This Is Us fans witnessed the end of Jack Pearson's life in Sunday's heartbreaking episode, but did it also mark the end of Milo Ventimiglia's stint on the show?
The actor told The Hollywood Reporter following the show, which revealed that Jack died from a heart attack caused by smoke inhalation during the family's home fire, that he will still be a series regular this season and for the forseeable future.
"Oh, yeah, of course. I was never going to leave the show," the 40-year-old said.
Ventimiglia said This Is Us creator Dan Fogelman gave him an interesting high-level perspective of the series' storyline that allows Jack to continue as a regular figure, even after his death is revealed.
"A while back, Fogelman explained [the show] ... as a box of unmarked home movies and each week we're going to reach in and grab one and just tell that story," he said. "This was just one of those tapes, one of those moments where we are understanding a moment in this Pearson family, the loss of their father. That was just the story of the week that we were telling. There's still a lot more to go, and that means yes, I'm still around."
Ventimiglia cited other mysteries of the Pearson family as themes that will be explored in upcoming episodes, including details about Jack's brother Nicky and what life was like for the patriarch following his time away at war. His character is still an integral part in sharing these stories with viewers, but will there come a day when he is no longer a staple figure on the NBC drama?
"I don't know, and I don't worry about that so much. It's all a part of it, and I've always been someone in life that, if I have a purpose I'll be there, and if I don't, I guess I can move on to something else," Ventimiglia admitted.
While Sunday's post-Super Bowl episode was a gut-wrencher, Ventimiglia's co-star Mandy Moore revealed on NBC's Today that more tears are in store for Tuesday's follow-up show.
“I dare say, it’s even more heartbreaking,” she teased of the episode, which will immediately thrust her character, Rebecca Pearson, into the stresses of planning a funeral and learning to raise the triplets on her own.
This Is Us airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.