So many unanswered questions. NBC canceled Manifest despite its shocking season 3 finale cliffhanger. Luckily, Netflix saved the day, ordering a fourth and final season, thanks to a new crop of fans desperate to find out what happened to Flight 828.
The network pulled the plug on Manifest in June 2021, days after the two-part finale aired. Viewers hoping that the episode would wrap up loose ends in the story were disappointed, as even more twists were introduced into the series’ expansive landscape.
Grace (Athena Karkanis) — spoiler alert — seemingly died after an altercation with Angelina (Holly Taylor) as the 828 passenger abducted Grace and Ben’s (Josh Dallas) baby, Eden. Meanwhile, the couple’s son, Cal (Jack Messina), returned in the form of a teenager (Ty Doran) after going missing when he touched the plane’s tailfin. Plus, the love triangle between Michaela (Melissa Roxburgh), Zeke (Matt Long) and Jared (J.R. Ramirez) seemed to be reignited by old jealousies.
In tandem with the show’s cancellation, seasons 1 and 2 made their debut on Netflix, taking up a lengthy stay in the streaming platform’s Top 10 list. As new viewers discovered the series, they were saddened to learn of its demise, which ramped up conversations about a season 4 renewal.
Creator Jeff Rake, who initially sold the concept to NBC for six seasons that were already mapped out, continued to advocate for the show’s continuation as conversations broke down about a renewal.
“We’re trying to find a way to conclude the series,” the writer tweeted in June 2021. “Could take a week, a month, a year. But we’re not giving up. You deserve an end to the story.”
One way Rake hoped to give fans what they wanted was in the form of a movie. “I had giant cliffhangers in the season 3 finale, so I had every intention to have three more seasons to slow-burn the back half of the story,” he told Entertainment Weekly. “I’m reading the writing on the wall that we may not find a home for three more seasons of the show, so I moved to plan B: Some platform would bankroll a feature or a movie finale, like we saw with Timeless, Firefly and Deadwood. I just need a modest budget to tell the story. I am personally sketching out how to consolidate the back half of the series into a much more streamlined, cut-to-the-chase two-hour finale that would distill all of the hanging chads of the series. That’s where my head is at.”
However, news broke in July 2021 that NBC and Netflix were once again in talks with the show’s studio, Warner Bros. TV, about a possible fourth season. Netflix announced their deal for a 20-episode final season in August 2021. While Rake won’t get to see his six-season vision come to life, he will get the chance to answer all the mysteries of Flight 828 in the super-sized final chapter.
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