By Ani Bundel
The Warner Brothers panel brought the surprise hit of the 2018-2019 TV season, Manifest, to New York Comic Con. The show, which is a surprising mix of Lost meets CSI meets The X-Files meets This Is Us, managed to tick so many boxes of broadcast shows, it had something for everybody. (My personal summary of the show is “What if Lost, but Found?”) The show also ended on a massive cliffhanger, where a gun goes off and no one knows who — if anyone — was shot.
The panel opened with a sizzle reel summing up the major events of the first season, before hinting at what’s coming in the second season. But the real news was that the show finally confirmed what fans had suspected: The show is being held until the mid-season, with a premiere in January of 2020. (No exact date was given, but my guess would be the second week of January, which is NBC’s usual mid-season premiere block.)
The session itself was a bit on the frustrating side. With the series not coming back for months yet, and the sizzle reel edited to give very little away, there wasn’t much the panel could talk about. The entire cast showed up (Melissa Roxburgh, Josh Dallas, Athena Karkanis, J.R. Ramirez, Luna Blaise, Jack Messina, Parveen Kaur, and Matt Long) along with the showrunner Jeff Rake. But even with so many faces to ask questions of, most of them had to be brick walls.
That being said, Rake did answer one question that had been on my mind since I started covering the series last year. The show begins in April of 2013 and jumps to November of 2018. In five and a half years, there are tons of changes in the world, the biggest of which is the presidency. After the moderator pointed out that Trump’s run and win all happened while they were gone, Rake admitted the show had initially planned to address it, but it was cut since they didn’t want to inject politics into an already heavy series.
That being said, Rake did reveal that the second season will be a step forward in his planned, six-season, “Science vs. Religion” exploration. With the plane having unexpectedly moved through time five-and-a-half years, Dallas’ character Ben Stone is desperate to find answers all season. Moreover, the “death date” introduced at the end of the season (that the passengers will die five-and-a-half years from the moment the plane reappeared) will hang over the entire season as well.
Also, many new characters will turn up this season. There’s TJ, a college student who is in Ben Stone’s class, who finds himself wrapped up in a murder case Michaela (Roxburgh) is investigating. He also gets involved in a friendship with Stone’s daughter Olive (Blaise). In short, he’s a significant face fans will be meeting. Rake also said that there would be several passengers introduced over the season, as well as those who have undergone the same phenomenon, just not on the plane. The Season 2 finale will add a massive group of characters who will “blow the mystery wide open.”
Manifest comes back to NBC in January of 2020.