Every family has a story. This Is Us chronicles the Pearson family across the decades: from Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) and Rebecca (Mandy Moore) starting their life together in the 1980s to their kids, Kevin (Justin Hartley), Kate (Chrissy Metz), and Randall (Sterling K. Brown), building their own lives in the present day along with Toby (Chris Sullivan) and Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson). The show is still going strong, currently airing its fifth season.
There are many reasons why so many viewers love This Is Us, but one of the biggest reasons is how talented the cast is at bringing the Pearson family and their stories to life in a relatable and impactful way. However, if you watch as many shows and films as I do, this cast will be pretty familiar to you for their other roles.
From voicing a Disney princess to being in one of the biggest Marvel films ever, this cast has so many ties to different fandoms!
Before playing the matriarch of the Pearson family, Mandy Moore dazzled fans as Rapunzel in Tangled. Being a Disney princess is a big honor, and Moore definitely lived up to the challenge. She easily became a favorite out of the many princesses, also getting Tangled Ever After, Rapunzel’s Tangled Adventure, and Tangled: Before Ever After.
The film, originally released in 2010, celebrated the 10th anniversary in November.
Did you know Jack Pearson really was a superhero? That’s right, Milo Ventimiglia starred as Peter Petrelli in Heroes on NBC, which followed ordinary people around the world as they discover they have superpowers.
But that’s not all!
Fun fact: when The WB was looking for a young Superman for a new generation, Ventimiglia almost landed the role of Clark Kent on Smallville.
Speaking of Smallville, Justin Hartley portrayed the DC character Oliver Queen / Green Arrow for five seasons on the iconic CW series, predating the Arrowverse.
Green Arrow wasn’t his first brush with superheroes, though, since he was also cast as a pre-Jason Momoa Aquaman in an unaired pilot created by the Smallville producers. You can listen to Keith, Britney, and Desiree provide running commentary while watching the Aquaman pilot for the DC Multicast podcast episode titled, “The Aqua-Manny” below:
Sterling K. Brown has two incredible ties, both to Marvel and Disney. In Black Panther, which was released in 2018, he portrayed N’Jobu. The film became a Marvel favorite immediately, the representation the film provided being a very important step for the MCU.
He was also in the sequel to the hit Disney animated film, Frozen. Frozen 2 was released in 2019 and the actor voiced Lieutenant Destin Mattias. The film was a success, only adding to the hype that the first film left fans with.
Before she stole our hearts as Kate Pearson, Chrissy Metz cemented her fandom legacy by joining the AHS crew in American Horror Story: Freak Show.
Her season aired in 2014, one year before Metz shot to fame on This is Us, and the actress played the tragic Ima Wiggles.
The parents and the Big Three aren’t the only fandom legends in the cast!
Kate’s adoring and nerdy husband Toby would be excited to know that his doppelganger Chris Sullivan was part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. When our favorite group of Guardians came back for adventure #2, this time unraveling the mysteries of Peter Quill’s true parentage, Sullivan antagonized them as the rogue Ravager, Taserface.
Even better, Toby also has Broadway chops! Sullivan preceded legend André De Shields in the role of Hermes when the Tony Award-winning musical was still Off-Broadway!
Faithe Herman, who plays Randall and Beth’s youngest daughter, Annie Pearson, is also part of the DC Universe as Darla in Shazam!. In the 2019 film, 14-year-old Billy Batson transforms into the adult superhero Shazam! by only shouting out one word.
Darla is Billy’s adoptive sister and stole the show in every scene!
Griffin Dunne, who plays Uncle Nicky, was one of the leads of the cult horror classic, An American Werewolf in London. The film was written and directed by John Landis with an international co-production of the United Kingdom and the United States.
Dunne portrayed Jack Goodman, the protagonist’s best friend who gets mauled early on and spends most of the movie in gory makeup.
You know who’s not a stranger to gory makeup? Alexandra Breckenridge! The actress who played Kevin’s childhood sweetheart Sophie, can easily be recognized for her time as Rick Grimes’ love interest, Jessie Anderson, on The Walking Dead’s sixth season.
The show’s final season starts on August 22.
Sabrina the Teenage Witch, which ran for a total of 7 seasons after premiering in 1996, became an instant classic, but did you know Jon Huertas, who plays Miguel, was also part of the ABC hit?
Huertas portrayed Brad, the antagonist of the fourth season.
Last, but certainly not least, Ron Cephas Jones, who joined This Is Us as Randall’s biological father William, also played Bobby Fish in Marvel’s Luke Cage on Netflix.
He is also the father of Hamilton star Jasmine Cephas Jones, proving his real life family is just as talented as his fictional one!
With a cast like this, it’s no wonder that This Is Us is such a hit. New episodes of the series air Tuesdays on NBC at 9 PM ET. Be sure to bring tissues!