This Is Us stars Milo Ventimiglia and Justin Hartley woo at C2E2


It may never happen on screen, but at C2E2 last weekend, fans got to see Jack Pearson reunited with his son Kevin, as an adult.

It was a mystery we wanted — but really didn’t want — to solve: how did Jack Pearson die on This Is Us?

As it turns out, it wasn’t the fire itself — though Ventimiglia admitted that filming the scene was a bit terrifying. In fact, it was the smoke inhalation-induced heart attack. At least, that’s the official cause of death. For many fans, the blame still falls on the slow-cooker.

The good news is, it’s only a TV show, and Milo Ventimiglia himself is alive and well. While the death is a sore spot for fans, he was happy to talk about it at C2E2 last weekend.

Justin Hartley (L) and Milo Ventimiglia (R) of NBC’s This Is Us discuss filming the fire at the Pearson house while at C2E2 2018. Photo: Danielle Ortiz

Ventimiglia was accompanied by his on-screen son, Justin Hartley. For Hartley, it was a hometown visit —  he’s originally from Knoxville, IL, just a few hours west of Chicago.

Though the two actors rarely have scenes together, the father/son dynamic is still there. Hartley even joked that Ventimiglia sends him a text every morning that says “You’re grounded, I love you” in reference to the note that Jack Pearson left for Kevin before the fire started (*sob* that he never saw).

According to the actors, that familial bond extends through the entire cast. Ventimiglia marveled at how, for the most part, they’re constantly connected to one another. Even on the plane to Chicago, both he and Hartley were having separate conversations with Sterling K. Brown.

With that warm and fuzzy moment, the emotions really started flowing through the panel. It’s kind of hard to not get emotional when it comes to the Pearsons. Apparently, that’s true for the actors too.

Both Hartley and Ventimiglia praised Dan Fogelman’s writing, saying that it’s easy to bring out the emotions they need. All they have to do is believe the words their characters are saying — and that’s not difficult.

Of course, the feels are never stronger than when Jack Pearson is being, well, Jack Pearson. His romantic gestures and dad talks have become iconic. Fans were even treated to a real-life Jack Pearson moment when Ventimiglia gave some sage advice to an audience member after an odd request.

Hartley could tell it was coming, broadly smiling as he warned the audience how good it would be.

The young man had stepped up to the mic — on behalf of a friend — to ask Ventimiglia and Hartley if they would take off their shirts. After a brief awkward pause, Ventimiglia interjected. He noted that while the guest’s bravery was admirable, the request itself was out of place.

He added that, especially in the current social climate, men need to step up. “At this moment in our world, we as men need to represent good,” Ventimiglia said, earning huge cheers from the crowd.

Jack Pearson everybody. Hopefully, when the show returns, we’ll get more on how Jack Pearson became the way he is. As for Kevin, has he finally hit rock bottom? “I hope so,” Hartley said.

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NBC has not announced an official premiere date for This Is Us season 3. But Hartley and Ventimiglia teased it’s not one to be missed.