Showrunner says 'Manifest' will take 'really dark turn' in Season 2

"Manifest," starring Melissa Roxburgh (L) and Josh Dallas, returns for a second season on NBC Monday. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
1 of 3 | "Manifest," starring Melissa Roxburgh (L) and Josh Dallas, returns for a second season on NBC Monday. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

NEW YORK, Jan. 6 (UPI) -- Jeff Rake said Manifest will answer some questions right away when it returns for a second season on NBC Monday, but the showrunner also warned that new episodes of his serialized mystery will venture into dark and twisty territory.

"More will be revealed," Rake recently told reporters at New York Comic Con.


"There will be soapy turns, there will be procedural turns, there will be mythological turns," he added. "We take a really dark turn in the middle of Season 2, and that's something that is kind of a slow burn from the season premiere through Episode 7. There are a couple of new characters associated with that."

The sci-fi drama follows members of the Stone family as they and their fellow passengers reach their destination more than five years after their airplane vanished.

Presuming them dead, their loved ones move on without them, although little time passed for the missing.


At the end of Season 1, a gun is fired, possibly wounding or killing one of three main characters.

It was also revealed that all of the passengers -- many of whom returned with extraordinary abilities -- are destined to die on June 2, 2024.

"Someone got shot. The audience will find out right away. You'll know, literally, two minutes into the season premiere," Rake said. "There are long-lasting consequences that play out through the season. I think people will be surprised. I follow all the fan forums and I see that it's a pretty even split, so probably two-thirds of the audience will be surprised."

Unpacking a story over several months on television -- as opposed to releasing it all at once on a streaming service -- has its advantages, particularly how it allows viewers to savor and process every moment.

"There is something fun about watching the world anticipate from week to week," Rake said, noting when viewers binge a season: "That's it. In the blink of an eye, you are waiting for a year [for more].

"There is something nice in that this will be a 13-week journey, whether you like it or not. It helps a puzzle show to be spread out over time because it forces people to wonder and speculate and debate with each other."


Fans also can expect the introduction of a few new foils and antagonists for the established characters in the upcoming episodes.

"The only downside to having a terrific, broad-based ensemble is it is a challenge to service everyone's story," Rake said.

"What happened in Season 1 and what will continue to happen in Season 2 is that certain episodes are heavy on certain characters and light on other characters. We will meet a few new characters in Season 2, but no one who rises to the level where they are taking an equal amount of story as our baseline series regulars."

Flashbacks will show life for everyone before the flight, as well as what happened to those left behind during the time the passengers were missing.

"There's a big surprise about Ben's wife, Grace, that I think everyone will be excited about. Grace was kind of beat up on in the Twittersphere," said Rake, referring to how Ben Stone (Josh Dallas) came home and discovered Grace had remarried and his daughter now was significantly older than her twin brother, who was on the plane.

"Grace is an outsider. She wasn't on the airplane, and so she got a lot of haters during Season 1. Athina Karkanis -- who is so lovely and the best actress -- and I would joke about it. I think that a lot of people are going to come around to Grace in Season 2," Rake said.


The Zoo and Expanse actress said Manifest Season 2 will continue to be a true family drama despite its supernatural circumstances.

"The driver of the second season really for all of the characters is the death date and finding a way to beat it and outrun the Grim Reaper," Karkanis said.

"The family is very united in that cause, although there are significant speed bumps and hiccups along the way," she said. "There are threats to the safety of the children -- all of them -- and Olive [Luna Blaise] has a whole crazy thing that she goes down, a bit of a spiral and that's a bit of a challenge for the family."

"Things are complicated," Dallas agreed. "It's all about preservation and preserving the things that Ben holds dear in his life with this idea he might die. He's a very practical thinker, so he's going to make plans and start doing things to prepare for that death date, not only for him, but for his family."

Ben will keep trying to change their fates, however.

"He will continue pushing forward and go on this dogged, all-consuming journey of trying to stop the death date and also figure out the mystery of why they were on [Flight] 828," Dallas said.


"Grace is pregnant. We don't know whose baby it is. It could be Danny's it could be Ben's. That's an issue. The death date is an issue because now possibly Ben might not live as long as he thought. He might not have the amount of time that he thought he would have with his family after already missing 5½ years and now a new baby, which he could miss out on."

Ben and his sister Michaela, played by Melissa Roxburgh, put tremendous pressure on themselves to act as leaders for their family and the other passengers.

"That burden, for Ben in particular, is self-inflicted and gets very, very heavy and I think it comes to a point where it just breaks," said Dallas, who is best known for his work in Once Upon a Time.

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