This Is Us fans are eagerly awaiting the series’ return on NBC, because not only is it a tear-jerking family drama, but it has also placed the mystery of Jack’s death at the heart of the show. It is truly “the hinge upon which the family swings,” creator Dan Fogelman said at the 2017 TCA summer press tour Thursday, revealing that it will be a big part of the first couple of episodes of the new season.
Read on for details about Jack’s death and more teases about This Is Us’ second season.
There will be a small time jump.
Fogelman revealed there will be a small time jump in the present-day story, while the past will pick up almost immediately where it left off in the season two finale.
“We’re catching up with them a month or two later … we’re picking up on their 37th birthday,” Fogelman shared. “A little time has passed and you’re catching up with Randall [Sterling K. Brown] and Beth [Susan Kelechi Watson] as they proceed on this adoption quest, and Kate [Chrissy Metz] as she progresses on this singing career, and Kevin [Justin Hartley] as he’s doing his film and working his romantic relationship with his ex-wife. … The past story picks up basically the day after the finale, it’s basically the morning after the big fight that has led to the separation between Mandy [Moore] and Milo [Ventimiglia].”
Answers about Jack’s death are coming.
Fogelman said the first episode of season two will “feed the beast” for people clamoring to know more about Jack’s death, and more answers will come throughout the season.
“If [Jack’s death] is a question that is haunting people, in the course of the second season they will get all the answers they want about that and more,” Fogelman promised. “The first episode has a big giant piece of the puzzle that will potentially set the internet not just abuzz but also hopefully give some momentum toward that storyline.”
He added, “There’s a lot we’re going to do with Jack this season. We’ve painted the picture of the world’s perfect dad and husband, everything, and now we’re going to show, not the dark side of that, but the struggle of being that guy and ultimately bring him to a fully realized place.”
But the plan has not changed.
When asked if he regrets killing off Jack now that he’s become so popular, Fogelman laughed and said no. He also said the plan the writers have always had for Jack is still the plan.
“I always talk about Jack’s death as this hinge upon which the family swings. … You can’t appreciate the family unless you appreciate what happened to the family. They’d be a different family if Jack lived,” Fogelman explained. “It gives us a lot of places to go with this family.”
“We have a plan, we have not strayed from the plan,” he continued. “The way Jack’s death is going to play out is going to play out as was planned from episode one … [but] it’s fun to have a little bit of plot and intrigue and mystery too, I think, as a viewer. It’s a balancing act.”
There are also plans for Miguel.
Miguel (Jon Huertas), Jack’s best friend and Rebecca’s second husband, has not been fans’ favorite character on the show, but Fogelman said he thinks viewers will come around.
“It’s not just this season; it’s future seasons that we have planned out where Miguel’s place in the story gets bigger and bigger and bigger. … I think we can get him to become this really beloved character who you’re rooting for in his own way, but it takes a minute,” Fogelman teased. “It takes a minute for any stepfather in a family. … It’s not going to happen in one episode or overnight, but I think we’ll get there.”
Speaking of Rebecca…
Fogelman told Moore she’ll be spending “a lot of time” in her old-age makeup this season, which is a nice segue into a season two scene screened for critics. In the scene, Randall asks about being adopted, wondering if both Jack and Rebecca really, truly wanted him right away — and like many This Is Us scenes, it is beautiful and heartrending.
“I said no. But your father was so sure,” says Rebecca. “I was tired and I was grieving and he just kept pushing me. He was so determined that you were meant to be, meant to be ours. Sometimes in marriage, someone has to be the one to push to make the big moves, and oftentimes in our marriage, yes, it was your father. Our marriage wasn’t perfect, it’s true. But none are. And your father wasn’t perfect either, but he was pretty damn close. As close as they come. He pushed a stranger on me and that stranger became my child and that child became my life. He became you.”
Cue the waterworks!
Get ready for a legend.
In a moment of levity, Fogelman revealed a new guest star coming to season two: screen legend Sylvester Stallone.
“Kevin’s character is shooting his big movie and we needed a big costar for him … so Sly Stallone is going to come and do a huge part on the show as Justin’s costar-slash-father-figure in the film that he’s actually shooting,” Fogelman explained. “We have a great script for him. I think it’s going to be really, really exciting.”
This Is Us returns Tuesday, September 26, at 9pm ET/PT on NBC.
Why do you love This Is Us? Tell us @BritandCo.
(Photos via NBC)