‘This Is Us’ Chrissy Metz on a ‘Challenging’ Season 4 & an ‘Unexpected’ Premiere

This Is Us - Season 3
Ron Batzdorff/NBC

This Is Us‘ fourth season may be months away but we’ll take any and all details we can get about the upcoming chapter in the Pearson family story.

As fans of the NBC drama will recall, Season 3 wrapped with a major flash-forward showing Rebecca (Mandy Moore) on her death bed. The sequence showed many members of the Pearson brood gathering for the occasion, including Randall (Sterling K. Brown), Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson), Toby (Chris Sullivan), and mention of Kevin (Justin Hartley). But one of The Big 3 was noticeably absent: Chrissy Metz‘s Kate.

We’ll have to wait until the show returns Tuesday, September 24, for a possible answer or hint at why she’s absent, but we do know that there’s plenty more to explore with Kate. After she recently gave birth to her son Jack, named for his late grandfather (Milo Ventimiglia) — Kate’s story in the present timeline has a lot to cover in Season 4.

“We just got the first episode of Season 4 yesterday,” Metz told TV Insider this week, “and in true [showrunner] Dan Fogelman fashion, he really… gosh, he understands the human condition in such a way that just gets you so invested.”

(Credit: Ron Batzdorff/NBC)

While she wouldn’t divulge much about plot, Metz did hint at some surprises on the horizon. “It’s an unexpected episode,” she said of the fourth season opener. “But it’s really beautifully tied into the bigger picture of the Pearsons and who and how we are connected. And I love that. So I’m really looking forward to even our first episode back.”

The cast is currently on break, but with scripts in hand, production on Season 4 is right around the corner. “This season is going to be very challenging,” Metz teased. “So I’m nervous, but I’m excited. I can’t give too much away.

It was recently announced that Jennifer Morrison (Once Upon a TimeHouse) would join the show in a recurring Season 4 role which puts her in the ranks of many beloved guest stars like Ron Howard, Phylicia Rashad, Sylvester Stallone, Jane Kaczmarekm and more. We asked Metz who she’d like to see drop into the Pearson family saga — NBC did pick the show up through Season 6, after all.

“Yeah, it’s unprecedented, it’s amazing, and we’re all so excited and really grateful,” she said of the renewal news. “It’s so hard to say because there are so many brilliant actors that luckily we sometimes rub elbows with at different events and that I’m just a fan of… We’re all true fans of the craft and so we’d want anybody who wants to be on the show, but obviously fitting the storylines.”

(Credit: Ron Batzdorff/NBC)

After mulling it over a bit Metz finally landed on her pick. “I do have a soft spot — an affinity for Allison Janney. I know she’s on CBS, but I don’t know, I just love, love, love her,” she gushed.

With months before the show returns, perhaps putting it out into the universe will make it so? Either way, Metz’s words definitely confirmed that This Is Us fans should start stocking up on tissues for the coming season.

This Is Us, Season 4 Premiere, Tuesday, September 24, 9/8c, NBC