Chris Sullivan on the ‘Painful’ End of ‘This Is Us’ & Toby in the Flashforwards

Chris Sullivan This Is Us Season 5 Finale Toby
Q&A
Ron Batzdorff/NBC

Heading into its final season, This Is Us is up for six Emmys, including Outstanding Drama Series. (It was nominated in that category in 2017, 2018, and 2019.)

“I’m just really excited that This Is Us is included in the drama category again,” Chris Sullivan, who’s in the running for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series, admits to TV Insider. The show is also nominated for Outstanding Prosthetic Makeup, Outstanding Music Composition for a Series (General Dramatic Score), Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series (Sterling K. Brown), and Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series (Phylicia Rashad).

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Plus, the actor opens up about the bittersweetness of the show's impending final season.

“This season is the first season I have performed as an actor after becoming a father, and I don’t know if it necessarily plays into the nomination, but my enjoyment of the work we did this year and the level at which I felt present and available for the writing and for the character and for the show was definitely higher than it’s ever been before,” Sullivan says. “I’m especially proud of the work we all did this last season, so being nominated for this last season means a lot.”

The star looks ahead to the final season of the NBC drama.

How are you feeling about getting ready to wrap up This Is Us?

Chris Sullivan: I’m glad to do it in a conscious manner. I’m glad to have known for a couple years now that this is where it was going to end. And I’m glad to know that [creator] Dan [Fogelman] and the writers have an ending in mind and that we have a goal that we are all moving towards, as opposed to just one day finding out you’ve been not renewed or canceled, so it’s nice to end in a conscious fashion.

Chrissy Metz Chris Sullivan This Is Us Season 5 Finale Kate Toby

Ron Batzdorff/NBC

How are you feeling about wrapping up Toby and how his story is going to end?

I think Dan and the writers have done a great job at showing us all of the different aspects of relationships and family life and how all those things can play out. So I think no matter what happens with Kate [Chrissy Metz] and Toby, it’s going to be executed in a loving and compassionate way, so it’ll be painful, it’ll be sad for it all to end, but like I said, it’s all going to be done in a very loving and conscious way, so that’s the best we can ask for.

Speaking of painful, things are painful for Kate and Toby with that flashforward second wedding. [The Season 5 finale showed Kate in the future about to marry Chris Geere’s Phillip.]

Yeah, that’s never an easy thing to find out, but we’ll see how it gets handled this season.

We do know Toby is still around in the flashforwards.

Right. That was a big day, when I found out I was included in the flashforwards. [Laughs] That was instant job security, so I was grateful to see him as an older man in the flashforwards.

Chris Sullivan This Is Us Season 5 Episode 15 Toby

Ron Batzdorff/NBC

What’s the one question you want answered about Toby in the flashforwards?

Is he content? Is he content with where he is?

Is there anything you can tease about the final season?

It’s going to be a doozy. The number of mysteries and storylines that we’re about to tie up in one season of television is going to make for, oddly enough, an action-packed season of reveals and twists and turns for a show like This Is Us. It should be very exciting.

I’m excited to see some Toby and Phillip scenes, especially with the reveal.

Yeah, right? I imagine it’s going to go down.

This Is Us, Sixth and Final Season, TBA, NBC

The 73rd Emmy Awards, Sunday, September 19, 8/7c, CBS