This Is Us fans have been trying figure out how Jack Pearson (played by Milo Ventimiglia) eventually dies, but it looks like it may be a while before viewers of the hit NBC drama learn the whole story behind the popular character’s premature demise.
Fans of the show already know that Milo Ventimiglia’s character is not alive in the present day, and he is only seen in flashbacks in the 1980s and 1990s. While This Is Us producers threw viewers a crumb with a shadowy funeral scene that revealed Jack died when his kids were teenagers, the details of his death have not yet been revealed—and probably won’t be anytime soon.
— Yahoo Demise (@YahooDemise) January 25, 2017
Indeed, This Is Us creator Dan Fogelman has already made it clear that viewers will need to be patient as they wait for details about how the doting dad of three died in the mid-1990s.
“I’ve always known when Jack died,” the This Is Us boss told Entertainment Weekly. “The how is going to take much longer to reveal… In terms of the detail of how he died, was it illness? Was it something tragic? Was it something else? You’re not going to know that for a little bit because we want to show that in the show. So that’s going to take a minute.”
But even a warning from the showrunner hasn’t stopped This Is Us fans from coming up with some wild theories about the character’s fate.
One of the most popular fan theories is that Jack Pearson died in a car accident, possibly after drinking alcohol. While this would be a heartbreaking and sudden demise for the beloved Super Dad, it’s starting to look like that could be the case—or at least a serious contender for a death pool bet.
Here’s what This Is Us fans know about Jack’s death so far, and why the clues point to a car crash.
Jack probably died suddenly
Since Jack has already been shown in several scenes set in the mid-1990s, and we now know he dies in that time frame, it’s unlikely that he suffered a long illness. And while a heart attack could have taken him suddenly, producers have already gone down that road with Toby (Chris Sullivan). This Is Us star Mandy Moore hinted even hinted at a sudden death, telling Entertainment Weekly fans will worry about Jack every time the mid-’90s era is shown.
“I’m not sure people are prepared for this,” Moore told EW of the upcoming death reveal. “I hope it at least satiates some of their need to know what, when, how, why with Jack…People are like, ‘OK, they’re this age, great. Now let me just watch the show, and I’ll be worried anytime that time period’s happening.'”
Jack had a relapse during that era
The Pearson patriarch’s struggles with drinking have been a recurring theme on This Is Us. While he quit hitting the bottle for a solid six or seven years, viewers saw Jack relapse when he downed Maker’s Mark on the rocks after a fight with his wife in the episode “Jack Pearson’s Son.” This Is Us executive producer Ken Olin told EW Jack’s drinking problem will be addressed in future episodes.
“The drinking, that’s another thing that will be dealt with by the end of the season — whether or not the drinking is, in fact, a symptom of a disease, that we’re dealing with real alcoholism,” Olin said. “Or we are dealing with some fundamental weakness on Jack’s part, meaning some of the fears or insecurities that he has, that he uses alcohol to self-medicate? But it certainly is a significant issue.”
— Hudson MIller (@Hudson_Miller15) February 15, 2017
Kate is the most affected by her father’s death
Twenty years later, all of the Pearson kids are still reeling from the death of their father, but it is clear that daughter Kate (Chrissy Metz) is the most deeply affected by it. Her memories of her father’s funeral even culminated in a chilling scream while she was at a weight loss camp.
— Meg(an) Vick (@MeggoInc) January 23, 2017
Kate almost seems to have some sort of guilt about her dad’s death (she can’t even bring herself to tell her fiancé the details), which makes it seem she could have been with him or involved in the events that led to his death and she feels guilty for surviving.
Milo Ventimiglia and Hannah Zeile shot a scene in a car
That’s right. This Is Us star Niles Fitch, who plays the teen version of Randall Pearson, posted an Instagram photo which shows that Jack and a teen Kate (Hannah Zeile) will have a scene together in a car in an upcoming episode. And it looks like just the two of them will be riding in the Pearson’s panel-covered station wagon. Could this scene be part of a season-ending cliffhanger?
A post shared by @nilesfitch on
No matter how Jack Pearson dies, Milo Ventimiglia said the story behind his untimely demise will be extremely painful for fans.
“It’s going to hurt,” the This Is Us star told Entertainment Tonight of Jack’s impending death. “It’s going to hurt real bad!”
This Is Us airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on NBC.
[Featured Image by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for DGA]