'Manifest' creator Jeff Rake says the events of first season are "fairly compressed"
With the first season limiting itself to just nine episodes before Fall, Rake has some quick winding up to do.
NBC's 'Manifest' has once again broken all records for the channel by tying up with 'This Is Us' to gain the highest viewership in its second week, and with the fifth episode revealing some undefined secrets, creator Jeff Rake has stated that the incidents in the show will take place within three weeks of Montego Ari Flight 828's return after five years.
'Manifest' follows the story of the passengers who were presumed dead when Flight 828 went missing in 2013 and landed back only in 2018.
In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, right before the fifth episode aired on Monday (October 22), Rake stated, "The calendar of season one is fairly compressed." The incidents detailed in the first nine episodes are limited within the first three weeks of the plane's arrival. However, when the series continues in January, Rake said the events of episode 10 will take place almost 10 days after the events that end episode 9.
"It'll only be a matter of probably two weeks. So season one all transpires, basically, within six weeks of return. You can expect a greater passage of time when we come back for our [not yet ordered] second season."
However, other than being limited to nine episodes during the fall, before the show returns in January, Rake has mentioned that the only other obstacle which the director/producer will face is the real-life time lapse.
With child actor Jack Messina (who plays Cal) coming of age, Rake might be required to "bank footage right now to come back to down the line".
He explained, "One of the storytelling strategies we've been adhering to, and hope to adhere to, is to marry flashback elements — specifically things that happened on or around the plane — to events that are happening in real time."
With the clock ticking around the age of the young actor, it might soon get difficult for the director to skip back and forth with the incidents on the plane, as Messina will soon be much older to play the 10-year-old Cal anymore. However, Rake also considers it to be an opportunity for some organic storytelling. He is hopeful that "we have more time with Jack embodying the idea of a 10-year-old. But when we come back in season two, it'll be organic to our storytelling that he's gotten bigger and older."
The fifth episode has proved that Cal holds a significant place in the story since he is the only one who experiences the first calling.
Stating that the fifth episode is supposed to focus on Cal and his abilities to foresee the future, Rake explained that it was Cal who is "the first passenger to experience a calling." He further asserted, "In our mind, it is something Cal was specifically and singularly meant to experience. I would think about it in terms of something that was intended for Cal's eyes only."
Rake indicated that the visual towards the end of the episode is something that is supposed to be held on to, since it might play a significant role in concluding the story towards the end.