Although This Is Us is famous for skipping around to different time periods, it’s the look into the future that has everyone talking.
The scene was set way back in the third season: The family is gathered at Kevin’s (Justin Hartley) very nice home and it’s around the year 2032 — 12 years after the Big Three’s 40th birthday. The group is seemingly there to say goodbye to an ailing Rebecca (Mandy Moore), who is lying in bed with Jack’s brother, Nicky (Griffin Dunne), by her side.
Rebecca’s husband, Miguel (Jon Huertas), is nowhere to be seen, and Nicky is noticeably wearing a wedding band on his left hand — two facts that have created a theory on the Internet: Rebecca, who is sick with dementia, believes that Nicky is actually Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) and they are letting her believe this, despite Jack dying years prior.
“I mean, that’s pretty cool. Speaking as Jack, it breaks my heart that Miguel is not around because that’s his best friend,” Ventimiglia 43, told Us Weekly exclusively of the theory in October 2020. “But maybe that means that maybe Jack and Miguel are just, kind of, hanging out in heaven together. I don’t know.”
The theory wasn’t exactly what happened. Nicky met a lovely flight attendant, and he lives at the original family cabin with his wife. Rebecca, however, is a widow again after Miguel’s heart failure.
Another person who is still not present in the flash-forwards is Kate (Chrissy Metz), but Toby (Chris Sullivan) is with the family. Although he has referenced that “they” are on their way, it hasn’t been determined if he’s referring to Kate or his kids, who are also noticeably absent.
At the end of a February 2021 episode, a car pulls in the driveway and Randall says, “Hey, look who’s here!” That mystery will be revealed soon. It now seems as though he is referring to Kate and her second husband, Phillip (Chris Geere).
The answers finally started coming throughout the sixth and final season. Kevin built the house Jack always dreamed of right by their family cabin. Nicky and wife Edie moved into the cabin while Rebecca and Miguel lived up in the big house with a nurse’s aide. After Miguel’s death — and on the heels of his TV show ending — Kevin and his family moved to Pennsylvania so he could live with Rebecca.
“In a way, Kevin is taking care of his siblings as well, because he’s telling them they need to get here and bring the kids, bring everybody,” Hartley told The Hollywood Reporter in May 2022 as the show moved almost entirely to the future timeline. “He does the right thing and gives everybody the opportunity to say goodbye in their own way. It’s a tough one.”
After years of being the hot mess of the Big Three, Kevin has finally matured. He is the one who calls the family to come say their goodbyes to the Pearson family matriarch.
“I think he’s always been really good at — and he’s underestimated his ability to — take care of other people and be sort of the man with the plan,” Hartley added. “I think [Kevin] was just lost when we first found him, and people can find themselves. I love this character and I feel really good about the fact that the man that he always wanted to be, and thought that he could be and has been sort of striving to be, is absolutely the man that he turned into.”
Scroll through the gallery below, which we’ll be updating regularly, for everything we know about those flash-forward scenes.