(Spoiler alert: Don’t ready ahead unless you have watched through the Season 2 finale of “This Is Us.”)
“This Is Us” fans have been well aware that Jack Pearson is dead since Season 1. And after the show’s fiery post-Super Bowl episode in its recent sophomore year, they are well aware of how he died when the triplets were just teenagers. (Thank you, slow-cooker).
But now that the secret to his demise has been revealed, some viewers have expressed concern that we’ll be seeing less of Milo Ventimiglia (the actor who portrays the family patriarch) when the third installment premieres this fall.
Well don’t you worry, “This Is Us” fans, as Justin Hartley –who plays Kevin on the NBC family drama — told TheWrap his on-screen dad is not going anywhere. In fact, if anything, Season 3 is going to be even bigger for the character.
“No, no, no,” Hartley told TheWrap at the network’s summer press day Wednesday, when asked if Ventimiglia will appear less in the upcoming season now that we know how he died. “I look at it this way… We have that scene where Randall [Sterling K Brown] says to Kevin, ‘We’ve been without him longer than we’ve been with him.’ OK, we’ve only been with him as an audience for 36 hours of his life. So he lived a lot longer than 36 hours. So there is so much to be… I mean, trust me, we could do a whole three seasons about one year of Jack’s life that we haven’t even seen yet. So I would not worry at all about seeing less of him. In fact ,I think Season 3 is gonna be a huge season for that character.”
In the Season 2 finale, we saw Kevin on a plane headed to Vietnam, gazing at a picture of Jack from when he fought in the war. Snuggled up next to him was Beth’s (Susan Kelechi Watson) cousin Zoe (Melanie Liburd) — a character fans were first introduced to earlier in the episode, when she showed up as the wedding photographer for Kate (Chrissy Metz) and Toby (Chris Sullivan). Hartley says that trip to explore Jack’s past will be giving Ventimiglia more screen time, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
“That’s part of it, but also I think there is a separate part as well that my adult character has nothing to do with,” Hartley said. “But I think it’s going to be a big season for all of us, actually.”
Hartley said Kevin’s search to learn more about his father is important to him, as the actor doesn’t get time with Ventimiglia on camera. You know, cause Jack is already dead in the timeline where we see adult Kevin.
“It sucks with the Milo thing, because I would love to work with him. I really would,” Hartley said. “I admire him as an actor. And we had one scene together and I was like, ‘I’m really looking forward to this.’ And it was him imagining his father being there. So I hope what happens is, I hope Kevin explores more about his dad via his mom. ‘Cause she can answer a lot of the questions that he might have.”
Hartley has had several intense scenes with Mandy Moore, who plays Rebecca, his mother and the late Jack’s wife. And those moments are what can allow him to touch Ventimiglia without working with him.
“So as that relationship starts to mend a little bit, and she’s open, and I think Kevin is now open as well, to trying to figure out things and I think he’s starting to understand that his childhood might not have been as bad as he remembers,” Hartley continued. “And our perspectives on things are so different. You can have two people in the same room experience the same thing and they both have different experiences and different perspectives. Hopefully he’ll start to ask her some questions about his father and be able to fill some of those holes.”