When NBC’s mega-hit This Is Us returns for its much-anticipated second season, the show will pick up in the present on the big three’s 37th birthday, while in the past it will start the day after Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) and Rebecca’s (Mandy Moore) big fight, said Dan Fogelman, the show’s creator and executive producer at the Television Critics Association summer press tour on Thursday.
The show’s first episode kicked off on Kevin’s (Justin Hartley), Kate’s (Chrissy Metz) and Randall’s (Sterling K. Brown) 36th birthday.
“A little time has passed and we are catching up with Randall and Beth on their adoption, Kate on her singing career and Kevin on his film and working on his romantic relationship with his ex-wife,” said Fogelman.
Speaking of Kevin’s film, which Ron Howard is producing in the show, Sylvester Stallone will appear in a guest arc, said Fogelman. Stallone will play Kevin’s co-star and father figure in the movie he’s shooting.
Regarding fans’ burning question of when family patriarch Jack dies, Fogelman said season two will bring clarity.
“If when Jack dies is a question that is haunting people, in the second season they will get all the answers they need and want,” he said.
Asked whether he ever regrets committing early to kill off the Jack character, a role for which Ventimiglia is nominated for an Emmy, Fogelman said “it has come up."
“But that event is what has caused this family to be what it is. There’s a lot of healing to be done.”
Fogelman says he and his writing staff are aware of all the online conversation the show generates, but they have their stories mapped out and they stick to them.
“The internet changes you in a way,” Fogelman said. “The conversation changes quickly and intensely for a show that's become popular. We try not to read too much. We have a plan and we have not strayed from the plan. We know we are treading on human emotions, but it’s also fun to have plot, intrigue and mystery.”
This Is Us, which is nominated for 11 Emmys including best drama, returns Tuesday, Sept. 26 at 9 p.m.