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Melissa Roxburgh as Michaela Stone, Josh Dallas as Ben Stone

NYCC 2018: Manifest panel teases 'pivotal' new characters and more supernatural twists

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Oct 6, 2018, 7:16 PM EDT (Updated)

Manifest — NBC’s new, plane-based, and Lost-esque paranormal drama — screened some new footage at NYCC, giving fans another taste of the mystery. The series (which premiered on Sept. 24) chronicles the weirdness surrounding Montego Air Flight 828, which disappeared and reappeared in what was only a moment for those on board, but five years for those on the ground.

The show dropped a sizzle reel with all-new footage at NBC's NYCC panel today. Creator Jeff Rake was joined by stars Melissa Roxburgh and Josh Dallas, who dished on the trajectory of its — still-limited — series order, stating: "This initial order of 13 [episodes] is building towards a really significant card turn."

**SPOILER WARNING: There are spoilers for Manifest taking flight below!**

Said turn has already started to take shape in Episode 2, which escalated the show’s supernatural implications beyond its initial premise, revealing that the Flight 858ers have emerged from their experience with a psychic ability of sorts in the form a voice — collectively heard by the survivors — that cryptically points them towards various wrongs that need to be righted. However, the subsequent psychic-compelled good-Samaritan acts have led to the survivors being methodically targeted by a mysterious shadowy figure.

Perhaps the biggest takeaway from the panel centers on Episode 7, which will mark the debut of a new character, a female academic or scientist, who was also on the fateful flight and has some theories on the voice that they are all hearing. Intriguingly, Rake says that you’ll be able to glimpse said character in the episode leading up to her proper debut. That's all we know.

Jumping back to Episode 5, Rake teases a flashback episode focused on the lives of the families of Flight 828 in the five-and-and-a-half year length of their disappearance.

Episode 9 will see yet another “pivotal” female character debut. The episode will also provide flashbacks to the incident in question, chronicling the supernatural show's inciting incident through the eyes of a small group of unaccounted passengers, seemingly similar to when Lost expanded its roster in Season 2 by introducing the heretofore missing passengers who were separated in the tail section of the plane during its fateful crash.

Episode 12 will introduce yet another new character who we will learn about in Episode 13, which will showcase a revelation that Rake claims will "change everything."

...Getting back to the present state of the series, which heads into Episode 3 this Monday: Not all the drama on Manifest is of the supernatural variety. Josh Dallas’s Ben Stone — and terminally-ill son Cal — came home to a wife, Grace, and a now-teenage daughter, Olive. However, Grace (Athena Karkanis) — who thought she was a widow for five years — has been hiding a mystery man in her life; something that Ben only just found out in Episode 2. As Dallas explains: "We're going to meet that person soon."

As for Flight 828er and maverick cancer researcher Saanvi Bahl (Parveen Kaur), it seems the she’ll spend the next episodes running tests on herself and the others, looking to uncover what Rake calls, "viable scientific theories about what happened to them."

It certainly sounds like Manifest — like the often-compared Lost — is a series with an ambitious trajectory; one that’s being tightly kept. Of course, with Jeff Rake (The Tomorrow People) joined by executive producers like Robert Zemeckis (Back to the Future Trilogy), Jack Rapke (Cast Away), and Jackie Levine (Flight), it’s not hard to discern the show’s genre influences.

Manifest airs on NBC Monday nights at 10/9c.

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