One of the big questions we're all waiting to learn the answer to on This Is Us -- When is amazing patriarch Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) going to die, and when are we gonna see it? — will start unfolding soon, creator Dan Fogelman teased at the Television Critics Association winter previews in Pasadena, Calif., Wednesday.
"Next week's episode is a big episode," Fogelman said when asked about Jack's death. As if that's not big enough of a hint, a preview clip shown before the show's panel featured a montage of Jack's funeral. The full story will play out over a number of episodes — into other seasons — but on the heels of the announcement that the show has been renewed for two more season, Fogelman assured fans the series has been fully mapped out — and there's a lot of story to tell.
"We have a lot," he said. "Our theme, something we play with, is, 'Life will surprise you a lot.' I wrote out the history of this family." There are "no real surprises for us," he said — just the order the show reveals it. It's not a big surprise, for example, that a woman ends up with another man down the line but the sequence of its revelation that keeps us hooked.
"We'll never run out of stories," Fogelman said, adding that fans will stick with the show if, for example, we're taken back in time to meet Dr. K (Gerald McRaney) (the doctor who delivered the Pearson babies) as a 30-year-old man. "We have a plan. We know where this series is going and we're going to keep people on their toes. We feel really confident."
But again, something big is happening next week — following a back-to-basics episode that took viewers back to the birth of the Pearson kids, as well as the decision to adopt Randall, that kicked off the hit show. "Next week is a big week. There's a 'before' and 'after' to this family — before Jack and after," Fogelman said. Slowly but surely, he said, we'll learn when and how Jack died — and then, presumably, how his wife Rebecca Pearson (Mandy Moore) ends up with Jack's best friend Miguel (Jon Huertas) — but that will unravael over "many many episodes," Fogleman said.
This Is Us airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on NBC. The season finale airs March 7.