of Jack's past is ancient history. As series creator Dan Fogelman told Entertainment Weeklywe still need to know more about Jack and Rebecca's "origin story," don't we? Thankfully, Mandy Moore confirmed to The Wrap that we won't have to wait too long. Season 4 Episode 1 begins "in the early days of Jack and Rebecca's courtship." She continued, saying, "Like, right off their road trip to California, back in Pittsburgh. And we'll see how they are going to sort of navigate their lives at home and introduce one another to each other's families." You can imagine that there's still a lot to unpack when it comes to in-laws.

Moore also divulged in a video interview with TVLine that the audience is going to "really see how they become a couple." The actress added that she's especially interested in exploring how Jack goes about opening himself up to Rebecca. She mused, "How do they get engaged?" Hopefully we'll get all the answers in This Is Us Season 4.

Jennifer Morrison joined the cast of This Is Us Season 4

At least one part of Dan Fogelman's big expansion plan involves the addition of new cast members. TVLine confirmed that the NBC drama picked up Jennifer Morrison, who is perhaps best known for her roles as Allison Cameron in House and Emma Swan in Once Upon a Time, for a "major recurring role" in This Is Us Season 4. According to the publication, the details about Morrison's character have been kept concealed, but she is expected to have a "substantial" part. Hmm.

Although the series is keeping the particulars about the actress' role a secret, there's no containing the excitement regarding her casting. Morrison shared a screenshot of the TVLine article on Twitter along with the caption "THIS IS US!!!!" — plus three heart emojis — so suffice it to say, she's ecstatic to have joined the team. The This Is Us Twitter account tweeted back at the star, "Welcome to the family." Before long, comments from equally excited fans poured in.

Are the Big Three on This Is Us getting younger?

In addition to This Is Us casting Jennifer Morrison, it's possible that This Is Us added three other actors to the series. In late July 2019, series creator Dan Fogelman tweeted a photo of three children who look remarkably like preschool-aged versions of Kevin, Randall, and Kate. "I am dead," Fogelman captioned the tweet. Same, man, same. The This Is Us Twitter account tweeted back, writing, "THE LITTLEST THREE." Although that is actually what fans are thinking, the series is determined to keep us guessing. 

TVLine reached out to a representative for the show, but the rep "would not confirm the casting." If these adorable kiddos have indeed been cast to play a much younger Kevin, Randall, and Kate, the publication speculated that "Season 4 will mine The Big 3's early childhood for flashbacks." Unfortunately, we all have to wait until at least the premiere of This Is Us Season 4 to know for sure.

Toby and Kate's relationship is going to change in This Is Us Season 4

Series creator Dan Fogelman didn't reveal which characters would be going through a "very scary period" in his interview with Entertainment Weekly, but there's good reason to believe Toby and Kate will be among them.   

Of the couple's marriage, actress Chrissy Metz, who plays adult Kate on This Is Us, told Good Housekeeping, "We've seen a lot at the surface with stuff, and things start to get a little more serious and they realize that it's not all fun and games. We [Kate and Toby] can't protect ourselves with humor and sarcasm." The actress also implied that Toby is going to face some very "dark days." Being new parents is also going to present its challenges for the couple. "We're going to see Kate and Toby co-parenting and how that will change, if that will change the dynamic in their relationship," Metz explained in an interview with E! News.

Baby Jack won't be a newborn in This Is Us Season 4

This Is Us Season 4 is not going to pick up exactly where Season 3 left off. Chrissy Metz told TVLine that Baby Jack "will be five months" when the series returns for its fourth season. As you may recall, the third season ended with Toby and Kate taking their newborn home from the hospital. This means Season 4's timeline will have jumped forward a bit. Since Season 3 ended in April 2019 and comes back in September 2019 — five months later — a five-month leap should simply allow viewers to be on the same timeline, give or take a few weeks. 

That's not to say the Big Three and the others' lives have stopped during those months, though. Considering the first episode of This Is Us Season 4 is going to end in a twist, any number of things could've happened to the characters during those five months. The suspense!

Don't forget about Miguel in This Is Us Season 4

Although the audience knows that Rebecca and Miguel reconnected online many years after Jack's death, the story behind their relationship had not really been a major plot point. That will change in This Is Us Season 4, however. If you're a fan of Miguel, you likely noticed that he was absent in the flash-forward sequence of the Season 3 finale.

Although series creator Dan Fogelman says Season 4 won't bring clarity to that part of the flash-forward scene, he does promise we'll see more of Miguel. "We have a lot more story to tell at first, Rebecca and Miguel coming together, as well as how Miguel played a role in Jack's origin story, around the time of meeting Rebecca post-Vietnam," Fogelman told Entertainment Weekly. "So there's a lot we're doing still there before we get to the Miguel mystery, as [Entertainment Weekly] called it."

Fogelman also told the publication, "Everybody can become the hero at the different chapter of a story, and I think Miguel has a road in front of him that's going to be very exciting and rewarding."

We'll get to know Rebecca's father in This Is Us Season 4

Ahead of the Season 3 finale, series creator Dan Fogelman attended a This Is Us panel at PaleyFest in Hollywood, Calif. In a game of "Truth or Dare," Fogelman was to either share a secret about the fourth season of his series or eat chocolate with ranch dressing. Thankfully for everyone, the show's creator chose "truth." As Entertainment Weekly reported, Fogelman revealed, "Rebecca's (Mandy Moore) father is going to become a prominent part of the show."

By the conclusion of Season 3,This Is Us fans didn't really know much at all about Rebecca's dad other than the fact that his wife used to wait on him hand and foot. Rebecca was determined to be different than her mother, but we don't quite know how she feels, or felt, about her dad. Perhaps This Is Us Season 4 will allow the audience more insight into Rebecca's upbringing in Pittsburgh.

What's happening to Rebecca in This Is Us Season 4?

Season 3 ended with that huge cliffhanger about Rebecca, and, well, we want answers! Unfortunately, we probably won't be getting them in This Is Us Season 4. Just as creator Dan Fogelman told Entertainment Weekly that there is "a lot more story to tell" before delving into the "Miguel mystery," there's a lot more story to tell before we can resolve the Rebecca mystery at all. In fact, we may be at least two seasons away from those answers.

Sterling K. Brown, who plays adult Randall, told Entertainment Weekly that the flash-forward scene in the This Is Us Season 3 finale "is more than likely the last day of [the] series." He added, "So, we're building toward the end of the show." However, Season 4 will likely explore clues about what's happening to the elderly Rebecca. "There's the chalk, and there's the Pin the Tail on the Donkey, there's all these things that don't seemingly make sense, but there's a method to the madness," Brown told Entertainment Weekly. Nevertheless, Mandy Moore told TVLine that Season 4 isn't "going to dip into that world with [her] character too much."

This Is Us Season 4 may lead to the present becoming the past

When The Hollywood Reporter asked This Is Us creator Dan Fogelman if Season 4 will contain more flash-forwards, Fogelman divulged that he has a plan. "Next season is a very past-heavy season," he explained. "We're going to play in time in a surprising way as we move forward into next seasons of the show. As I've said before — and it's very heady, weird stuff that's not as complicated as it sounds — at a certain point our present becomes our past."

Hopefully what Fogelman said will make more sense as the series progresses further. Though, you probably shouldn't expect the present to become the past at any point in This Is Us Season 4. As highlighted above, Fogelman views Season 4 of the series as the midpoint. He clarified, "I think it's fair to say without putting a number on it, when I talk about being at the midpoint of the series, I'm talking about the characters' stories, and the arcs. I mean, my writers and I have carefully mapped out a plan for the rest of the television series that goes well beyond next season."

What This Is Us fans are thinking

This Is Us fan theories are giving us life. Ahead of the Season 3 finale, one Reddit user speculated that Jack's brother Nicky would come back, possibly to "connect with Baby Jack or perhaps redeem himself in [some way] involving little Jack." This theory became even more likely after the finale aired, considering Nicky is in pictured in the room with a possibly dying Rebecca.

There are also plenty of theories about Kevin's love life. The Season 3 finale introduced us to Kevin's blonde-haired son, but the audience was left in the dark about his mother's identity. Some fans think Kevin will end up getting back together with Sophie. After all, Kevin "always gets what he wants," right? Others think Jennifer Morrison will play Kevin's love interest and the eventual mother of his child. So many possibilities!

Theories about Toby and Kate also abound. Will Toby be suffering from paternal postpartum depression in Season 4? That's the theory one Reddit user posed. Will Toby and Kate split up? Some think that because Chrissy Metz used the term "co-parenting" in her interview with E! News that the couple is headed for Splitsville.