This Is Us, Digital Cover Star ExclusivePhotographed by Joe Pugliese

Keep in mind that "What the…?" feeling you had the primary time you noticed the ending of This Is Us' premiere episode? Yeah, the forged was proper there with you.

In truth, Sterling K. Brown remembers telling his spouse Ryan Michelle Bathe, his American Crime Story costar Sarah Paulson and anybody else who would hear about "the very best community tv pilot" he had ever learn. "Like, on the web page," he completely instructed E! Information of Dan Fogelman's creation, "there have been instances during which I laughed out loud, I cried and actually I used to be simply gob-smacked with my chin hanging over the script. It was loopy."

His onscreen spouse Susan Kelechi Watson felt the very same method. "I used to be studying and out loud was like, 'Ohhhh!' You understand what I imply?" she shared of attending to the pilot's no-they-are-not-all-living-in-present-day twist. "I simply didn't see that in any respect. It blew me away."

Exhausting similar. Within the 5 years since some 10 million viewers have been captivated by that spectacular debut, Tuesday nights have develop into our time to laugh, pick our chins up off the floor and, okay, high quality, cry so hard our neighbors had to check to ensure we have been all proper.

So, sure, we're struggling with the truth that the NBC phenomenon begins its final chapter Jan. 4. And we're not the one ones bracing ourselves for a tearful farewell to the Pearsons. Over the course of a number of interviews, the sequence' beloved stars—Milo Ventimiglia, Mandy Moore, Justin Hartley, Chrissy Metz, Chris Sullivan, Brown and Watson—completely sat down with E! Information to mirror on simply how far they've come since that life-changing second, again when Metz's checking account had all of 81 cents and Watson was looking for barista jobs in Montreal.

Although they have not quite wrapped their minds around goodbye ("I believe I am delusional," joked Metz. "I am like, 'Oh, it is not going to finish, it is high quality'") the actors teased what's still to come and confirmed what all of us already hoped to be true: They are a household each onscreen and off—at all times.

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E! Information: Wanting again at that first season, was there a second the place you realized, "We've got successful on our fingers"?

Sterling Ok. Brown: The pilot dropped and folks went loopy. Like, they really went slightly loopy. So I knew we had a great pilot. After which episode two dropped after which three dropped and 4, and people have been nonetheless going loopy. Then I received a name—my cousin left me a video message saying, like, "Sterling, I do know you simply received completed doing the Darden factor [on American Crime Story] and that was nice and also you have been great. However This Is Us? That is one thing particular."

Mandy Moore: That second episode you noticed Miguel present up with Rebecca to Randall's home and you are like, "Maintain the telephone, what occurred?" And it wasn't till episode 5 that Kate reveals her dad handed away. She's speaking about watching the Steelers along with her household rising up. And also you see Kevin explaining to Annie and Tess that when he will get a brand new job as an actor, he paints his feelings, and that helps him come to know the job. The way in which he distills down the essence of what the present is stays a very pivotal second to me. It looks like an actual turning level for me of remembering like, "Oh, wow. I do not assume I am ever going to be part of one thing like this ever once more."

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E! Information: What was your first impression of your character and why have been you proper for the position?

Justin Hartley: A extremely nice good friend of mine, Michael Rady, learn the script and he calls me and says he was considering that Dan really knew me. He is like, "I believe that he'd love you." I see there may be this man that is received a pregnant spouse, and a birthday factor and candle factor, and I am like that is so me. I am an enormous time romantic man. I'm Jack. After which, I stored taking a look at a few pages and I'm going, "Oh f--k. I am Kevin." I simply received him, I understood him.

SKB: I am accustomed to entering into and having to sing for my supper. For the primary time in my life, the studio was really large upping me as a result of this was the identical studio that I used to be doing The Individuals v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story with. So it was my first time going into an audition the place folks have been really excited to satisfy me as a substitute of identical to, "Dance, Brother, dance! What are you going to do for us?"

Chrissy Metz: Oh, I simply knew her. I'm her, she was me. I used to be a expertise agent for a lot of, a few years, and I felt like I lived within the shadow of my purchasers, despite the fact that I used to be excited for them. It was like, "I do know that I am destined for one thing totally different as nicely."

Chris Sullivan: Chrissy did a bunch of chemistry checks with totally different Tobys, however she and I by no means really met earlier than the primary desk learn. So I am unsure Toby was at all times meant to stay round for six seasons. You understand, there was a heart attack mid-season. One which I am certain was inbuilt in case they wished to create some drama and lose that character.

CM: It is humorous as a result of I keep in mind assembly him on the desk learn and I seemed over and I used to be like, "Who's Chris Sullivan?" After which they stated he is taking part in Toby and I am like, "What?" And he walks within the door. And I am like, "Oh my gosh, who would not love this face?"

E! Information: Mandy, did you've gotten any hesitations about taking part in each younger and outdated Rebecca?

MM: Yeah, I used to be terrified. A couple of month earlier than we began manufacturing I received an e-mail from Dan informing me that there was this collective settlement it could be greatest if I may attempt to painting this character at 65-plus, and we have been going to undergo the rigmarole of fittings and prosthetics to see if it could work. We've got so many loopy humorous photographs I must put out—perhaps as soon as the present is finished—of what Rebecca may have seemed like. Some have been terrifying. I keep in mind the primary hair and make-up check. I had a masks on over my lips, over my eyebrows, like they put faux eyebrows on me. I had this actually lengthy grey wig. They made her appear to be she was in her late 90s.

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E! Information: The core {couples} on This Is Us—Kate and Toby; Beth and Randall; Jack and Rebecca—have plain unbelievable chemistry! How did you all get there?

Milo Ventimiglia: We each agreed that from motion to chop, for all intents and purposes, we're a married couple. On the Upfronts, I keep in mind Mandy and I sitting to the facet and I stated, "Let's at all times speak. Let's at all times talk. Similar to an actual relationship, identical to an actual married couple. Let's make it possible for that is the muse of what we do."

SKB: I instructed my spouse early on, I stated, "Ry, I wish to say this to you in individual since you'll in all probability hear me say this in several interviews, however I like Susan Kelechi Watson. I do not love her in a method that's disrespectful. I do not love her in a method that you've got something to fret about. I like her spirit, her soul, the best way during which she approaches the work." There is a sure degree of playfulness I at all times know I can rely on when Sue and I've a scene with each other.

Susan Kelechi Watson: We knew find out how to play within the area with one another. We simply knew what that meant. And we knew what it was to embody the liberty to try this and work off the opposite individual's vitality. It felt straightforward, like we may improv and do no matter and it could all simply work.

CM: I keep in mind saying throughout considered one of our first scenes, "Chris, I do not know what I am doing. I really feel like I do not belong right here." And he was like, "Yeah, you do." And I am like, "No, I do not." And he is like, "I am telling you, you do." And it simply felt like he would at all times maintain my hand. Not solely did it really feel like such an excellent friendship originally, however like, "Oh, that is how it may be all through the connection of Kate and Toby."

CS: We at all times agreed to have enjoyable with one another and we agreed that the one time that belongs to us is the time between motion and minimize, so that is what we have tried to do, even within the troublesome scenes. Even within the heavy scenes. We tried to at all times have enjoyable, and I believe that is what individuals are seeing. 

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E! Information: And Justin, how has the Huge Three dynamic grown through the years?

JH: All of us had the identical concept about what the present was, what it could possibly be. And we handled it prefer it was our child. Because the years go by, you begin to develop a love for every individual. And I can inform you that I like Sterling like a brother. I like Chrissy like a sister. I like Milo like a brother—not like a dad—and I like Mandy like a sister. We're a household. Chris Sullivan is okay, I assume. No, he is great. [Laughs]

And Susan—you begin to develop a love for them that's outdoors of the character they're taking part in since you get to know them. In order that's the best factor you possibly can take away from a present like this, you possibly can have these lifelong friendships and bonds.

E! Information: This Is Us has coated practically every little thing, from infertility and alcoholism to racism. What storyline are you most pleased with?

MV: Those that stand out essentially the most are round alcoholism and the struggles in Vietnam. But additionally only a man who did not come from a great household desirous to have a great household.

CS: The fertility struggles storyline with Kate and Toby lots of people linked to—lots of people in my very own private life. There's loads of issues in our each day lives that individuals do not wish to discuss, whether or not it is shedding a toddler, not with the ability to conceive, whether or not it is habit, despair, anxiousness, alcoholism. Regardless of the factor is, it is exhausting to discover a good time to debate. And the factor I am most pleased with with this present is that it offers a context to start these conversations.

CM: Understanding the racial injustice that Randall went by. Kay [Oyegun], who wrote that exact episode, did such a lovely job of not making anyone the sufferer or the perpetrator, however like, "Hey, one thing is just not proper right here. And the way can we repair it? How do I perceive?" And it was such a fragile steadiness.

SKB: I like Tess' popping out. Quite a bit. I imply, loads. Once I was in an airport, a lady got here as much as me and stated, "When my daughter got here out to me, I didn't deal with it with as a lot grace as Beth and Randall did. However I noticed your instance and I will do higher." I virtually cried proper there on the spot. 

JH: I might be in New York doing press or I would be in LA having lunch—wherever I used to be—and folks would come as much as me and inform me these very intimate, non-public particulars of their lives, how the present affected them in a relationship with their father or their mom or their son or their brother. The way it helped them recover from the lack of somebody expensive to them. I imply, who would have ever thought as an actor that you just get a possibility to be on a present like this, that impacts so many individuals's lives that you'll by no means meet? What an absolute deal with.

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E! Information: Has there been a storyline that is been hardest to painting?

CS: Having to cope with anxiousness and despair in my very own life after which to additionally need to go to work and discover it and put it on show in Toby's life was definitely a heavy time. It is simpler when it is a difficulty that you just're coping with together with your therapist or your spouse or your shut buddies, however to go to a set in entrance of a bunch of individuals and air it on tv is loads. It is exhausting.

MV: Most likely essentially the most heartbreaking scene for me is when Jack needed to inform teen Kate he has a ingesting downside. That may have been one of many hardest ones to do. And naturally, large arguments with Rebecca. 

E! Information: What have you ever discovered about your self whereas taking part in your This Is Us character?

MM: It is exhausting to essentially take a list of that. I am nonetheless very, very a lot immersed in it now, and actually, perhaps greater than ever as a result of of [9-month-old] Gus and being a mom. It is made me fully reevaluate and rethink every little thing about this girl. I solely may start to think about, like some sketch of an concept, what it means to be a mother and to like your children and to be so fierce and an advocate. I barely have touched on that till changing into a mother.

However I might say that I simply have a lot gratitude for Rebecca as a result of she is that this pillar of all of the issues I wish to be as a mother, as a spouse, as a lady, as a good friend, as a grandmother. She's not good; she's fallible, she's completely human.

JH: A number of the issues I've discovered from him come from classes of what not to do. For example, I've by no means flipped out on stuff earlier than. I've by no means misplaced a job as a result of I used to be fully going insane. Perspective is what I've discovered while you play a personality that has gone by a lot. He is received habit points, he cheated on his spouse. I've by no means gone by any of that in my life, however the truth that he nonetheless has perspective and realizes that does not outline him, I believe that is the cool factor.

SKB: The perfectionism that Randall has suffered from all through his historical past is one thing that I perceive. The most important hope for him—what I have been studying—is to have grace with your self and settle for that there is not any such factor as being good. There's simply doing all your greatest. After which when the very best falls in need of no matter you think about the mark to be, simply mud your self and do it once more.

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MV: Gosh, Jack's footwear are undoubtedly exhausting to fill. You understand, for as golden as Jack is, he is equally flawed and but he is nonetheless very liked. One thing nice about that's that individuals can perceive that, take accountability for themselves and possession of their greatness and their flaws and acknowledge that in different folks. I've develop into slightly extra centered in myself due to taking part in this man. Figuring out that there is the steadiness—equal elements of the nice and the unhealthy—and at all times striving to be good, I believe that is at all times been a continuing theme of my life. You place the very best foot ahead and hopefully you are impacting folks positively. 

E! Information: What are we going to see on this last season? Will it wrap up these storylines?

SKW: Nicely, you'll get to see what occurs with Rebecca. You may see how Kate and Toby find yourself. And likewise what occurs with Kevin. I do consider every storyline may have its closure. It will likely be a really satisfying season. We're not going to, like, Recreation of Thrones you. I am nonetheless mad at y'all for what you probably did. 

JH: Dan had an ending years in the past, he had his concept of what it was, what it could be, and hopefully folks prefer it.

MM: A number of questions can be answered, however there'll nonetheless be some shocking issues as a result of that is the trick of the present. I nonetheless wish to know extra about Miguel and Rebecca. We're really stepping into that storyline now. I've at all times been such a champion, primarily as a result of I like Jon Huertas a lot. However I like that he is by no means been affected by folks's distaste or mistrust of Miguel. I've at all times been like, "No, no, no, guys, simply maintain on."

E! Information: Have you ever come round to the concept of getting to say goodbye?

SKB: It's going to be, "Ta-ta for now." It will not be goodbye ceaselessly. These individuals are part of my life for the remainder of my life. And fortunately so.

SKW: I really feel prefer it would not even really feel fairly over but, ? We're nonetheless within the middle of it. I guess round episode 16 I will be feeling it.

JH: As an alternative of excited about it as "I am gonna be so unhappy that is over," benefit from the trip. It is exhausting to do typically, however, man, it is over in a second. I am unable to consider I have been doing this present for nearly six years. It looks like six minutes.

MV: Jack, I can dangle him up. It is okay. It's going to be in a garment bag. I can pop it open and have a look. The toughest factor at all times for me is the folks. You spend a lot time with the folks, ? I really feel like a majority of my job is exhibiting up for the crew and ensuring we're all having a great day. And figuring out that I will not be with this explicit group that I have been with for six years, presumably ever once more, collectively, it is exhausting.

MM: I will be a complete wreck. We're a household. We have been a household from the start. There's not a foul apple within the bunch. I've already resigned myself to the truth that there'll by no means be one other job that's this particular. It is simply so particular to be part of one thing that simply constantly touches you in each method.

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E! Information: So, could we propose a This Is Us film?

MV: I do not know if it'll contain Jack as a result of, by the point they normally get to films, , years have handed. I do not know if Jack storylines will maintain or carry by. You'll be able to completely inform a Kevin-Randall-Kate story. You'll be able to completely inform current day stuff.

MM: We have been laughing the opposite day with among the forged, like, all these exhibits which can be getting rebooted, did not they simply finish 5, six, seven years in the past? Are we going to be doing This Is Us the reboot in six years? I might be sport to do something that might reunite me with everyone right here.

CS: After all, I might be on board. I am at all times on board for the This Is Us household. I do not know if it is gonna occur, however that feels like an excellent concept. We must always begin that hashtag.

SKB: We completely may. And that is one thing, really, I may undoubtedly see them selling it. Like, we have seen the Intercourse and the Metropolis joints, there's an Entourage joint, if they will do it, why the hell not? 

(This interview has been edited and condensed for readability.)

This Is Us season six premieres Tuesday, Jan. four on NBC.

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