We're starting to get a clearer picture of the mystery surrounding NBC's breakout hit, Manifest. The family drama, returning for Season 2 on Monday, Jan. 6, centers on the mystery surrounding a flight that suddenly re-emerged after having been missing for five and a half years.
In the first season, the plane's passengers, which include siblings Ben (Josh Dallas) and Michaela Stone (Melissa Roxburgh), return to grieving family members who have since moved on. As they and the rest of the confused civilians face a difficult adjustment back into everyday life, they quickly discover that they're all linked by a phenomenon known as the Calling, which appears in different ways, like a voice in their heads or an irresistible urge. Even more baffling, other missing people who weren't on the plane have started to emerge, suggesting that they all might be connected to something bigger than they could have ever imagined.
Things are about to get a lot more complicated in Season 2, with the passengers believing they are living on borrowed time after what happened to Griffin (Marc Menchaca), who died in the exact amount of time he had lost when he went missing. As the gang obsesses over unlocking the truth behind this proposed death date — and that stress is exacerbated by new faces who come into the fold — there are plenty of questions that need answering. As we gear up for the upcoming season, here's everything we know so far.
New episodes arrive in 2020. Mark your calendars: Manifest returns Monday, Jan. 6 at 10/9c on NBC.
The death date will play a huge role in Season 2. Griffin's shocking death at the end of Season 1 pushed the passengers of Flight 828 toward figuring out whether or not they only have five and a half years left to live — and if so, how they can prevent it. "It really sends them out on a detective mission, and so, Ben, Michaela and Saanvi (Parveen Kaur) are all super driven to try to solve this mystery," showrunner Jeff Rake told TV Guide.
"The death date's also really important on the emotional side of the show," he added, "because it forces everybody to ask the question, 'What would you do with your life if you really knew you had five years to live? What choices would you make about your relationships?' Those powerful, emotional questions really affect the relationship side of the story."
For Ben, the new season will be all about preserving his family and preparing for the worst while also struggling to come to grips with this impending date. "He's gonna start making preparations for his family, for the ones that are gonna be left behind but he's not gonna fully accept it. So that's gonna launch him on this feverish journey to find a way to stop that death date and also find an answer to what happened to them on that plane," Josh Dallas said.
A ton of new faces are dropping by. The Manifest family will expand this season to include Blue Bloods alum Yasha Jackson as Suzanne, a dean at Astoria University and Ben's ex-girlfriend, along with Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists' Garrett Wareing as TJ Morrison, a college freshman and fellow Flight 828 passenger whom Ben takes under his wing. Plus, as announced a New York Comic Con, we'll get to meet Captain Bowers, who may or may not be Michaela's new partner, and a "cool, edgy bartender" who's romantically interested in one of the show's leading men, and who may have ties to the hate group that left red Xs on passengers' houses in Season 1.
Saanvi's ex is also headed to the show in Season 2. We learned at NYCC that Manifest will introduce the person who was supposed to fly to Jamaica with Saanvi but left her broken-hearted.
"A lot of the other characters on the show have been dealing with the people that they lost, and Saanvi never really got a chance to come face to face with the person that she was in love with. And so, seeing that for the first time was really traumatic for Saanvi and really hard, and I think the audience is really gonna be intrigued to see what that relationship is like," Parveen Kaur explained.
TJ will share a special connection with Olive (Luna Blaise). TJ might be Ben's new pupil, but he will also become a huge part of Olive's life. "Olive caught a glimpse of TJ back in the airport five and a half years ago. She never forgot about him. But she was a little girl and he was an 18-year-old dude and now they're age-appropriate. He becomes a powerfully positive character in her life and then that story takes a surprising and dark turn in the middle of the season," Rake said.
Season 2 photos have arrived. NBC dropped the first official photos from the upcoming season, and Ben and Grace don't look too happy in them.
You'll still see plenty of Jared (J.R. Ramirez) and Zeke (Matt Long) next season. Jared and Zeke ended Season 1 in a scuffle that resulted in a gun going off and their fates left dangling in the air. Ramirez confirmed that regardless of their predicament, both characters will be present in Season 2 through flashbacks. "You'll see a [side] of Jared you haven't seen before in the sense that he definitely goes down this dark path that may not have to do anything with [Zeke and Michaela]," Ramirez said.
Ben and Grace (Athena Karkanis) will be stronger than ever. We still don't know if Danny (Daniel Sunjata) or Ben is the father of Grace's unborn child, and that certainly complicates Ben and Grace's marriage. Dallas confirmed that we'll learn whose baby it is in an "interesting and unexpected way." But regardless of the father's identity, that obstacle won't be enough to break up Ben and Grace.
"There's an unexpected mythological turn that's gonna create a surprising bond between the two of them," Rake teased. "We're going to discover that this a very resilient marriage and, notwithstanding all of the drama that we throw at them, the power of the love between them just kind of overcomes the odds."
Ben is finally getting a job. After searching without much luck throughout Season 1, Ben lands a gig as a professor in Season 2 thanks to some help from an old friend.
"He's been searching for a job for a while and it's been difficult because of the stigma of being a passenger on Flight 828. But he comes across an old colleague of his who may or may not have been an old flame of his," Dallas explained. However, this job might not be at all what Ben imagined. "Things turn a little bit dark unbeknownst to him for a long time at that school," he added.
Ben experiences something that changes his way of thinking. From the start, Ben has sought out rational answers to the questions surrounding Flight 828's disappearance and the Callings that have connected them. However, it looks like he'll open his mind to other possibilities next season.
"There are events that lead up to this that slowly start to shift his thinking," Dallas said. "By the time we get to Episode 8, there is something major that happens where Ben can't ignore things. He can't keep going on the same path that he's been going, because it's not working for him anymore. He can no longer ignore what is happening. He's gotta start looking at things differently in order to go forward and help find the answers to the mystery and to hopefully stop this death date."
New poster art has emerged. TV Guide has your exclusive first look at key art from the new season, which prominently features the core gang, including a very pregnant Grace holding her belly. Check out the image below.
Manifest returns for Season 2 on Monday, Jan. 6 at 10/9c on NBC.