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‘This Is Us’ Cast, Crew Discuss the ‘Painful’ Finale, Jack’s Death, Season 2

'This is Us' presentation, Panel, Paleyfest

Although separated by the confines of space and time on the series, the cast of “This is Us” gathered together on Saturday evening at PaleyFest for a well-attended Q&A at the Dolby Theatre.

Just four days after the emotional first season finale aired, the cast and creative crew of the show discussed the intense fight scene between Jack and Rebecca, what to expect for season 2, and the highly anticipated backstory behind Jack’s death.

After a screening of the series’ pilot episode, stars Milo Ventimiglia and Mandy Moore started off the panel by discussing the challenges of filming the finale’s passionate fight scene, which they both called “painful” to shoot.

Ventimiglia said “the tough part was being at odds with Mandy (Moore),” he told Variety at the pre-panel carpet. “Even the little moments where we’ve had to snip back and forth at one another we recover pretty quickly, but this one hurt. It was painful to have to truly separate myself during the course of that scene and defend Jack in a way and not sympathize with what Rebecca was saying, because that was necessary for the process.”

Asked about the upcoming second season, executive producer Glenn Ficarra said that there have been “advanced talks” and “logistics discussions,” but that viewers can expect to see Jack and other characters from different perspectives.

“It’s kind of an endless canvas,” Ficarra added, to which star Sterling K. Brown (Randall) jokingly replied, “Appreciate the specificity.”

Although nothing concrete can be revealed about Jack’s death, moderator Kristin Dos Santos listed a number of fan theories, ranging from the idea that he died on 9/11 to Kate (Chrissy Metz) “accidentally” killing him — all of which were largely dismissed by the cast members, who know what really happened.

Perhaps the most touching moment of the evening occurred when an audience member asked Ventimiglia about his inspiration for Jack’s character. Here we go, you’re going to find me crying,” he responded. “My father.”

There’s not a moment in my life where I don’t think about how he raised us, my sisters [Laurel and Leslie] and I,” he added. 

This Is Us” has been renewed by NBC for seasons two and three. The network has yet to announce an exact air date for its return, but it’s expected to run in the fall.