‘This Is Us’ Cast Knew About the Fire Surrounding Jack’s Death Last Year: ‘Not What You Think’

They saw it coming! On the heels of their season 2 premiere, the cast of This Is Us revealed that they’ve known Jack Pearson (Milo Ventimiglia)’s death would involve a house fire since season 1.

This Is Us
Lonnie Chavis as 8 year old Randall, Milo Ventimiglia as Jack, Parker Bates as 8 year old Kevin, Mackenzie Hancsicsak as 8 year old Kate, Mandy Moore as Rebecca on ‘This Is Us’ Ron Batzdorff/NBC

“We knew the whole story back before we started shooting the second episode our first season, so we’ve known for like well over a year,” Mandy Moore, who plays Jack’s wife Rebecca on the hit NBC series, told Us Weekly and other reporters at the This Is Us season 2 premiere at NeueHouse Hollywood on Tuesday, September 26. “And we know the whole extenuating circumstances around the day around his passing. And subsequently, all the other little details we were talking about — we’re learning more about that. Why Kate has a dog and how Kevin broke his leg. The things aren’t necessarily — you didn’t have those answers last year but we knew about the fire.”

This Is Us Milo Ventimiglia
Sterling K. Brown as Randall, Chrissy Metz as Kate, Justin Hartley as Kevin on ‘This Is Us’ Ron Batzdorff/NBC

During a Q&A panel for the premiere, Moore added: “You don’t know the whole story. We’ll say that. That’s not the full story. It’s just a piece of the puzzle,” she explained, noting that Kate’s dog, Kevin’s broken leg and Randall’s girlfriend are “clues” that “people are going to see sort of the origin of in the next couple of episodes that’ll be leading up to figuring out the bigger piece of the puzzle, ultimately, this monumental moment for this family.”

Series creator Dan Fogelman also addressed Jack’s tragic death scene during the panel. “From pretty much day one of starting, this has always been the plan,” he revealed. “All the answers about how Jack died and seeing how Jack died, it’s all gonna happen this season, but in the course of the season.”

In the episode’s final scene, Moore is seen uncontrollably sobbing in front of a burning house, leading fans to believe Jack is inside. “[It was] intense. It’s hard to prepare for something like that because I knew it was such a moment,” the “Candy” singer told Us and other reporters of filming the emotional take. “It was shot in a couple different locations so it was hard because it was over two different nights — outside the house was one night and pulling up to the house was another night. I think I was just concerned in making sure it was the same frame of mind. But seeing the house, I didn’t look at it until the cameras were rolling. I was super overwhelmed by that.”

As for Ventimiglia? The Gilmore Girls alum is glad that fans now know this new hint about the events leading up to his character’s passing. “This helps. This is like a pressure valve release for a little bit,” he said during the panel. “But with this answer, there’s still a lot of questions. People are just gonna have to pay attention over the course of the season … understand what The Big Three are experiencing or where they happened to be in the moments that are getting close to Jack’s death.”

This Is Us airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on NBC.

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