Several theories provide possible explanations for what happened in Manifest to Flight 828. In fact, some are strongly supported by discoveries made by Ben (Josha Dallas), Cal (Jack Messina), and the others. The problem is that Manifest has thrown so many huge twists into its story that it’s become difficult for the characters to rationalize the events of the series.
Three seasons in, and the Flight 828 passengers aren’t that much closer to understanding the truth about what transpired the day their plane disappeared in Manifest. Despite every breakthrough they’ve made, they still know very little. The introduction of Eureka (a government-sanctioned operation designed to get to the bottom of it) led to some interesting reveals – but they ultimately just created more questions. The lack of answers can be primarily attributed to the fact that several of the show’s hints point to totally different explanations.
Originally, Manifest may have delayed its biggest discoveries until season 6, but the series not getting a chance to complete the showrunner’s six-season plan means that all will have to be revealed in the near future. After saving the series that NBC canceled, Netflix will release a 20-episode season to wrap up the story. Delivered in three parts, Manifest season 4 will bring everything to a close once and for all. Ahead of the release of the show’s final chapter, here are the biggest theories about what happened in Manifest to Flight 828.
Season 3 saw Ben presumably solve the show’s greatest mystery about what happened in Manifest by assuming that everyone was resurrected. Finding the wreckage of Flight 828 in the ocean (even though it was blown up on land) created the impression that the plane and everyone on board all died on April 7, 2013. Ben believes that somehow the passengers and the plane were brought back by a divine power. The three meth addicts rising up out of the pond after apparently drowning further strengthened the Manifest resurrection theory, which has been touted not only by Ben but also a large portion of the fanbase.
The idea that an omnipotent, divine being like God raised everyone back to life was validated by some of Saanvi’s findings at Eureka. Traces of sapphire, believed to be the mark of the divine, were found on the subject of every documented disappearance they’ve investigated so far. Not only that, but Biblical teases and connections have been sprinkled in throughout the show. Even “Flight 828” itself is a Bible reference (Romans 8:28 has been mentioned in the series). All things considered, God having something to do with the experiences they’ve had would help make sense of the Callings and why they’re receiving these tests.
Flight 828 Traveled Back In Time
Arguably the biggest flaw with the divine resurrection theory is that it’s become clear across multiple instances that other, more science fiction-oriented concepts are at play in Manifest. In season 2, it was suggested that for a brief period, they existed in the same time and place as a 16th-century ship captained by an explorer named Al-Zuras. A journal left by Al-Zuras indicated that he experienced the same phenomena as the passengers and even caught a glimpse of the plane. For this reason, some have theorized that when people disappear on Manifest, they actually get sent through the timestream.
The deep investigation into the resurrection theory distracted from the possibility of time travel in Manifest for most of season 3, but it was catapulted back to the forefront of these conversations in the Manifest season 3 finale. Cal disappearing and reappearing five years older in the span of a day indicated that even if time travel isn’t the sole answer, it’s at least part of the equation. Captain Daly (Frank Deal) suddenly reappearing in Eureka (and vanishing again) was evidence of this as well. Characters passing through some sort of interdimensional wormhole would clear up a few things, but it doesn’t account for the Callings or the evidence that the plane really did crash.
A Divine Force Is Manipulating Time
Because there are holes in both popular theories, some have concluded that neither resurrection nor time travel alone can explain what happened in Manifest and all of its biggest questions and mysteries. The idea behind this is that time travel and divine forces are actually tied together in Manifest. If this is the case, it’s possible that the entity behind the Callings has been manipulating history by moving characters around in time to achieve a specific goal. This explanation lines up with both the show’s strong Biblical connections and the developments made at Eureka. And unlike the resurrection theory, this theory doesn’t conflict with the vanishings of Cal and Daly, or the other weird events.
Flight 828 Is From A Parallel Universe
A common theory that picked up traction during Manifest season 3 postulates a totally unrelated idea, that Manifest’s passengers are from an alternate universe. This alternative to the resurrection theory suggests that Ben is right about the passengers dying – but wrong about them being brought back from the dead. Instead, it may be that the passengers crossed over from a parallel universe and took the place of their dead counterparts. If this is true, it would mean that the versions of Ben, Michaela (Melissa Roxburgh), Saanvi (Parveen Kaur), and Cal that left the airport are dead, and the characters that have been on the show all this time hail from a different (but identical) timeline.
At this point, parallel universes being at the heart of Manifest’s Flight 828 mystery makes more sense than divine resurrection. After all, two characters disappeared out of thin air before viewers’ eyes in the season 3 finale. Both Captain Daly and Cal may have been transported between the two realities. As for season 2’s Al-Zuras reveal that hinted at time travel being the answer, it’s possible that where they went was a dimension that exists between universes.
It’s been argued that the Callings in Manifest may be a course-correction designed to make the passengers set things back to what they’re supposed to be so that the universes align properly. According to this theory, the Death Date isn’t a form of divine punishment, but the universe’s way of removing something from the timeline that doesn’t belong. If a character doesn’t follow the Callings and ensure that everything happens just as it’s expected to, they die on their Manifest Death Date – just like their counterparts before them.
Aliens Abducted Flight 828’s Passengers
Aside from these more mainstream theories, there are some even more intriguing possibilities that viewers on the internet have posed. Reddit user u/charbar7 has suggested that Manifest‘s central mystery is similar to that of another series called 4400, in which 4,400 people who have been missing and presumed dead over the past 50 years are suddenly returned to Earth (some with powers) after an alien abduction. Because this Manifest theory is more fantastically sci-fi, it could help reconcile all the holes and inconsistencies in the other theories.
Manifest Is Happening Inside Cal’s Coma
On a similarly fantastical note, another Redditor, Manifestfan, theorized that what happened in Manifest could be in Cal’s head entirely. Cal could really be in a coma due to his cancer, and the passengers he’s imagined on the airplane are people he’s heard around the hospital in his current state. This doesn’t offer the neatest explanation for some of Manifest‘s more nuanced mysteries, but it would be an easy way for the show to get away with lingering mysteries and nonsensical elements.
The Flight 828 Passengers Are Part Of A Simulation Game Called Manifest
Finally, kwakuga’s Reddit suggestion was simply “It’s all a simulation. Think Life on Mars.” Life on Mars had a similar central mystery of how its protagonist could have traveled back in time after a car crash, but it turned out everything was part of a simulation he experienced while on a spaceship to Mars. It may be the most far-fetched Manifest theory out there, and it would still need to explain what the passengers’ main objective is meant to be while in the simulation itself. Still, it could be an interesting twist if done correctly in the Manifest season 4 finale.
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