During the final week of August, “This Is Us,” the Emmy Award-winning NBC series, announced it would have a surprise for fans on Saturday, Aug. 31, as a way to celebrate the birthdays of the main characters of the series who were celebrating their shared 39th birthday.
Triplets Kevin (Justin Hartley), Kate (Chrissy Metz) and Randall Pearson (Sterling K. Brown) brought in their new year with a new trailer for the series’ upcoming fourth season, which began last week. But what surprised fans, as well as confused them, was that the main three characters were not the primary focus of the trailer whatsoever.
Emphasizing on completely new characters that the show has never seen before, fans were greeted by faces such as Jennifer Morrison, Omar Epps and Timothy Omundson. Simultaneous with the release of the show’s trailer, officials at NBC announced that the series would be adding 10 new cast members for the show’s fourth season.
Not knowing how these characters would work into the series, show creator Dan Fogelman assured fans that he has always had a master plan for the series since before it began in 2016. Now halfway through Fogelman’s plan, NBC renewed “This Is Us” for three more seasons this past spring and stated that the story would conclude after its sixth year.
Premiering on Tuesday, Sept. 24, fans were met immediately with original cast members Milo Ventimiglia and Mandy Moore. But as we moved back and forth from the story of their relationship in the 1970s to the present day, audiences were greeted by new faces who made us ponder how each of them would eventually connect with our beloved Pearsons.
Jennifer Morrison, who portrays an American soldier in the Middle East, returns to her home in the States, where her husband and adolescent son reside. Clearly someone who is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, Morrison’s character is learning to deal with everyday life while trying to find a full-time job and be a mother.
Asante Blackk plays a teenager growing up in the Philadelphia area who works at an autobody shop after school with his father (Epps), while he cares for a newborn baby girl with the help of his mother. Wanting to make more money to give his newborn more, Blackk’s character seeks out an opportunity that’s unknown to audiences but appears to be on the illegal side.
Blake Stadnik begins his role on screen as a young 20-something in a one-bedroom apartment with a dog. He appears to an average individual until context clues allow audiences to realize that the young man is blind. Turning out to be an aspiring musician, the man spends time in his apartment playing his acoustic guitar.
Eventually making his way to a local diner, we see the man begin to talk to his waitress. We watch as their journey unfolds in a small montage of cut scenes and we learn how the future for the couple will play out.
In the closing minutes of the premiere episode, viewers start to see how each of these new characters may leave an impact on the original character’s lives. Just like in real life, no one ever knows how one person can leave an impact on anyone’s impending future.
Ken Downey Jr. is the Managing Editor for Time OFF and Packet Media, LLC. This is a part of his series of weekly columns focusing on arts and entertainment. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.