'This Is Us' Debuts First Season 2 Footage, Answers to Jack's Death 'Will Set the Internet Abuzz'
By Philiana Ng
This Is Us is leaning into the waterworks in season two -- and answering the big question about Jack’s death.
The cast and creator of NBC’s breakout family drama dropped an early sneak peek from the anticipated season two premiere on Thursday at the Television Critics Association press tour, and viewers will get to fill in a small sliver of what happened on the fateful day Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) and Rebecca (Mandy Moore) adopted Randall (Sterling K. Brown).
In the scene, an older Rebecca reminisces about that day, a Randall’s request -- who calls his adoption one of his favorite stories of his childhood. It’s revealed in the flashback that Rebecca didn’t originally want to adopt Randall, but it was Jack who kept pushing. “I was tired and grieving,” Rebecca recalls in the clip, telling Randall: “He pushed a stranger on me, and that stranger became my child and that child became my life. He became you.”
Creator Dan Fogelman revealed details about where the season two premiere will pick up. In the present day, “a little bit of time has passed,” he shared, referring to Kevin (Justin Hartley), Kate (Chrissy Metz) and Randall’s arcs, adding that “it will be a month or two” after the season one finale. “We’re picking up on their 37th birthday.” (In the pilot, the present-day storyline kicked off on their 36th birthdays.)
“You’re catching up on Randall and Beth as they go on their adoption quest and Kate as she’s embarking on her singing career and Kevin is doing his movie [with Ron Howard] and figuring out his relationship with his ex-wife,” Fogelman added, teasing that in the past, the premiere will pick up “the morning after [Jack and Rebecca’s] big fight that has led to an early separation.”
Fogelman also revealed that Ron Cephas Jones’ character, William, who died in last season’s episode, “Memphis,” is “very much be opening the season, in his own way.” Jones later elaborated to ET what Fogelman’s tease meant, saying that visuals of William will be one of the first things viewers will see of season two.
Fogelman also addressed the biggest question that continues to surround the series: How did Jack die? The showrunner promised that the second season will provide all of those answers that viewers have been wondering.
“If that is a question that is haunting people, in the course of the second season they will get all the answers about they want,” Fogelman revealed, adding later that the premiere “will feed the beast enough.” “The first episode has a big, giant piece of the puzzle that will potentially set the internet abuzz and also, hopefully give some momentum toward that storyline.”
He also commented on the importance of keeping the show’s twists, a crucial part of its DNA, as realistic as possible -- but hinted that there’s another bombshell coming in the new season.
“The Jack death was always going to be a big part of this family and a big part of the show. The internet changes things in a way where the conversation changes … you have to be cognizant of it. I try not to read too much. We have a plan. We have not strayed from that plan. The way Jack’s death is going to play out is going to play out as it was planned since episode one,” Fogelman said.
“We were all born with the Jack mystery and whether anything else holds up to that amount of intrigue and mystery is not for me to say, but we have some big whoppers of plot twists and things coming that are going to take people's feet out from under them," he noted. "They've been long planned, since the beginning of the pilot, and we're going to do that thing again that gets people talking about something else."
This Is Us premieres Tuesday, Sept. 26 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.