'This Is Us': Milo Ventimiglia says a 'weight lifted' after Jack's cause of death was revealed

Gibson Johns

Milo Ventimiglia was just as relieved as viewers were when "This Is Us" finally revealed how his character, Jack Pearson, died in the episode that aired after the Super Bowl last month.

During an exclusive interview with AOL Entertainment this week, the actor explained that he's happy to have the truth out in the open following over a year of lead-up.

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"The closer we got to it and knowing that, since the fifth episode where we found out that Jack was dead in the present day, everybody wanted to know -- to be able to tell that story was a bit of a weight lifted," Ventimiglia explained to us.

Considering how heavily teased Jack's death was, then, was the cast and crew of "This Is Us" ever worried that the ultimate reveal would feel anticlimactic? 

"It’s always a concern, but at the same time, creatively you can’t listen to the chatter out in the world, because everyone’s going to have a different version of what they want," he said. "All we could focus on was our version of it, and our version was that Jack goes back into the house. He doesn’t die from the fire, but he dies from complications due to smoke inhalation. It’s heartbreaking, but from what I hear, a lot of the audiences were saying that they were as hurt by the experience of that as any other experience dealing with Jack’s death."

Ventimiglia is also using the universal interest in the storyline to spread an important message that everyone needs to hear. In partnership with Duracell, the actor recorded a Daylight Saving PSA urging everyone to take an extra few minutes while changing their clocks to also change the batteries in their smoke detectors at home. In other words: Do what Jack Pearson didn't do.

"There’s a statistic where two thirds of all fire-related deaths are because of faulty equipment," he explained. "It’s the simplest thing in the world. And we all are reminded twice a year to change the clocks in our homes, so why not take the time to change the batteries [in our smoke detectors]? It’s just kind of a common sense thing. It’s a good reminder, and why not from Papa Pearson’s mouth?"

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Another concern that could come from such a highly-anticipated reveal is the one of, "Where does the show go from here?" But, though it's a question that fans were definitely asking after finding out how Jack ultimately died, it's not one that concerns Ventimiglia in the slightest. After all, "This Is Us" has only been on for two seasons -- there's a lot more of his character's life to mine.

"We’ve only known Jack for 36 hours -- a fraction of this man’s life!" Ventimiglia told us. "We learn that he was dead in the present day, and I reminded people, 'Let’s not focus on his death, rather, let’s focus on how the man lived.' There’s still a lot of life to see from this man and his family, his relationship with Rebecca and his kids. There’s plenty of story and family history to share."

As for the upcoming season finale, Ventimiglia was expectedly cryptic. In the trailer for the episode, which focuses on daughter Kate's present-day wedding, Jack unexpectedly shows up with grey hair, which prompted a slew of theories online that the actor is aware of, but doesn't encourage.

"I’ve seen some of those theories, and I thought they were pretty entertaining," he said with a laugh. "At the same time, people should just put down the theories and wait what we have for them on Tuesday night in the finale."

"This Is Us" airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. EST on NBC.

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