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‘This Is Us’ star Milo Ventimiglia wants us to focus on ‘how Jack lived, not how he died’

‘This Is Us’ showrunners promise fewer tears in Season 2.

This Is Us left us with more questions than answers in its emotional Season 1 finale — we still don’t know how or when Jack dies, or why Kate blames herself for her dad’s fate — but the stars and executive producers were on hand in Hollywood Tuesday night to give us some hints about what to expect in Season 2.

Series creator Dan Fogelman and Sterling K. Brown were both out of town working on feature films, so stars Mandy Moore, Milo Ventimiglia, Justin Hartley, Chrissy Metz, Susan Kelechi Watson, Ron Cephas Jones, Chris Sullivan and the actors who play the younger versions of Kevin, Kate and Randall, attended the event, which featured a screening of the finale and an extended Q&A.

The panel featured the adult cast members and the finale writers Isaac Aptiker and Elizabeth Berger, who have been named co-showrunners for Season 2.

Image: NBC

The cast of ‘This Is Us’

Here’s what we learned during the Q&A:

— The cast loves and supports each other in real life just as much as they do on screen. During the emotional Jack/Rebecca fight scene in the season finale, both Metz and Watson were on set to watch Ventimiglia and Moore work and to offer emotional support. Brown also stopped by during rehearsal.

— Both Ventimiglia and Moore were excited to shoot the tough scene as Fogelman had hyped it to them in advance, telling them how he wanted to shoot it in one take. Ventimiglia said, "I looked forward to going down that deep, dark path."

— Aptiker and Berger talked to Fogelman about the overabundance of tears in Season 1. The three agreed they want more lighter moments next season.

— We’ll see more of Kate’s passion for singing in Season 2. Moore suggested, "Maybe a mother/daughter duet?"

— Metz says there might be wedding bells in store for Kate and Toby in Season 2.

— It’s not all doom and gloom for Jack and Rebecca after their emotional split; Aptiker and Berger previewed that we can look forward to more of the couple’s early relationship next season: "the honeymoon period."

— Ventimiglia is a father figure on set and off. Watson shared that her nickname for Ventimiglia is "Papa Bear" because he’s always looking out for everyone. Moore chimed in, "I thought I was a nice person until I met Milo. He knew everyone’s name by day two on the set!"

— Peppered with questions about the circumstances around Jack’s death, Ventimiglia would only say, "Let’s focus on how Jack lived, not how or when he died." Sullivan joked, "We’ll stretch out the reveal over seven or eight seasons and call it ‘How I Killed Your Father.’"

— The blooper we’d love to see: as Moore and Brown were shooting Rebecca’s emotional apology to Randall in the "Memphis" episode, a bird pooped on her head. Ever the gentleman, Brown gently took her hands and told her, "A bird released on your head."

NBC has given This Is Us a two season renewal, so stock up on tissues now.

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