Why 'Manifest' Season 5 Never Happened

Creator Jeff Rake initially planned for 'Manifest' to be six seasons, but Netflix—and NBC—had other plans.

still from season 4 of Manifest
(Image credit: Netflix)

When NBC canceled Manifest back in 2021, the show was only three seasons into creator Jeff Rake's planned six-season run. Then came what Rake told Deadline felt "like a happy ending": Netflix approached Rake about bringing the series back to life for an additional—and final—20 episodes. The following November, Netflix released the first ten episodes of Manifest season 4, which were followed on Friday by Manifest season 4, part 2—the episodes that close the entire series.

This means there will be no Manifest season 5—"Twenty episodes turned out to be plenty for us to tell our complete story," Rake explained to Deadline—unless you consider the final batch of episodes a fifth season (and, given that many seasons on Netflix have ten episodes apiece, you could!). Rake, for one, has hinted that he considers the second part of Season 4 a fifth season. "I just decided, for my purposes, that I was going to treat the story as if we had been gifted two 10-episode seasons," he told EW of the two separate parts.

Even some of the lead actors didn't know how the series ended until years into the show: Melissa Roxburgh, who plays Michaela, told Hollywood Reporter: "In season three they had us film part of the ending. That’s when I found out. I don’t even think they wound up using what we filmed, but Jeff decided that since we were filming it he would tell us more about what was going on."

Though Rake had initially planned for six seasons on NBC, he only pitched three new versions of the post-season three series to Netflix, a two-hour movie; a six-episode series; or a 20-episode season, per Hollywood Reporter (Netflix picked the latter, obviously). Roxburgh noted of the show's cancellation and then renewal: "By the time we heard we were getting 20 episodes, we’d been angry, happy, sad, all of it."

But although this chapter of Manifest ended with Season 4, Part 2, Josh Dallas, who plays Ben, teased spinoff potential to Hollywood Reporter: "I think there’s major sequel or spinoff potential here," he said of the show. "Maybe we go into the future and see Eden at 21 or so as she’s navigating the world, or we follow the younger passengers. Maybe we go back to 2013 and deep dive into the investigation with Vance."