“We are going to be spending a lot of time in Vietnam [in Season 3],” co-showrunner Isaac Aptaker revealed Wednesday at the Television Critics Association summer press tour.
Exploring Jack’s Vietnam War past has always been in the cards, and to do it justice, producers have recruited writer Tim O’Brien, who chronicled his time in Vietnam in his 1990 book “The Things They Carried,” to serve as a consultant and to pen an episode with creator Dan Fogelman. Co-showrunner Elizabeth Berger added that it’s been “very freeing” to move beyond the mystery of Jack’s death to be able to “tell a completely different kind of story” with the Pearson patriarch. “To be all of a sudden be immersed in the Vietnam War, we think it’s going to be really special and really different,” she said.
This also means that yes, we’ll be seeing a whole lotta Nicky, Jack’s brother who served in Vietnam with him and died there. The role of Nicky has been cast, but Aptaker and Berger could not reveal the actor yet, nor could they reveal how many episodes Nicky will be in.
Whoever it is could be a contender in Best Drama Guest Actor next year (assuming he doesn’t qualify for supporting). Nicky is an mysterious figure in Jack’s life that will probably unlock a lot of secrets about him, and “This Is Us” has yielded five guest actor Emmy nominations its first two seasons, including one win for Gerald McRaney — all for actors who’ve played important men in the Pearsons’ lives.
Though the specter of war looms, Berger promises that Season 3, which opens on the Big Three’s 38th birthdays, will be less dour and tragic as the Pearsons have processed Jack’s death. “I think this is a hopeful season and it’s a season about true new beginnings for everybody,” she said.
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