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SYFY WIRE Manifest

Manifest showrunner explains mind-bending finale, teases plans for S3

By Jacob Oller

Manifest, the NBC sci-fi/mystery show with its paranormal plane flight and its cadre of temporally afflicted passengers, had two central tenets it was focused on in its second season: the death date and whether Flight 828 was a unique incident. Nevermind all the Callings and religious implications popping up throughout the sophomore run. But as the show aired its bonkers finale Monday night, full of timely lightning and magical revitalizations, all other questions dropped off the face of the planet with its final reveal.

**Spoilers for Manifest's S2 finale follow**

Apparently Montego Airways’ Flight 828 crashed? And was at the bottom of the ocean? Like, sure there weren't any bodies under the ice after a bunch of criminals sank into the frozen drink, but that pales in comparison to the reveal that the central premise's plane was found underwater. What the heck does it all mean?

Thankfully, showrunner Jeff Rake sat down with TVLine to hash out all the weirdness. That dredging scene, which was shot "out on the freezing water somewhere just south of Coney Island," has been in the works for "a long time," Rake confirmed. Rake's also said that his hopes are for the show to run for six seasons, so he's got plenty of machinations in the works. Like how, exactly, is this plane in two places at once? Well, it can't be, right? Rake explains that "if materials testing proves that that is, in fact, the 'identical' tail fin, it’s a metaphysical impossibility."

"We saw that plane land in New York. We saw that plane blow up on the tarmac at the end of the pilot. So how can a plane have landed and been exploded and then also be found at the bottom of the ocean?" he asks. "Once the entire world finds out about this tail fin, that’s going to re-trigger the global scrutiny and paranoia about Flight 828 and its passengers." Basically, are these passengers and all their mystical mumbo-jumbo real? Or just faking? It's a global weirdo conspiracy that's flames may be fanned by this doppelganger plane tail.

"Does this mean that the passengers are not the passengers? And if they’re not the passengers, who are they?" Rake asks. "That’s going to be a season-long, science-based, science meets mythology investigation. For those who have been feeling that the episodes have become a little science-light or investigation-light, they have a lot of good material coming down the pike."

That sounds like Rake is looking to do some dimension-splitting, alternate timeline, wormhole kinda stuff — maybe multiple versions of the same passengers of the same flight, with different outcomes? Rake also teased plenty of new characters coming if the show gets a Season 3 — one of whom will be "one of the more important characters in our series" — with many of them...morally compromised.

"As I like to say to the writers’ room and to my producer and executive friends in L.A., if you had pretty good reason to believe that you may only have four short years to live, what would you do with those years? A lot of people would be checking off their bucket list," said the showrunner. "A lot of people would be trying to be heroes, to be benevolent, to be Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. But not everybody, right? What about the nihilists? What about the vengeance seekers? What about the ruthless? What about the greedy? We haven’t even scratched the surface of that segment of the passenger population, and that’s going to take us into a whole new phase of Manifest."

NBC has not yet announced whether Manifest will get a third season.