This Is Us is gearing up for its most surprising season yet this fall. Chris Sullivan, who plays Toby Damon on the multi-generational NBC family drama spoke about where the series is headed this year and how it will get more twisty and more surprising than in previous seasons.
The actor opened up to PEOPLE about what the upcoming fourth season of the drama series, as the show celebrates eight new Emmy Award nominations, including his first-ever nomination in the supporting actor category.
"The places where this season goes, I think they’ve said it all... it is completely unexpected," Sullivan said this week.
"Wherever you think we are going, we are going in a completely different direction," he added. "The way the stories are unfolding is pretty amazing. Our writers and Dan Fogelman have done a pretty amazing job over four seasons keeping people surprised."
Season 3 saw Toby struggle with his anxiety and depression, as he and his wife Kate Pearson (Chrissy Metz) expected their first child together. During the pregnancy, Toby had a big breakdown, which Sullivan looked back as his most intense scene on the series so far.
"On that day, we were shooting two different crews, so the people who normally shoot with us were gone," he told the outlet. "So it was a cameraman I had never met, a sound guy I had never met."
"It hurts," the actor recalled. "It was like being surrounded by strangers, like alright, well there goes the kind of comfort level or the safety factor."
The end of Season 3 gave more context into the family's future, as the Pearsons gathered, with Toby in tow, to visit a bedridden Rebecca (Mandy Moore). In the present, Toby and Kate welcomed their son Jack, named after Kate's late father played by Milo Ventimiglia.
The upcoming season will mark the beginning of its latest three-season pickup orders, which takes the show all the way to its possible sixth and final season. Creator Dan Fogelman has said before that he considers the Season 3 finale the midpoint of the whole show.
"In speaking purely about the characters' stories, I think we're in the middle of their stories," Fogelman told Entertainment Weekly after the episode aired. "If you were in a movie theater, you'd be at the one-hour mark."
He also teased that Season 4 will mean a "restart" for every character, as the show hinted at many surprises coming in future episodes.0comments
"I think it's going to be very ambitious and sprawling in terms of how it plays with time," Fogelman explained. "Many of our characters are in the middle of their stories, and that’s a point where characters are opening up to new things and new things are starting. That becomes a very exciting period for almost all of the characters, and for some of them, maybe a very scary period in terms of how fraught their storylines are."