Spoilers for the fourth season of This Is Us.
This Is Us began its fourth season with a giant leap into the distant future, introducing us to Kate and Toby’s adult son, Jack Damon, a soft-spoken musician and the adorable white Pomeranian named Sam. Viewers have seen Jack (played by musical theater actor Blake Stadnik) meet and fall in love with Lucy (Auden Thornton), a waitress who aspired to become a chef before the episode reveals that she is Kate’s baby and Toby. , who was born prematurely at the end of the last season.
This is one of the three new stories This Is Us presented on “Strangers,” which will interconnect with the Pearson saga and have a “big impact” on the family, said creator Dan Fogelman at a press conference on Tuesday.
In the last minutes of the episode, Kate (Chrissy Metz) and Toby (Chris Sullivan) discover that Jack, three months old, is born with retinopathy and can only see the light and shapes. “We have known for some time that Kate’s son was born prematurely and that retinopathy due to blindness is something that would come out of it,” Fogelman said.
So far, the furthest progression of the program has followed the Big Three to middle age, dealing with the deteriorating health of their mother Rebecca (Mandy Moore). Baby Jack is about 12 years old in this timeline. The rest of this story will run in the first half of the season, said Fogelman, leaving room for significant progress for next season.
Jack’s story in “Strangers” takes place about ten years or more after the end of Rebecca’s story, Fogelman said. At the end of the episode, he plays “Memorized,” an original song co-written by Emmy nominated composer This Is Us Siddharta Khosla and Mandy Moore’s husband, Taylor Goldsmith, singer of rock band Dawes. “Certainly, music has always been an important part of the family’s story for generations and continues in the future,” said Fogelman.
Although writers and producers plan to return to this distant timeline several times in the series, it will not happen anytime soon, Fogelman said. “It’s a tough time to come in all the time because we’re quite in the future and that poses production challenges,” Fogelman said. But the producers “fell so much in love” with Stadnik that sometimes “the pieces become even bigger than what you planned to do,” he added.
The casting department of the program found Stadnik while searching for “a protagonist who could not see and who could be fun and charming, but also approachable and kind,” said Fogelman. “I was worried about that.” To their surprise, they found several viable options that they could also sing, but once the producers met Stadnik, “he was the guy,” even though he had never acted in front of the camera.
“We wanted to find an actor who could be a leading and very handsome and hilarious actor, who would look great with his naked ass on national TV, but who could also stand in Greek in front of an audience and play and sing a song, “said Fogelman.” Blake’s first day of filming was completely naked on a bed; then he had a six-hour kissing scene [with Thornton], then he went on stage the Greek in front of thousands of people during a concert intermission performing a song “. The presentation, at a Chicago concert, “was a litmus test for him and simply left us speechless in every way,” Fogelman added.