This Is… going to be an emotional sophomore season.
“I don’t know how to feel,” Mandy Moore told PEOPLE as she wiped away tears after watching the episode for the first time with her castmates at PEOPLE’s screening in Los Angeles. “It was weird to watch it but I’m so glad we got to watch it together. It’s nice to know some piece of the puzzle … Just seeing what we saw there was enough to make anyone upset.”
Meanwhile, Milo Ventimiglia said in a Q&A following the premiere hosted by PEOPLE’s Editor-in-Chief Jess Cagle, that he is relieved that fans finally got a glimpse into what led to his character’s death.
“I’m glad we’ve revealed a little bit to everyone,” he explained. “I know people have been asking questions and I stay silent because there’s so much I can’t reveal but I’m glad they know at least a bit.”
And there’s plenty more to come!
Read below to learn what Moore and Ventimiglia — along with their costars and creator Dan Fogelman — teased about what to expect in season 2, including specific tear-jerking moments from upcoming episodes.
What to Expect About Jack’s Death:
After Jack (Ventimiglia) and Rebecca (Moore) end their separation and decide to deal with his alcoholism together, the episode cut to her driving up to a burnt house with bags of his possessions as firefighters surround the scene.
“That’s just a piece of the puzzle,” Moore told PEOPLE.
In fact, there are clues viewers might have missed: Kate is holding a dog, Randall has a girlfriend and Kevin has a broken leg leading up to the big monumental event.
“This was always the plan. We talked about the fire and what happened to Jack,” Fogelman shared with PEOPLE. “This is something we’ve had planned out since inception. We wanted to start this season providing a few answers while still leaving us a lot of room to explore what happens.”
Leading up to tonight’s episode, Ventimiglia admitted that he’s been asked about Jack’s death for far too long. “It gets confusing because they say, ‘How do you die? Not how does Jack die?’ ” the Gilmore Girls alum said to PEOPLE.
Adding, “I always wondered why is [Jack] this good? I think when Dan would talk about him, there is always a darker side. Seeing that cracks are not cracks but deeper wounds we see a bit more why he chooses to be good. That’s the stuff we’re going to unpack.”
What to Expect About Kate’s Singing:
Fogelman revealed to PEOPLE that Chrissy Metz will be showcasing her real singing voice on the NBC hit drama. “She’s awesome. She sings next week on the show and it’s pretty awesome,” he said.
And Sterling K. Brown couldn’t agree more with Fogelman. “Chrissy Metz is a beast,” the two-time Emmy winner shared with PEOPLE.
“We made her sound a little more tentative … We thought we had to make this a realistic situation for Kate,” Fogelman also explained. “She is a 37-year-old trying to break into a tough industry that people have been working their whole lives to be a part of. It’s not going to just happen overnight because she wants it to be. She’s going to have to work at it and that’s something that Kate’s willing to do.”
He even joked, “Season 4 when we run out of ideas it’s going to turn into a musical.”
Metz, who earned an Emmy nomination for playing Kate Pearson, is loving how she can combine her passion for acting and singing.
“Dan is writing my dream life. I enjoy singing very much,” she told PEOPLE.
What to Expect About Randall Wanting to Adopt:
“It’s fulfilling the circle of life,” Brown told PEOPLE. “To honor my parents that gave me a life. It also puts Randall firmly in the moment instead of looking towards the future.”
But the process of adopting another member to their family may bring stress to the couple’s relationship, specifically after the death of Randall’s biological father, William.
“It’s a way you haven’t seen them before,” Watson said to PEOPLE about Randall and Beth’s marriage. “There were times when I was questioning myself, ‘Is this Beth?’ They’re on two very different sides. I learned that she wants to honor William too. It means something to her to honor him as well.”
And Moore can’t wait to find out why she’s “obsessed with Beth” in season 2.
“I want you to know everything about her. There’s an episode coming up that’s just ‘Ohhh,’ ” she said to PEOPLE. “I want to know everything about [Beth]. There’s a really good episode that we just finishing shooting. I’m captivated.”
What to Expect About Kevin:
Justin Hartley‘s character, Kevin Pearson, has landed a starring role in a new Ron Howard-directed film, and is in a committed relationship with his high school sweetheart.
“This is just the way things work. He was a man-child when we found him but he has come closer to what he wants to,” Hartley told PEOPLE.
Kevin’s big acting gig will also introduce viewers to Sylvester Stallone‘s big cameo.
“He walks into a room and he’s Sylvester Stallone. He’s a movie star,” Hartley teased. “He has this ability to disarm everyone in the room and when he starts talking to you, he’s like a guy. He’s a master and makes everyone laugh. As soon as he’s gone, you miss him.”
Brown couldn’t be happier for Kevin’s story arc this season.
“He’s got this love in his life, this burgeoning career and trying to balance both those things at the same time. I feel like Kev sometimes,” he confessed.
But look forward to a twist, according to Fogelman.
“Justin’s story is not going to go where you think. It is really going to knock people’s socks off,” he foreshadowed.
What to Expect About Kate and Rebecca’s Mother-Daughter Relationship:
It’s no secret that Kate has always been daddy’s little girl. (She has her late father’s urn at her apartment.) While fans will learn more about Jack’s death and how the loss will impact The Big Three, Rebecca may have a harder time connecting with her only daughter.
“They’re never quite on the same page. We get a closer look in the next episode. It’s pretty heartbreaking,” Moore told PEOPLE.
What to Expect About Toby:
In the premiere episode, Chris Sullivan’s character Toby still has yet to find his place in Kevin and Kate’s close relationship. But fans and viewers will get to learn more about Toby’s own family dynamic as his mother will be introduced.
“Toby has a lot going on with his mom. A lot going on we don’t know about,” Sullivan shared with PEOPLE.
“There’s a lot going on. There’s a lot under there we don’t know about,” said Sullivan’s TV fiancée Metz.
This Is Us airs at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.
- Reporting by PATRICK GOMEZ
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