‘This Is Us’ season 2 will explore darker side of Jack before his death


After a freshman season that took the critical world, consumer audience, and TV Academy (11 nominations!) by storm, NBC's multi-generational, multiple time period drama "This Is Us" is prepping for a highly anticipated second season.

"The present day story, the story of the big three kids, a little bit of time has passed. We're picking up about a month or two later, on their birthday — their 37th. The pilot started on their 36th, and this is one year later," series showrunner Dan Fogelman says. "You're catching up with Randall and Beth as they proceed on this adoption quest, and Kate as she tries to embark on a singing career, and Kevin who is working on his film and working on his relationship with his ex-wife."

The storyline set in the past with Rebecca (Mandy Moore) and Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) will pick up immediately from where the season finale left them — the morning after their big fight. Fogelman also promises that the premiere will feature "a big, giant piece of the puzzle" of how Jack died.

26 PHOTOS
Milo Ventimiglia through the years
See Gallery
Milo Ventimiglia through the years
CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 23: Actors Milo Ventimiglia attends Wizard World Comic Con Chicago 2015 - Day 4 at Donald E. Stephens Convention Center on August 23, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/WireImage)
Milo Ventimiglia (Gilmore Girls) (Photo by Barry King/WireImage)
Milo Ventimiglia at the Academy Theatre in Beverly Hills, California (Photo by Gregg DeGuire/WireImage)
Presenters Jared Padalecki, Alexis Bledel and Milo Ventimiglia for Choice TV Reality Scariest Moment (Photo by Ray Mickshaw/WireImage)
Milo Ventimiglia during 20th Century Fox Emmy After Party At Morton's at Morton's Restaurant in Los Angeles, California, United States. (Photo by J. Merritt/FilmMagic)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - MARCH 1: Actor Milo Ventimiglia and actress Alexis Bledel speak during the EIF's Women's Cancer Research Fund honoring Melissa Etheridge at Saks Fifth Avenue's Unforgettable Evening on March 1, 2006 at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Milo Ventimiglia during 5th Annual Tribeca Film Festival - 'Civic Duty' Premiere - After Party at BED Nightclub in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Jason Kempin/FilmMagic)
HEROES -- Pilot -- Pictured: Milo Ventimiglia as Peter Petrelli (Photo by Mitch Haaseth/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
Milo Ventimiglia (Photo by Mark Sullivan/WireImage)
Antonio Tarver and Milo Ventimiglia during MGM Pictures, Columbia Pictures and Revolution Studios present the World Premiere of 'Rocky Balboa' at Grauman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood, California, United States. (Photo by E. Charbonneau/WireImage for MGM)
Milo Ventimiglia during 64th Annual Golden Globe Awards - Arrivals at Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, CA, United States. (Photo by SGranitz/WireImage)
HEROES -- 'Five Years Gone' Episode 20 -- Aired 4/30/07 --Pictured: (l-r) Milo Ventimiglia as Peter Petrelli, Ali Larter as Niki/Jessica Sanders (Photo by Chris Haston/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
Milo Ventimiglia at the Cabana Club in Burbank, California (Photo by Albert L. Ortega/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 19: Actor Milo Ventimiglia arrives at the party to celebrate 'The Circle' and 'Welcome To Your Crisis' author Laura Day at ONE Sunset restaurant on June 19, 2007 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - JULY 23: (U.S. TABLOIDS OUT) Actor Milo Ventimiglia makes an appearance on MTV's Total Request Live on July 23, 2007 in New York City. (Photo by Peter Kramer/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 16: Actor Milo Ventimiglia arrives at the 59th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards at the Shrine Auditorium on September 16, 2007 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Emmys/Getty Images for FOX)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 14: Actor Milo Ventimiglia attends the Race To Fight Epilepsy event which started off at the Skirball Centre by celebrities driving off in Lamborghini's on November 14, 2007 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - APRIL 15: (U.S. TABS OUT) Actor Milo Ventimiglia appears onstage during MTV's Total Request Live at the MTV Times Square Studios April 15, 2008 in New York City. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD - AUGUST 10: Actor Milo Ventimiglia attends the Whaleman Foundation Benefit Dinner at Beso on August 10, 2008 in Hollywood, CA. (Photo by Charley Gallay/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 19: Milo Ventimiglia arrives at the Heroes For Autism Event at the Avalon Hollywood on April 19, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jean Baptiste Lacroix/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 17: Actor Milo Ventimiglia arrives at the One Club's 2nd Annual One Show Entertainment Awards on February 17, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Valerie Macon/Getty Images)
WESTWOOD, CA - JUNE 04: Actor Milo Ventimiglia arrives at the Los Angeles premiere of 'That's My Boy' held at Regency Village Theatre Westwood on June 4, 2012 in Westwood, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 21: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Milo Ventimiglia Visits 'What's Trending' on February 21, 2013 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Michael Bezjian/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 03: Actor Milo Ventimiglia attends the Crackle's season 2 premiere of original digital series 'Chosen' held at the Pacific Theaters at the Grove on December 3, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Tommaso Boddi/WireImage)
CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 21: Actor Milo Ventimiglia attends Wizard World Comic Con Chicago 2015 - Day 2 at Donald E. Stephens Convention Center on August 21, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/WireImage)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

"[It] will potentially set the internet abuzz but also hopefully push that storyline's momentum," Fogelman says. "There's a lot of healing to be done. We painted this picture of the world's perfect dad [and] man, and now we're going to show, not the dark side of that, but a more full picture."Fogelman notes Jack's death was always going to be a "big part" of the show and a key moment for the Pearson family. Despite so much of the audience focusing heavily on the mystery of exactly how and when Jack died, Fogelman and his writers have not changed the plan regarding the reveal. "The way Jack's death is going to play out is how it was always going to play out as we planned," Fogelman says. "You do have to be cognizant that it doesn't become a soap opera or one story starts taking over, [but] it's fun to have a little bit of plot and intrigue, too. It's a balancing act. It's all a balancing act."

Further complicating the dynamic is Miguel (Jon Huertas), who was Jack's best friend in the past and Rebecca's new husband in the present. Though the character has been polarizing to some viewers, who don't want to see Jack replaced in the family, Fogelman notes that Huertas i "such a likable actor" that he plans to explore more of the character, and hopefully he will come to grow on the audience. "It's not just this season, but it's future seasons that we have planned out where Miguel's place in the story become bigger and bigger and bigger. I think we can get him to become this beloved character that you're rooting for in a really big way. But it's going to take a moment. It's not going to happen in one night," Fogelman says, noting it's like any step-parent/step-child relationship.

The nature of "This Is Us" is to deal in how the past informs the present, so the second season will continue the theme, perhaps most notably with the return of Ron Cephas Jones' William, who will "very much open" the show in the premiere and appear throughout the season in both the past and present storyline. Characters can see and talk to ghosts, both literally and figuratively, on "This Is Us." Though people may be physically gone from lives, they are certainly not forgotten, and their influence continues to reign over important moments and decisions.

"My mom passed away almost 10 years ago now, and it hits that time where it's far enough away that it's not really present in your gut, but it's still a huge part of mine and my sister's life," Fogelman says, noting a main inspiration for the show is to aid in healing. "To get somebody to laugh at a scene and then be moved by something, it's a really hard thing to execute. I've been chasing it my whole career."

The second season of "This Is Us" premieres on September 26 at 9pm on NBC.

19 PHOTOS
'This Is Us' season 1
See Gallery
'This Is Us' season 1
THIS IS US -- 'The Big Three' Episode 102 -- Pictured: (l-r) Mandy Moore as Rebecca, Mackenzie Hancsicsak as Kate, Milo Ventimiglia as Jack, Parker Bates as Kevin, Lonnie Chavis as Randall -- (Photo by: Ron Batzdorff/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
THIS IS US -- 'Kyle' Episode 103 -- Pictured: Mandy Moore as Rebecca -- (Photo by: Ron Batzdorff/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
THIS IS US -- 'The Trip' Episode 109 -- Pictured: (l-r) Justin Hartley as Kevin, Chrissy Metz as Kate -- (Photo by: Ron Batzdorff/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
THIS IS US -- 'The Game Plan' Episode 105 -- Pictured: (l-r) Mandy Moore as Rebecca, Milo Ventimiglia as Jack -- (Photo by: Ron Batzdorff/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
THIS IS US -- 'The Pool' Episode 104 -- Pictured: (l-r) Mandy Moore as Rebecca, Lonnie Chavis as 8 year old Randall -- (Photo by: Ron Batzdorff/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
THIS IS US -- 'The Best Washing Machine in the Whole World ' Episode 107 -- Pictured: (l-r) Chrissy Metz as Kate, Chris Sullivan as Toby -- (Photo by: Ron Batzdorff/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
THIS IS US -- 'The Game Plan' Episode 105 -- Pictured: (l-r) Mandy Moore as Rebecca, Milo Ventimiglia as Jack -- (Photo by: Ron Batzdorff/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
THIS IS US -- 'Career Days' Episode 106 -- Pictured: (l-r) Milo Ventimiglia as Jack, Mandy Moore as Rebecca -- (Photo by: Ron Batzdorff/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
THIS IS US -- 'Pilgrim Rick' Episode 108 -- Pictured: Chrissy Metz as Kate -- (Photo by: Ron Batzdorff/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
THIS IS US -- 'Pilgrim Rick' Episode 108 -- Pictured: (l-r) Mackenzie Hancsicsak as 8 year old Kate, Milo Ventimiglia as Jack, Mandy Moore as Rebecca, Parker Bates as 8 year old Kevin, Lonnie Chavis as 8 year old Randall -- (Photo by: Ron Batzdorff/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
THIS IS US -- 'The Big Day' Episode 112 -- Pictured: (l-r) Mackenzie Hancsicsak as Kate, Milo Ventimiglia as Jack -- (Photo by: Ron Batzdorff/NBC)
THIS IS US -- 'The Big Day' Episode 112 -- Pictured: Milo Ventimiglia as Jack -- (Photo by: Ron Batzdorff/NBC)
THIS IS US -- 'The Big Day' Episode 112 -- Pictured: (l-r) Mandy Moore as Rebecca, Milo Ventimiglia as Jack -- (Photo by: Ron Batzdorff/NBC)
THIS IS US -- 'Last Christmas' Episode 110 -- Pictured: (l-r) Gerald McRaney as Dr. Nathan Katowsky, Milo Ventimiglia as Jack, Mandy Moore as Rebecca -- (Photo by: Ron Batzdorff/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
THIS IS US -- 'Last Christmas' Episode 110 -- Pictured: (l-r) Mackenzie Hancsicsak as 8 year old Kate, Milo Ventimiglia as Jack -- (Photo by: Ron Batzdorff/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
THIS IS US -- 'The Best Washing Machine in the Whole World ' Episode 107 -- Pictured: (l-r) Mandy Moore as Rebecca, Milo Ventimiglia as Jack -- (Photo by: Ron Batzdorff/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
THS IS US -- 'Pilgrim Rick' Episode 108 -- Pictured: (l-r) Parker Bates as 8 year old Kevin, Milo Ventimiglia as Jack, Lonnie Chavis as 8 year old Randall -- (Photo by: Ron Batzdorff/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
THIS IS US -- 'Kyle' Episode 103 -- Pictured: (l-r) Justin Hartley as Kevin, Sterling K. Brown as Randall, Chrissy Metz as Kate -- (Photo by: Ron Batzdorff/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Read Full Story

Sign up for Entertainment Insider by AOL to get the hottest pop culture news delivered straight to your inbox!

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.