Since the very first episode aired in late 2016, This Is Us has managed to consistently surprise and devastate its devout fanbase. That’s thanks, in large part, to the fact that the series has been built around a handful of well-kept secrets about the fate of its most beloved characters.
We were shocked to learn that Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) and Rebecca (Mandy Moore) were actually living 36 years ago, and that they were Kate (Chrissy Metz), Randall (Sterling K. Brown), and Kevin’s (Justin Hartley) parents. We felt betrayed when we learned that Rebecca had purposely kept Randall’s birth father, William (Ron Cephas Jones), out of his life. We couldn’t believe it when we realized that Rebecca had, at some point, married Jack’s best friend Miguel (Jon Huertas), and we were absolutely devastated when we found out that Jack died before the Big Three hit adulthood.
So far, though, we haven’t found out why or how Jack’s untimely demise came about. The This Is Us team has dropped some subtle — and sometimes not-so-subtle — clues throughout the course of Season 1. And fans have eagerly tried to piece them together to figure out what led to the death of the Pearson patriarch.
Some of the hypotheses are a bit out there, but others seem pretty plausible. Here are 10 fan theories about what happened to Jack on This Is Us.