This Is Us answered a lot of burning questions about Jack Pearson’s death—literally—at the end of season 2, and now the stars of the NBC drama are happy to move past that storyline for the show’s upcoming third season. In a new interview posted by The Loop, This Is Us actress Hannah Zeile, who plays teen Kate Pearson on the show, said the scenes surrounding Jack Pearson’s (Milo Ventimiglia) death were the hardest to shoot last season, and he felt a sense of relief once it was all done.
“It was really emotional and somber on set,” Zeile said of her TV dad’s death scene in the “Super Bowl Sunday” episode.
“It was definitely a tough [day]. There was like that sequence of three episodes, consisting of his death and the funeral and the aftermath. Once those were all finished filming we kind of looked at each other and took a big sigh and said, ‘Well that was that.’ That was intense for sure.”
Zeile added that there was a “relief in a sense” after the episode aired because Jack’s cause of death—a heart attack due to smoke inhalation after saving his family from a house fire— was the most asked question about This Is Us for nearly two years.
“I don’t have to deflect all those questions now that it’s out in the open,” the This Is Us star said. “But it’s so funny. That was the most asked question and then when the episode came out everyone was like, ‘Nooo we didn’t want this!'”
Zeile’s teen TV brother, Niles Fitch, who plays 17-year-old Randall Pearson on the show, also weighed in on moving past Papa Pearson’s 1990s death. Niles admitted he is happy he no longer has to keep This Is Us’ biggest storyline secret.
“I’m glad I don’t have to hide it from my grandma anymore,” Fitch told The Loop.
And Logan Shroyer, who plays 17-year-old Kevin Pearson on This Is Us, revealed that his family got on his case for not giving them the scoop ahead of “Super Bowl Sunday.”
“My family got so mad at me, like, ‘You can tell me, come on!'” the This Is Us star said. “But I can’t. I signed extra contracts for that one. So it’s definitely a bit of a relief.”
While the cast is ready to move forward—and backward, given This Is Us’ time-jumping format—Jack Pearson’s death episode has been submitted for consideration for an Emmy Award so there is still plenty of life to “Super Bowl Sunday.” In a panel discussion moderated by Variety, Mandy Moore revealed that she thought Ventimiglia had left the set for the day when she went to shoot the scene in which her character, Rebecca Pearson, is told her husband Jack passed away.
“I walked into the room for the first time and didn’t expect him to be lying on the bed,” Moore said. “I had mentally prepared myself for an empty hospital bed, and just having to get to that place myself and as soon as I walked in and saw him it was just so unexpected.”
As for the actual house fire, which was filmed amid real raging flames, Milo Ventimiglia revealed that it was “one of the most intense stunts” he has ever done as he dealt with the fire and “the emotion that goes along with it.”
Take a look at the video below to see the This Is Us teens’ emotional goodbye to Jack Pearson.
This Is Us returns to NBC this fall.