This Is Us fans have a lot of theories about what happened to Jack Pearson’s (Milo Ventimiglia) brother, Nicky, and almost all of them end with the distraught war veteran dying in Vietnam in the early 1970s. But in a new interview on the Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon, This Is Us actor Michael Angarano admitted that there is some serious speculation about exactly what happened to his character—and if he died at all.
Angarano revealed that his own family members are now very interested in his everyday life because even they wonder if he’s filming scenes “for another era” on the time-jumping NBC drama. If Nicky Pearson is indeed dead, Michael Angarano would have no need to sit down for aging makeup like many of the other stars on This Is Us.
In addition, some fans noted Angarano’s facial expressions during Fallon’s rundown of fan theories about Nicky. As PopSugar notes, Michael Angarano tried to keep a poker face when asked if Nicky fathered a child in Vietnam or if his brother Jack somehow killed him. When the late-night host mentioned the theory that Nicky Pearson is still alive in the present day, Angarano seemed to be trying even harder to keep a neutral face, as you can see in the video below.
Even before Michael Angarano’s interview, there was widespread speculation that Nicky Pearson isn’t actually dead and that his brother Jack was holding onto a painful secret regarding what happened to him. According to Bustle, some fans wonder when Jack is talking about his brother’s “death” if he means it in the literal sense, or did the brothers perhaps have a falling out in which Nicky cut off all ties and is “dead” to Jack in that way.
Indeed, even Angarano admits Nicky is not the same man he was when he ditched plans to hide out in Canada and headed to Vietnam instead.
“He’s on a course, and it might be too late by the time Jack has gotten there already,” Angarano told Entertainment Weekly. “There’s one thing for sure — the man that [Jack] sees at the end of [the ‘Vietnam’] episode is not his brother.”
It is no secret that whatever happened to Nicky Pearson haunted his brother Jack for the rest of his life. In an interview with People TV, Michael Angarano advised fans that they “might want to go to Costco” to get a case of tissues to prepare for the gut-wrenching storyline. Consider yourself warned.
This Is Us airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on NBC.