This Is Us fans have been in a frenzy ever since a promo for the season finale of the show was released featuring Milo Ventimiglia as an older version of Jack Pearson. The promo (via YouTube) for the Season 2 finale, “The Wedding,” shows Jack Pearson in the present day, sporting gray hair and glasses, just in time for his daughter Kate’s (Chrissy Metz) wedding. In the clip, Jack looks at his widow Rebecca (Mandy Moore) and says, “Where’d the time go, Bec?”
Now, This Is Us producer Isaac Aptaker wants to set the record straight to make sure fans know upfront that there will be no wacky twist to accompany old man Jack’s surprise cameo. In an interview with Variety, Aptaker says the Pearson family wedding, which takes place at the clan’s vacation cabin, will offer a glimpse of “what could have been.”
Aptaker acknowledged the look at a present-day Jack but made it clear the show is not doing any “b.s. where Jack has secretly survived.”
Aptaker told Variety, “We’re not playing any games, but I will say that seeing him was one of the most visceral punches that I think we ever had. It’s so powerful and poignant and haunting and tragic all at once.”
Many This Is Us fans have speculated as to why Jack Pearson, who died in 1998, is shown as an old man in “The Wedding” episode set in 2018. Some fans think it is a dream sequence, while others hope Jack’s death itself was a bad dream. Aptaker told Variety the goal for the This Is Us season finale was to show how the Pearson family can balance their tragic past with hope for a happy future.
“It’s about how a family can experience an incredibly, incredibly tragic loss and still fight through it and move forward and find happiness and joy,” the This Is Us executive producer said.
“They can remember the man they lost and still live the lives he would have wanted them to live — lives that just aren’t about grieving him.”
This Is Us star Milo Ventimiglia recently weighed in on his character’s cameo as an old man. In a Today show interview with Megyn Kelly, Milo praised the This Is Us writers for creating such a beautiful season-ending moment for fans of the series.
“Again, in true Dan Fogelman [fashion], as well as the rest of our writers — we have the most amazing writers on our crew — they have built this beautiful idea of giving the audience an aged version of Jack. Even though we saw Jack pass, it doesn’t mean that I, Milo, will leave the show. There’s no Ned Stark happening, nothing like that,” the This Is Us star said.
One year ago, This Is Us producers dealt with a bit of unexpected backlash after the Season 1 finale left viewers hanging with a scene about Jack and Rebecca’s decision to take some time apart after a blowout fight. Producers banked on the fact that fans would care more about the separation storyline than the story behind Jack’s untimely death, so this time around, it sounds like there will be no fake-outs.
You can check out the promo for the This Is Us Season 2 finale, “The Wedding,” below.
The This Is Us finale airs Tuesday, March 13 at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.