Much like Parenthood or a Pixar movie, This Is Us is guaranteed to make you cry. And the Feb. 21 episode, "Memphis," which almost felt more like a short indie movie than a network TV episode, was far from an exception. If "Memphis" didn't make you cry, you may be made of stone. The episode beautifully depicted the end of William's life, something Season 1 had been building toward as the character had Stage 4 cancer and decided to stop treatment. Now that William has died on This Is Us, fans are mourning the character. But, given the creative timeline of the show, should we save our tears? Could William be in This Is Us Season 2?
The beauty of This Is Us is its intersecting timelines. We have seen Jack alive, and the Pearson kids without their father. Similarly, we could continue to see more of William's story unfold despite the character's on-screen death. In fact, the actor who plays William, Ron Cephas Jones, has already confirmed to The Wrap that he will appear in Season 2. But, he kept the character's Season 2 plots close to the vest, while still teasing enough to excite fans.
“It’s been determined [William will return], but with a big question mark again," Jones told the website. He also said:
"We will see him again, but we don’t know when, how, or where, or in what capacity. But I do know he’s going to be there next season. Like most fans, I pick and choose what I think they might write. Maybe the Jesse relationship, because he was in Chicago, so I’m sure he’ll come back and Randall will have to fill him in on what happened in Memphis. Maybe we’ll get a chance to see how that relationship becomes [what it is]. Maybe through dreams Randall has. Maybe through the postcard that he left for Beth that we’ll see in the next episode. There are so many little pockets of places where you could put his story.”
So there are still a lot of possibilities for the character, but we can't be sure of just how much screen time he will be getting, as The Wrap reported that Jones "declined to confirm whether he would still be a series regular in Season 2."
“That’s more about contracts stuff, how many episodes. I wouldn’t know that until it’s time to sign," he said in the March 7 interview. "I just feel like, whether you see him or not, he’s become a regular in the family, so in that sense, yeah he’ll be a regular. How many times you’ll see him, we’re not sure yet. But I know he’s coming back for a decent amount of time, I’m confident, I just can’t specify.”
We can rest easy now that we know William is returning, and fans can daydream about what that could mean. Even Jones has admitted to doing so, not just with William, but other characters on the show. In an interview with Variety, Jones shared his hopes for next season. “I’d love to see more of the connection that happened in the house between William and the children," he said, but then shifted gears to other stories.
"I’m looking forward to what’s going on with Chrissy [Kate] and Sully [Toby]. And whether they’re getting to get married because they’re putting that on hold," Jones told Variety. "And what’s happening with Jack. I have all the questions that the fans have. What’s going on with Justin [Kevin] and the wife? Whether Beth has some family? Does she have a mother? My plate is just as full as the fans."
Whatever happens next on This Is Us, fans, including Ron Cephas Jones, are already thinking about Season 2, and the emotions it's bound to bring.