*That* This Is Us twist was always going to happen, according to show creator Dan Fogelman

We didn't see that This Is Us twist coming—but how will it affect season 6?

Justin Hartley as Kevin Pearson in NBC's This Is Us
(Image credit: NBC)

That shocking This Is Us twist in the fifth season finale has left fans reeling as they look ahead to season 6. But according to show creator Dan Fogelman, this "ambitious" turn of events was always going to happen. 

Fans of the show were probably expecting a classic This Is Us twist in the latest episode, but the one we got has raised some serious questions. After weeks of anticipation, the This Is Us season 5 finale didn’t disappoint, complete with the highs and lows we’ve come to expect from the popular drama.

Five years since we were first drawn into the lives of Jack and Rebecca Pearson and their triplets Kevin, Kate and Randall, we've been invested in the family's story through flashbacks and future scenes. In short, the emotional and dramatic stakes couldn’t have been higher for the penultimate season finale.

That said, the drama took viewers in a shocking direction with a twist that even die-hard fans likely didn't see coming...

*Warning: spoilers for the recent This Is Us finale lie ahead!*

Madison in NBC's This Is Us

Caitlin Thompson as Madison Simons in This Is Us

(Image credit: NBC)

The This Is Us twist explained

We were all preparing for Kevin and Madison's (aka Kate's best friend's) wedding this episode, but folks, that's not who we saw getting married. Die-hard fans will remember a previous This Is Us twist in which a flashforward scene suggested that Toby and Kate’s relationship might not last.

In the far-in-the-future flash-forward, when Toby arrived at Kevin’s gorgeous future house without his wedding ring, Kate wasn't with him, leaving many fans concerned that things had reached the end of the line for the couple. (Or worse, that Kate had died at some point before the flash-forward.)

The season 5 finale only seemed to confirm this. Kevin was seen preparing a speech for—what we thought was—his wedding day, a few years in the future. However, it soon transpired that the scenes were from Kate's *second* wedding day.

Kate in This Is Us

Chrissy Metz as Kate Pearson in This Is Us

(Image credit: NBC)

Though anything can happen in the world of This Is Us—she and her first husband Toby could eventually reconcile—Kate looked super happy to be marrying her boss from the present timeline (yes, that guy), Phillip.

As Kate declared, “This is the last time I’m doing this”, fans had to come to terms with what appeared to be the beginning of an as-yet-unexplored love story—and the end of not one, but two relationships.

Earlier in the finale, prior to that big This Is Us twist, Madison called off her wedding to Kevin in the current timeline, forcing him to acknowledge that whilst he loves their family, he's not IN love with her. Despite this, though, the pair appeared happily chatting four years later in the This is Us flashforward, suggesting that things stay amicable between them—they are co-parents to the twins, after all.

Although this This Is Us twist probably took many fans by surprise, according to the show’s creator the future scenes were always key to the show’s success, and these new revelations will play a big part in season 6. 

Phillip in This Is Us

(Image credit: NBC)

Show creator Dan Fogelman on that This Is Us Twist 

Shocking though it was, the This Is Us twist is something that show creator Dan Fogelman feels works perfectly with the narrative of the show and will come into play even more in season 6. Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter about the season finale, Dan revealed that the This Is Us future scenes help create the sense of optimism that is the show’s core. 

“This show has always been about taking snapshots of a family’s existence at one period of time and then looking backwards or looking forwards; and seeing how you get from Point A to Point B, or sometimes Point B to Point C, or sometimes Point C to Point B. But, ultimately, it’s an optimistic show,” he declared. 

Cast of This Is Us

(Image credit: NBC)

He also spoke more about the careful balance of heartbreak and joy, reflecting that, ultimately, “everyone feels good”.

“Despite two reveals of marriages not quite working out, when you cut to that period in the future, everyone feels good,” he explained.

“On first viewing, you are registering the twist and the shock of what you’re seeing. But on second viewing, you can see the feeling and the smiles that exist in that moment. Marriages don’t always survive. People don’t live forever.

“The balancing act of our show has always been in mixing the tragedies and the heartbreak of life with the joy and the beauty. They have to be able to coexist.”

With so much laughter and tears packed into every episode, that balance has been key to the show's success. And with the excitement of a new marriage and the ending of a fan favorite romance, the finale and This Is Us twist has certainly got this covered. 

This Is Us cast

(Image credit: NBC)

Of course, it’s not just the most recent season that the This Is Us twist affects. When it comes to what we can expect from This Is Us Season 6, Dan revealed how the time jump was always going to happen towards the end of the show. 

“The show has always been challenging with the place and time and we always knew that season six would be ambitious in terms of the way it jumps time, and even more ambitious than other seasons,” he declared.

And that's not all, as though This Is Us season 6 will "live heavily" in this time-jump future, 10-15 years later will be another central time period. This is one we've already had a glimpse of during the This Is Us twist in the season 3 finale, where a now-elderly Rebecca is bedridden and gathering the Pearson family around her for a poignant meeting. 

It's not yet known whether this is the last we'll see of Rebecca in This Is Us, but it promises an emotional but satisfying end to the long-running show.

We can't wait!

Emma Shacklock

Emma is a Royal Editor with eight years experience working in publishing. Her specialist areas include the British Royal Family, ranging from protocol to outfits. Alongside putting her royal knowledge to good use, Emma knows all there is to know about the latest TV shows on the BBC, ITV and more. When she’s not writing about the next unmissable show to add to your to-watch list or delving into royal protocol, Emma enjoys cooking, long walks and watching yet more crime dramas!