Why This Is Us ended after season 6 (and there wasn't a season 7)

This Is Us season 7 isn't happening, but that was always part of creator Dan Fogelman's plan.

THIS IS US -- “Us” Episode 618 -- Pictured: (l-r) Justin Hartley as Kevin, Chrissy Metz as Kate, Sterling K. Brown as Randall -- (Photo by: Ron Batzdorff/NBC)
THIS IS US -- “Us” Episode 618 -- Pictured: (l-r) Justin Hartley as Kevin, Chrissy Metz as Kate, Sterling K. Brown as Randall -- (Photo by: Ron Batzdorff/NBC) /
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When all six seasons of This Is Us began streaming on Netflix in January 2024, nearly two years had elapsed since the Emmy Award-winning, fan-favorite NBC family drama came to a bittersweet end. Now that diehard fans are rewatching the tearjerker and new viewers are discovering the show, surely the questions surrounding the possibility of season 7 have resurfaced.

It's natural to wonder if a show you're watching will have another season, and it's just as natural to want more from a show after it ends. Sometimes, another season can be possible, but unfortunately, that's not the case with This Is Us. With the conclusion of the sixth season in May 2022, the series came to its official end. But it wasn't an ending that came as a surprise. Rather, it was carefully crafted by the creator.

In May 2019, NBC renewed the series for three more seasons, which would amount to season 4, season 5, and season 6. Two years later in May 2021, official reports confirmed the sneaking suspicion that season 6 would be our last adventure through time with the Pearson family. So, what inspired creator Dan Fogelman and the creative team to end the show when they did?

This Is Us told its complete story

Even though the series was a huge hit, both critically and commercially, and NBC had "remained optimistic" to continue past season 6, that ultimately wasn't the case. Fogelman had always intended for the series to span six seasons prior to its launch in 2016, and since the show took off like a rocket, his best-case-scenario dream came true.

During a press event with the Television Critcs Association in February 2022, Fogelman opened up about the complicated decision to end This Is Us. As much as the cast and crew would have loved to continue telling this story together, Fogelman admitted that quality over quantity and staying true to the story played a large role in declaring season 6 the last.

"It's not because we don't have any more story to tell. It's because we exactly planned it to go this way. And so we're on a five‑year path, and to suddenly pivot and add more because we don't want it to end, it wouldn't be quite responsible to the show and what we have planned, and it would start becoming something else."

This Is Us creator Dan Fogelman

In fact, in case you didn't know, half of the series finale episode was filmed three seasons prior. The ending had been in the works and on Fogelman's mind much longer than most viewers might have realized. And that's certainly thanks in part to NBC giving the show an all-too rare three-season renewal, allowing the writers to chart their course in advance.

Scenes with Mandy Moore and Milo Ventimiglia alongside Parker Bates, Lonnie Chavis, and Mackenzie Hancsicsak as the young Big Three were planned to capture those characters and those actors in a specific time. A natural and organic flashback, if you will. Another scene featuring Sterling K. Brown and Ron Cephas Jones that had been cut from season 1 found its place in the series finale. So much of the creation of the series beautifully mirrors the show's themes of memory and legacy.

If This Is Us had continued beyond season 6 with a seventh season, a bit of the magic would have definitely worn off. Storylines that weren't in the original game plan would have had to have been manufactured, and that always runs the risk of undoing something that happened in the past or making choices that diminishes what's special about the show. What's more, too often shows overstay their welcome and lose the original creator, giving the show a different voice.

Clearly, there were too many risk factors in play with season 7 to make that leap. As a fan since day one, it's refreshing and comforting that Fogelman stuck to his word and only told the story he wanted to tell without compromising its integrity for any extrinsic reason. We might miss the Pearsons now that they're gone, but thankfully we can always relive the laughs and tears with another binge-watch.

All six seasons of This Is Us are currently available to stream on Netflix.

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