TV & Movies

Manifest Star Melissa Roxburgh Reveals How It’s All Connected

“You’ll probably have to watch Season 4 multiple times.”

The fourth and final season of 'Manifest' has begun, and Melissa Roxburgh is looking back on the sho...

Last summer, Manifest Season 3 ended on a rough note for siblings Ben and Michaela Stone, with Ben’s wife dead, his son suddenly five years older, and his daughter, baby Eden, kidnapped by his wife’s murderer. Meanwhile, Michaela faced her own major curveball, learning that her ex, Jared, is still not quite over her.

The first half of Season 4 concludes with a cliffhanger that is even wilder. But this time around, there’s one big difference: There’s no fear of Manifest not coming back to tie up all those loose ends. NBC canceled the show after the Season 3 finale, but the fandom rallied to #SaveManifest, and Netflix heeded the call. The streamer announced a super-sized final season on Aug. 28, 2021, the date referencing the show’s Flight 828, which left Jamaica in 2013 — and mysteriously arrived in New York five years later.

“In some ways, I do want to know the fan fiction theories of how the show would have ended,” Melissa Roxburgh, who plays Michaela Stone, tells Bustle. “But the fact that we actually get to give it to them was way nicer.”

You still have some time to make your final guesses, though. Manifest Season 4 is dropping in two parts, and the second batch doesn’t have a release date yet. When it does air, take note of Episode 18 — it’s directed by Roxburgh herself. “Gearing up to it, I was just freaking out,” she says. “But as soon as I got into it, it felt so natural and easy. And I had so much support from the crew that it felt like it wasn’t the first time I’d ever done it.”

Scott McDermott/Netflix

Below, Roxburgh opens up about Easter eggs, her audition, and the creepy coincidence that makes her believe it is, indeed, all connected.

Were there any fan theories about the show that you personally subscribed to over the last four years before reading the scripts?

None of them were full-fledged enough for me to completely get on board or not on board. They were more snippets of ideas, like, “The Major’s actually good.” But the main one that I subscribed to was that the government was behind everything. That made the most sense to me. As time went on, and we got more into the mythology, I was like, oh, that’s not where we’re going with this.

It’s definitely taken a supernatural turn. On that note, has playing Michaela led you to be more open to seeing mysterious connections in the real world?

We’ve had a really creepy — not creepy in a bad way, creepy in a good way — experience with Manifest. I remember we got the final script, and [showrunner] Jeff [Rake] sent a message to our entire cast, saying, “It’s been a pleasure writing for everyone.” And he sent it at 8:28 a.m. And I texted back, “That was on purpose, obviously.” And he was like, “I didn’t realize I did that.”

But it has felt all connected, even the chemistry between castmates. I did not think I was going to get this show. So I went in with that attitude. I’m just going to have fun. And the way I met Josh [Dallas] in the audition room, I accidentally told him he was doing a bad job. Not in those words, but he messed up his lines, and I called him out. And it just became the Michaela-Ben dynamic. He was the big brother in that moment.

Peter Kramer/Netflix

Michaela and Ben’s sibling relationship is not something you see often on TV.

The first thing that comes to mind that does that is Dexter — and that’s about a serial killer. But it’s been great. When Josh wrapped his last scene ever, our DP came over, and he was like, “I’ve never seen two people be so close.” I feel so lucky that I’ve gotten Josh as a partner throughout the entire show. I wouldn’t want anyone else.

You said you’d be producing a few projects in the future — what do those look like?

It’s still pretty early, but one that I know I will eventually do is a tennis feature. My mom [Shelley Roxburgh, née Walpole] was a Wimbledon tennis player, and so this story comes from her world. It’s about the dynamic between this young tennis player, motherhood, and this one coach she encounters — not necessarily in a positive way. It shows how intergenerational trauma follows someone. I’m really excited about that one because it does come from a true story. And I get that insight into the tennis world through my mom, having played Wimbledon and the US Open.

As fans watch the first half of this final season, is there anything they should look out for?

You’ll probably have to watch Season 4 multiple times. There are so many Easter eggs and little hints and clues throughout the entire thing that by the time you get to that final episode, you’ll have to go back and watch and be like, “Oh, yeah, that's where that came in.”

I just want everyone to enjoy it. By the end, there was just so much love and joy on set that I really hope everyone has that watching it.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.