It's official: Manifest is coming back for a fourth season on Netflix, two months after being canceled by NBC. The news comes after weeks of back-and-forth between Netflix and Warner Bros. TV, and was announced on 8.28 a.m. on 8/28—a nod to the pivotal Flight 828 in the series, which returns with its passengers five years after taking off from Jamaica. Almost all of the cast, including leads Josh Dallas and Melissa Roxburgh, will return for the show's final chapter. The renewal of Manifest marks a stunning about-face by Netflix, which initially declined to renew the series, as did the show's creator NBC—but both were forced to reconsider after the addition of Manifest to its platform broke U.S. streaming records.
"There is something very meta about the show's death and rebirth, given that that's the story of the series itself," creator Jeff Rake said in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. He's referring to the show's titular "manifest" of characters, all of whom were presumed dead for years before their plane touched down in New York City. The show follows a brother and sister duo—Dallas and Roxburgh—as they seek to pick up the pieces and find out exactly what happened to them.
Netflix's decision to renew Manifest for a fourth chapter comes two months after the show hit the platform. Manifest quickly surpassed expectations and became the most-watched piece of content on Netflix for 27 days, almost beating the records set by Tiger King in 2020 and Ginny and Georgia this spring. Per Hollywood Reporter, 25 million Netflix accounts in the U.S. and Canada watched the show in its first month on the streamer. Even after Manifest dropped out of the top spot, it continued to dominate Netflix's charts: In August, Nielson confirmed that Manifest had broken its streaming-ratings records with more than a billion views a week for six straight weeks. And by September, Manifest was just the third show in Netflix history to be in its Top 10 for one hundred days—ever.
When will Manifest season 4 come out?
Netflix Life estimates that we won't see a fourth season of Manifest until the spring of 2022, at the very earliest. But even that's an optimistic timeline: The renewal was unexpected, so the next chapter of Manifest still needs to be developed from scratch—written, filmed, go through post-production, and so on.
Creator Rake said to EW: "I'm hopeful that cameras are rolling in November or December  latest... It might take a minute for a brand-new batch of episodes to show up in people's homes, but it's going to be worth the wait."
Rake alluded to a "batch," rather than a season, for a reason: The 20 episodes the show has been renewed for likely won't all air in one go. So if, say, Manifest releases eight episodes in its next "batch" and 12 in the following "batch"—likely to be framed as Season Four, Part One and Season Four, Part Two, Lucifer-style—that first "batch," or "part one," could come out as soon as mid-2022.
What will happen in Manifest season 4?
Um, a lot. Creator Rake will have to squeeze his three planned seasons' worth of plot into those 20 episodes to reach a fitting conclusion. In his EW interview, he said: "The endgame won't change at all...I am absolutely confident that 20 episodes gives me enough time to tell the entirety of the story as I always intended to."
Said Rake of the possibility of Part One and Part Two of a fourth season: "I don't think that's been decided. I don't think that's ultimately my decision. I'll certainly have those conversations with Netflix. I'll offer my opinion. I'm sure we will come together and come up with a game plan that makes the most sense for the show. "
Who's in the cast for Manifest season 4?
According to Deadline's Andreeva, the cast were no longer legally bound to the show after June. Thankfully, most of the cast signed on in September following the renewal regardless—except for the character who died at the end of season three, and the character who unexpectedly aged (no spoilers!), will return. Promoted to series regular is Daryl Edwards, who plays Vance.
Meanwhile, the character who, um, unexpectedly aged and will need to be played by a new actor—I'm trying really hard to avoid spoilers, y'all—is being replaced by the older actor who was featured at the end of season three. It's a shame, because both that character and the one that died at the end of season three were pivotal to the first three seasons of Manifest and its success thus far—and according to Andreeva, the remaining cast is set to receive "sizable pay increases" for the fourth season.
Matt Long, who plays Zeke Landon, has promised to be back in some capacity—but he may not be able to be a regular cast member. That's because he signed on to new show Getaway after the cancelation of Manifest, and filming schedules for the two may conflict. Long told Deadline: "I will be back for some of [Manifest], we’re just trying to find out the maximum I can do...We’re just trying to work out schedules."
What happened after Manifest was canceled?
By the time Manifest began making waves, both NBC and Netflix had declined to renew the series. But the show kept going, racking up millions of minutes viewed on Netflix every week. "Before we even had a chance to lift a finger to figure out if we need a PR campaign to help save us, the fans rose up and created this campaign and spread the word—which was incredibly rewarding and heartening," Rake told The Hollywood Reporter.
Fans old and new rallied. "Do you hear me, people of Netflix or Hulu or literally any powers that be? MAKE IT HAPPEN," wrote Lauren Yapalater at BuzzFeed. "Why would Netflix pass up saving what is a show with clearly a massively engaged fanbase?" asked Forbes' Paul Tassi. More than 100,000 people signed a petition to bring Manifest back. Celebrities including Kourtney Kardashian and Demi Lovato shared that they'd become avid viewers of the show since it hit Netflix. Even Stephen King got involved, tweeting: "#SaveManifest."
But perhaps the loudest voice came from Netflix's Top 10, its list of top-streamed content, where Manifest reigned in the top spots for months even after being canceled. "What scored Manifest a critical fourth and final season were those top-secret numbers created by viewers bingeing the show’s first two seasons," wrote the Hollywood Reporter.
Per Matthew Belloni's "What I'm Hearing" newsletter, Netflix decided to pursue the show aggressively and ultimately beat out NBC. Reports TV Line, using intel from Belloni: "The streaming giant thus stepped up with a 20-episode order (to be split into at least two “parts” a la Lucifer Season 5) and a beefier budget (from $4 million to $5 million per episode), as well as raises for the cast."
Rake explained to THR: "It soon became clear there was just a more compelling case to be made moving the show over to Netflix and starting and ending with the legions of new fans that had emerged in the Netflix universe.”