Nearly a full year has passed since the Season 2 finale of Manifest ended on a wild cliffhanger that promised big things for Season 3, and the Season 3 premiere is finally almost here. While it wouldn't be Manifest if it answered all of the leftover Season 2 questions about Flight 828, the Callings, and death dates in the first few minutes of the third season, the return will reveal what happens next. That said, Manifest showrunner Jeff Rake has already revealed that Season 3 isn't picking up right where Season 2 left off, and is instead going with a time jump. So, what does that time jump mean for Ben and Michaela?
Time jumps for TV shows between seasons are hardly unique to Manifest, and the Manifest jump forward isn't huge in the grand scheme of things. The Season 3 premiere picks up three months after the intense Season 2 finale that ended with the reveal of the Flight 828 tail fin in the water, with Zeke having survived his death date and Saanvi accidentally killing Major. According to showrunner Jeff Rake to TV Insider, however, Ben and Michaela aren't going to be 100% wallowing despite all the stress. Rake shared where Season 3 picks up for the Stone siblings:
[I]n a somewhat optimistic place. If we all follow the Callings, perhaps that means we can live too. It becomes about trying to spread the word to the passengers. They’re going to discover halfway through the season that it’s more complicated than that.
Manifest may reveal to the Stone siblings that there are more complications than just following in Zeke's footsteps in following the Callings to avoid his death date, but not right off the bat! That's not to say that they'll be enjoying what they think are happily-ever-afters, of course, but some optimism is a change from some of their darker times over the first two seasons. The optimism after three months indicates that the time jump hasn't been too much of a trial for them, in my book. Good news for those three months, but the characters might be in for a rude awakening if and when things get bad.
In fact, showrunner Jeff Rake told SYFY WIRE that viewers aren't going to have to wait too long to start getting some answers, so Ben and Michaela will seemingly hit the ground running after the time jump. Rake previewed:
The unveiling of the mystery regarding the tail fin is threaded throughout the season. However, we frontload revelations associated with it so I think that viewers will find that in the first batch of episodes we come to some fundamental understandings. We get to a point of clarity in regard to some of the most fundamental questions about the underlying mystery.
Even if Manifest isn't going to drop all the details about the tail fin to start Season 3 (or perhaps anytime too soon, considering Jeff Rake's plan for six seasons), the promise of some front-loaded revelations indicates that Manifest is going to yield some answers sooner rather than later for characters after the three-month time jump in-universe. And hey, "fundamental understandings" certainly beat nearly a full year of waiting to see a new episode after the Season 2 finale!
The Season 3 premiere of Manifest comes to NBC on Thursday, April 1 at 8 p.m. ET (ahead of the big Law & Order: SVU and Organized Crime crossover event), which is almost exactly a year after the Season 2 finale on April 6, 2020. Manifest was one of relatively few major network TV shows that managed to finish production in the 2019-2020 TV season without having to throw a premature finale together, so the story should be able to continue without any holes, even if it does involve a whole lot of mysteries.