‘Manifest’ EP Jeff Rake Reveals What’s in Store for Passengers of Flight 282

Manifest - Josh Dallas, Jack Messina - MANIFEST --
Craig Blankenhorn/NBC/Warner Brothers

A plane with 191 passengers. Some severe turbulence. Five and a half missing years. Wait, what? That’s the jumping-off point for NBC’s Manifest, a new fall series following the perplexed survivors of Flight 828, which somehow takes off in 2013 and lands in 2018.

Their adjustment back into the world and the government’s investigation into the occurrence are just part of the story, says executive producer Jeff Rake. (Cast Away director Robert Zemeckis is also a producer, and Jack Rapke is an executive producer.) “There’s a procedural component as our survivors find themselves helping others [and law enforcement] with the benefit of some supernatural abilities that have been bestowed upon them.”

The passengers include siblings Ben (Josh Dallas) and Michaela (Melissa Roxburgh), who not only find some major changes among their loved ones — their mother has passed away, and Michaela’s boyfriend (J.R. Ramirez) has married someone else — but also start hearing mysterious voices that send them off to do seemingly good deeds.

Melissa Roxburgh and Josh Dallas in Manifest.

“There’s every possibility the voices cannot necessarily be trusted,” Rake teases. “That will make [these people] question everything that’s happening.” Add in some family drama, like Ben’s young son and fellow survivor, Cal (Jack Messina), whose leukemia may now be curable thanks to scientific advancement and, adds Rake, you’ve got “the emotional center of the show.”

While some viewers may be skeptical of a drama steeped in mystery and a potentially unsatisfying mythology, Rake insists he and his writers have a solid direction planned out for Manifest. “I have a road map that goes through not only the first season but seasons to come,” he says. “I know what the final episode is, hopefully, many seasons down the line.”

Manifest, Series Premiere, Monday, September 24, 10/9c, NBC

For more exclusive content from your favorite shows like Big Bang Theory, Supernatural, and more, pick up TV Guide Magazine’s Special Comic-Con Issue, on sale now. It’s an all-access SUPERFAN guide with 88 pages of behind-the scenes photos, scoops, and interviews.