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Avengers: Infinity War Could Have Given Thanos And Drax A Big Fight

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is synonymous with the groundbreaking nature of its production, especially starting the trend of serialized storytelling and shared universes. The Russo Brothers have also done the seemingly impossible with Avengers: Infinity War, balancing and servicing all of the MCU’s characters in an epic and emotional storyline that packed an emotional gut punch in its final moments. But in order to do that, plenty of material ended up on the cutting room floor.

One of the character pairings that didn’t get enough attention was Drax and Thanos. Dave Bautista’s Guardian was originally motivated by getting revenge on the Mad Titan, but he was largely pushed to the side for Gamora and Nebula’s stories in Infinity War. But it turns out that a fight sequence between he and Thanos was originally pitched, with concept art even being produced. Check it out.

Pretty cool, right? This shows what it could have looked like if the Green and Purple cosmic characters clashed in their own battle. And while Drax took arms up against Thanos twice during the course of Infinity War, they never met 1:1 in the blockbuster.

This awesome new image comes to us from concept artist Rodney Images, who works with Marvel Studios to create its fantastic world. This includes Avengers: Infinity War, which had a long gestation and planning period by The Russo Brothers. The film had to balance a huge ensemble of characters, so there was no doubt plenty of addition and subtraction coming from the film during its development process. Ultimately Thanos and Drax’s fight got cut, but hopefully there’s still hope of it happening in Avengers 4.

When Drax was first introduced in the first Guardians of the Galaxy, his character met with the rest of the group because of his hatred for Thanos. Thanos killed Drax’s family (and half his planet), so he relishes at the opportunity to kill Gamora, and cause the Mad Titan some pain. Obviously the group ends up becoming family of their own, with the two green Guardians uniting over their mutual disdain for Thanos. But when it came to Infinity War, Drax was largely used as a tertiary character, despite coming face to face with his nemesis twice.

Drax fought Thanos in both the original conflict on Knowhere, as well as the super exciting battle on Titan. He got a few blows in, but ultimately the Avengers and Guardians failed to stop Thanos from collecting the Infinity Stones, and destroying half the galaxy with the snap of a finger. The Guardians suffered heavy losses, with Mantis, Groot, Star-Lord, and Drax all fading to dust in the film’s final moments. As such, it’s unclear if/how Drax will get to face off against Thanos again.

Most Marvel fans assume that the dusted characters will be revived somehow, although the future of the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise is still unclear. With James Gunn fired and Dave Bautista his most vocal supporter, Drax might never get a chance to have his story completed.

All will be revealed when Avengers 4 arrives in theaters on May 3rd, 2019. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

Jessie J Powerfully Clapped Back at People Comparing Her to Jenna Dewan

Jessie J and Channing Tatum seemed to make their rumored relationship Instagram official earlier this week when Tatum wrote a glowing post about the singer’s recent concert in London—and Tatum’s ex-wife Jenna Dewan appears to be moving on from their relationship happily as well.

But unfortunately, the world being how it is, the comparisons between the two women are still going strong. This all-too-common narrative is unfair to both women—and now Jessie J is speaking out about it.

In a lengthy Instagram post Friday (November 17), she said that although she doesn’t usually respond to untrue stories about her in the press, she was compelled to on this matter because she is “disappointed and embarrassed” that her name is even involved. “There is a story I have seen be re written over and over again in the past few weeks that talks about myself being compared directly to another beautiful woman regarding our looks and who people think is prettier,” she wrote. “I am here to talk about the headline and the way the story has been written, I have continuously tried to find something positive from this article…I am yet to.”

“Who feels good from this story? I know I don’t. Who does this story inspire? …? Is picking who is prettier and then continuing to say why a good activity to participate in? No,” she continued. “I’m talking in general too. Beyond this story. It’s constant with women. Picking favourites. Do the media do it with men? No. Are we learning a positive lesson from it? No.”

The singer goes on to talk about the effect that these sorts of stories have on young women and girls. “I don’t take stories like this lightly. Because I know the kind of impact it has on young girls reading it,” she says. “I spent so much of my childhood trying to be comfortable in my skin just like so many other little girls, and when I got older, decided to spend my career making lots of music to try and help / inspire myself and all other women to see beauty from the inside out and will continue to do so. Man does the world need it. Now more than ever.”

Jessie J’s closing words are definitely something all women can take to heart.

“We are all beautiful. We are enough just the way we are. Be the best you!!! You can’t wake up and be anyone but YOU. So please love your face, your body, your mind and your heart. Be good to yourself. Be good to those around you.”

Though she never names Dewan, it’s pretty clear who she is talking about. (Tatum, for what it’s worth, liked his rumored girlfriend’s post.) Earlier this week, Dewan wrote, “Positive vibes only” in response to a commenter who made a remark about the two women.

After Jessie posted her powerful clap-back post, Dewan replied via Instagram Story with a wonderful message of solidarity.

“Amen Jessie! Yes!!!! Women for women all the way. No Need for negativity. Let’s live in a world where we support each other and raise each other up. Like I said before, positive vibes all the way. Nothing but respect ❤️”

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Grey’s Anatomy Showrunner Defends Giving Meredith New Romances After Derek

There will only ever be one Derek “McDreamy” Shepherd. But does that mean there should only ever be one great love for Meredith Grey? The Season 15 winter finale showed Mer juggling at least two potential romances — with DeLuca and Link. Not all fans are into those options, but at least one fan apparently felt Patrick Dempsey’s character and legacy were being maligned by the plans of current showrunner Krista Vernoff. Here’s how Vernoff responded to the frustrated fan:

At least the mini spat stayed relatively respectful. For many fans, the chemistry between Ellen Pompeo’s Meredith Grey and Patrick Dempsey’s Derek Shepherd made the show. It is possible, as this fan suggests, that the show wouldn’t have lasted so long without Dempsey. But he left in Season 11 back in 2015, and Grey’s is still going strong into 2019.

Patrick Dempsey left of his own volition, ready for a break after a decade the same character. He even said he probably should’ve left a couple of years sooner than he did. Show creator Shonda Rhimes defended killing Derek since it was either that or — what? Derek leaves Meredith? The show ends with Dempsey leaving, so Derek and Meredith could stay in pick me, choose me, love me bliss forever?

The show has gone on for many highly rated seasons without Patrick Dempsey. However, trying to give Meredith post-Derek love has not been easy. She did have a brief romance with Dr. Nathan Riggs, but that didn’t pan out. For one, Ellen Pompeo said she was surprised by how fast the show wanted to get another dude in Mer’s life after Derek. Ultimately, The Powers That Be decided they didn’t like the (pretty forced) Riggs storyline, so Martin Henderson exited stage left in Season 14.

Now it’s Season 15, which Krista Vernoff has dubbed The Season of Love. Meredith Grey is being pursued all over the place, including by Andrew DeLuca (Giacomo Gianniotti) and Atticus “Link” Lincoln (Chris Carmack). Not everyone thinks Mer needs another romance — thinking she should focus on her work as a surgeon and life as a mother of three.

But some of us are ready for Meredith to fall in love again, even if she’ll never quite have a love like she did with Derek. The show regularly name-drops Derek, and he is the father of Mer’s children, so he’ll always be in their lives.

Even pop star Ariana Grande seems to have feels about Meredith and Derek. The apparent Grey’s superfan recently responded to tweets like “mcdreamy taught me pain,” and tweeted a photo of Mer and Der with her song title “thank u, next”:

Krista Vernoff retweeted that photo. Ariana Grande also got star-struck when addressed on social media by actresses Ellen Pompeo and Kate Walsh, who both played Derek’s wives:

We’re not suggesting Meredith Grey say “thank u, next” to Derek’s legacy. (Although, she’d be doing well to marry Ariana Grande.) The show has stayed respectful — despite murmurs of behind-the-scenes drama before Patrick Dempsey left. Ellen Pompeo said she was more worried about Grey’s when Sandra Oh left as Mer’s “person” Cristina Yang. When Grey’s survived that, she figured it could survive without Derek too. And she was right.

Hailey Baldwin Just Made Her Marriage to Justin Bieber Instagram-Official

Hailey Baldwin sure had an eventful Friday.

First, Justin Bieber made their marriage Insta-official by referring to her as “my wife” in a caption, before proceeding to leave a mildly NSFW comment on one of her posts (“U turn me on”). Then, there was some silly drama around her following a Selena Gomez fan account.

But the biggest event of the day? She officially changed her Instagram handle to @HaileyBieber, subtly confirming her marriage to the pop star. There’s nary a “Baldwin” to be found on her page, which now lists her full name as Hailey Rhode Bieber.

Check it out:

The couple’s engagement went public in July when Bieber confirmed the news on Instagram. “Was gonna wait a while to say anything but word travels fast,” the singer wrote on July 9. “Listen plain and simple Hailey I am soooo in love with everything about you! So committed to spending my life getting to know every single part of you loving you patiently and kindLY. I promise to lead our family with honor and integrity letting Jesus through his Holy Spirit guide us in everything we do and every decision we make.”

The mystery of the Baldwin-Bieber nuptials has been going strong since September when Baldwin and Bieber were spotted at a New York City courthouse and received a marriage license. But then it turned out they had actually gotten married at the courthouse—with a more traditional wedding for family and friends still to come.

“The city hall marriage was her idea. It was ‘you and me against the world,’” a source said at the time. “Let’s show [everyone] we’re serious and it’s not just some crazy fling.”

Fans on social media got very excited at the news of the Insta name change. “SHE CHANGED HER NAME TO HAILEY BIEBER IF YOU THINK MY HEART JUST BROKE INTO A THOUSAND PIECES YOU’RE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT OMFG,” one wrote.

Congrats to the happy couple on the Instagram-officialness of it all!

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Fantastic Beasts 3 Has A Title, But Only Some Actors Know It

It’s an exciting time to be a Star Wars fan, as J.K. Rowling keeps expanding the Wizarding World in new and exciting ways. In addition to the theme parks and Broadway plays, all attention is on the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them franchise, which started back in 2016. The series returned to the theaters with The Crimes of Grindelwald, with a story that is equal parts epic and dark.

There are another three movies planned for the property, although the contents of those films is a mystery to both the general public and even the cast. Now that Crimes of Grindelwald has arrived, all eyes are looking forward to what the threequel might entail, including its title. And the cast actually knows what it’ll be called. Well.. some of them do.

The Crimes of Grindelwald cast has been making the press rounds ahead of the film’s release, drumming up excitement for the latest magical adventure to come from J.K. Rowling’s mind. Interviews have been revealing all sorts of news, like that Jude Law actually knows the title of Fantastic Beasts 3. But he seems to be just the only one.

During a conversation with GamesRadar, Jude Law let slip that he know the next film’s title. But sitting next to him were co-stars Eddie Redmayne and Katherine Waterston. And the latter was gobsmacked that she wasn’t privy to that information. To add insult to injury, Law actually told Redmayne the scoop the night before, leaving Waterson in the dark. Poor Tina.

This bit of information, while still a mystery, just shows how far the Fantastic Beasts franchise is looking ahead. It was announced fairly early that there’d be a whopping five movies to present a longer story, so it was clear that Newt Scamander and his magical creatures were here to stay. Of course, The Crimes of Grindelwald isn’t exactly focused on the beasts themselves, but on the Wizarding War against Johnny Depp’s Gellert Grindelwald.

Part of this is likely due to the production team, which knows the Harry Potter world as well as anyone. J.K. Rowling herself has written both movies, with franchise director David Yates helming the pair of blockbusters as well. It’s unclear if they will stay on for all five films, but it seems likely– given the massive success of the first Fantastic Beasts movie.

Just by watching Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, it becomes clear how each thread and story of the franchise are connected, with J.K. Rowling thinking methodically about the storytelling. While this probably makes the franchise less accessible to casual fans, Potterheads can presumably rest assured that the movies are moving toward a goal– which includes the mysterious title of Fantastic Beasts 3.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is in theaters now. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

To Cope with My Father’s Suicide, I Had to Learn to Love My Grief

November 17 marks International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day, dedicated to those affected by suicide loss.

At 21, I thought I knew exactly who I was: Daughter, sister, friend, student, woman with a disability. I was halfway through college and felt like a butterfly excitedly fluttering it its cocoon, just itching to break free and fly. Then, on a regular Monday morning—15 years ago this year—my father died from suicide.

Just like that, my whole life changed. My father’s death was sudden, unexpected, devastating—but above all, it was confusing. For the first time in my life, I felt lost.

Didn’t the universe know this wasn’t supposed to be my life? The suicide of a loved one leaves you in limbo with no way out—full of unfinished business and unsaid words that you’ll never get the chance to say. It’s the ultimate in cruelty—suicide keeps taking things long after the person has died. You’re forever reminded that there should have been more. More birthdays. More family road trips. More memories. More time. More. More. More.

As my family grieved, I felt out of place. Twenty-one is a weird in-between age—I felt on the cusp of adulthood but still wanted the guidance and reassurance of my parents. There were grief books for widows and grief books for children and teenagers, but no one really talked about what it’s like to lose a parent when you’re in your early 20s. Unlike “widow” or “child,” there was really no label that quite described the sense of loss I carried.

No grief book could tell me what it would feel like to see reminders of my father: birthdays, holidays, little girls holding their dad’s hand. Even worse, there was no way to prepare myself for what it would feel like to graduate from college and not pick out my dad’s smiling face from the crowd as I accepted my diploma. When a loved one commits suicide, they’re both everywhere and nowhere.

The most distressing and concerning thing about being left in the aftermath of a loved one’s suicide, I came to realize, is that it decimates your sense of identity. I was no stranger to feeling different—growing up with a physical disability, I was used to feeling different from my peers—but my father’s death brought with it an entirely new sense of isolation. I suddenly felt like a stranger in my own life, isolated from the person I used to be.

A loved one’s suicide doesn’t just leave you mourning for their life, it also leaves you mourning for your own.

That’s the thing no one tells you about dealing with a loved one’s suicide: It doesn’t just leave you mourning for their life, it also leaves you mourning for your own. A part of me died that day too. It took me a long time to realize in the aftermath of suicide, you have to grieve not just for your loved one, but for yourself, too.

I found myself again in subtle ways, little by little. A decade in therapy helped me deal with the effects of my father’s death. Blogging about my journey also helped. But what has made the biggest difference in my well-being is letting myself lean into my grief instead of running from it.

We’ve been conditioned to believe that grief is a bad word and something to be avoided. We even like to tell people how to grieve, when to grieve and, perhaps most importantly, when to stop grieving and just move on. But the more I talked and wrote about my grief, the more I realized that grief isn’t the enemy. Everyone’s grief is different—it’s as unique and individual as the losses we experience—but owning my grief, finally helped me find some relief for all my anxiety and sadness. Grief is not out to get you—it can actually be there to help you.

I like to think my 21-year-old self is still with me, tucked inside my heart, maybe even right next to the spot where my grief resides. I think there’s a place for all three of us—my grief, the girl I used to be, and the woman I am today—to coexist. All three make up the fabric of who I’ve become and in a way, they’re all linked. You can’t really have one without the other two. There’s a certain beauty in that.

When I remember that, I can tell the 21-year-old girl trying to piece together her life in the fallout of suicide that everything is going to be okay. I can spread my wings and my grief and I can finally get the chance to fly.

Melissa Blake is a freelance writer and blogger covering disability rights and women’s issues. She has written for The New York Times, CNN and Glamour, among others.

Why Sansa Stark Should Absolutely Survive The Game Of Thrones Finale

When it comes to Game of Thrones, sitting on the Iron Throne would qualify as a triumphant ending for a character. Simply surviving to see who (if anyone) gets crowned would be another. There are many characters who deserve to survive the finale, and among them is Sansa Stark.

The eldest daughter of Ned and Catelyn Stark, Sansa has emerged as one of the series’ most complicated characters — seemingly conflicted with her personal ambitions and how that coincides with her loyalty to her family. Her journey from a bratty teen in Season 1 to the composed young adult of Season 7 has been nothing short of intriguing. It is for those reasons, and those below, that she has earned her spot surviving Game of Thrones‘ finale.

Sansa Represents Everything This Show Stands For

In many ways, Sansa is the demonstrative embodiment of how the show’s characters have merged since it began. While she was born a Stark, Sansa’s time around the Lannisters has had an impact on her.

When her marriage to Joffrey fell through, Sansa was eventually married to Tyrion. So she has indeed been a Lannister by marriage. Leading up to that time and beyond, she spent ample time with the family, even receiving a fair share of schooling in the ways of the world from her sister-in-law, Cersei Lannister, also known as the reigning Queen of the Seven Kingdoms.

Sansa did not just sit idly by. She listened and learned. As she has proven time and again, it is thanks to this education-of-sorts, and Littlefinger’s mentorship, that Sansa has learned to harness her innate abilities to become a power player. She has the Starks’ steely resolve and the Lannisters’ practicality regarding what it takes to survive and thrive. There is a lot about Sansa’s journey that mirrors many of the show’s themes.

Sansa Is A Survivor

She went from being young and naïve to someone who knows too many bitter truths about the world. Sansa has not been defeated by these trials or tribulations either, surviving it all with relative ease. Given all of her skill and know-how, she has proven she has what it takes to outlast the finale.

Her choices and overall endgame have been shrouded in mystery throughout her run on Game of Thrones, with Sophie Turner’s performance geared to keep that mystery intact. All the while, Sansa has shown a knack for cunning and calculation, helping to fuel plenty of fan theories over the years. The question lingering not too far behind those attributes being, to what end has she been sharpening them? Hers or others?

Sansa is a complicated person, which is what it takes to make it in Westeros. Her motives and goals are constantly subject to speculation. Did she go behind her brother’s back in Season 6 to help them or hurt him? Is she truly satisfied being the Lady of Winterfell, or does she still yearn to be a queen? Hopefully, she remains true to how her father would have wanted her to be, and she needs to survive so we can find out.

Sansa’s Been Through Too Much To Not Make It

On the verge of being back together with all of her surviving siblings at Winterfell, Sansa is primed for a tremendous final season. With Sansa having at last reunited with Bran and Arya in Season 7, the trio is only missing one sibling, and their imminent reunion with Jon Snow is finally just around the bend. House Stark is about to be a complete unit again (minus those they’ve lost along the way), and this final season should do as little as possible to destroy that.

Sansa perishing in Season 8, as the result of the White Walker invasion or anything else, would be devastating. She is one of only four remaining Starks, and it would just be cruel to lose another so close to the finish line. It is something that makes the fear she will not survive pretty palatable, especially when compared to her siblings, considering the tragedies they’ve all dealt with. Jon did die and all.

Game of Thrones has seen the Starks suffer one loss after another, so why stop now? Hopefully, the show will, though. Because Sansa’s fate not only impacts the surviving Starks; it impacts their line’s entire future. Plus, she’s the one who had to be with both Joffrey and Ramsay, which should seriously give her a gold-plated “Get Out Of The Finale Free” card.

Sansa Is One Of The Key Players In House Stark’s Future

To keep House Stark from going extinct, one (if not all) of the Starks will need to start a family. While there has been a lot of foreshadowing that Jon Snow will have a baby with Daenerys, that is not a done deal, and that is also not necessarily the lineage that should keep replicating. Plus, the more Starks, the better.

With Bran ensconced in living life as the Three-Eyed Raven, and Arya busy being a vigilante not at all set to take on childbirth, they seem to have their plates full. This makes Sansa and Jon Snow the family’s most likely candidates to continue the Stark line. If Sansa were to die, that would hamper the Starks’ chances of continuing forward.

Joining Jon Snow in his return to Winterfell will be Daenerys, who — unbeknownst to him — is his biological aunt. Sansa is not going to be thrilled about Jon pledging his fealty to Daenerys when the two cross paths again. (An EW report regarding Season 8 confirmed that.) That will hopefully be played for more than a beat or two, diverting any wishes for them to make babies happen.

Sansa Is The North’s Last Hope

Jon was supposed to be getting Daenerys’ much-needed help to save the North from extinction, not bend the knee to her. That said, Daenerys and Sansa share a lot in common. Both have been driven to restore their families’ legacies, and both have also endured a lot of hardships in the meantime, usually not of their own accord. But they don’t necessarily share the same ideals.

Sansa is more concerned about the North and its people’s needs. For the most part, Daenerys wants to get everyone under her umbrella. The North has expressed their desire for independence more than once, which is a desire Sansa has not opposed. That might not fall in line so smoothly with The Mother of Dragons.

Jon Snow is already a goner as far as Daenerys is concerned, unless she does something drastic that somehow changes his mind. That means Sansa is the last one of reputable power standing for the North. If she were to die, the North’s last hopes for freedom would perish with her. Jon, Bran, and perhaps even Arya have their minds on other things.

Sansa is crucial in maintaining and helping to evolve House Stark. After a brutal beginning, she and her siblings are in a position to usher their House into a new era, one that could very well see a member of their own family ascend to the Iron Throne. In many ways, Sansa represents the past, present, and future of House Stark. Arya has been consumed by revenge, Bran by his duties as the Three-Eyed Raven, and Jon by his feelings for Daenerys. Sansa is the only one still thinking clearly. If the Starks hope to see the future, her survival is the key.

Find out if Sansa survives the finale when Game of Thrones‘ eighth and final season premieres April 2019 on HBO. The amount of fall and midseason premieres should help fans cope with the wait in the meantime.

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The Flash’s Grant Gustin Was Totally Tripped Out By Tyler Hoechlin’s Superman

Over on The Flash, Grant Gustin has done things that many comic book fans could only dream of. As Barry Allen, he’s faced down (a CGI) Gorilla Grodd, he’s acted opposite an evil version of himself, and he punched a falling satellite alongside his future-daughter. But the Scarlet Speedster portrayer says that Tyler Hoechlin’s Superman tripped him out harder than anything else. Referencing a photo Stephen Amell shared of Gustin’s glee at the black Superman suit, the actor recently said this:

As Arrow-verse fans are aware, Superman has been limited to use just on Supergirl, and only in non-crossover episodes. As such, Melissa Benoist is the only one of the titular heroes to have familiarized herself with Tyler Hoechlin’s work as the Man of Steel. But something tells me Grant Gustin took zero time in getting the most out of his time opposite Hoechlin.

It’s too bad Grant Gustin didn’t share with EW whether or not he got to see Tyler Hoechlin rocking the traditional red and blue suit. But for now, his bubbly happiness will have to suffice. For those who missed the original post, here’s what Gustin looked like upon meeting Superman for the first time.

Really, is any bad day at work really a bad day at work if it’s happening opposite TV’s latest Superman incarnation? I should say not. Even if this was the most boring and trite episode of an Arrow-verse show, getting The Flash and Superman together, along with Green Arrow and Superman and more, would be an extremely rare circumstance. Thankfully, the “Elseworlds” crossover looks to be the most extravagant mash-up yet.

This year’s multi-show crossover will not only bring Superman to the forefront of the festivities, but also Lois Lane and the Kent family farm (and Batwoman and Gotham City and more). That doesn’t just mean that fans are getting to see all of these things for the first time. It also means that Grant Gustin (and others) are getting to perform with all of these new elements for the first time. I can honesty say I’ve never had such a trippy experience in my own day job.

Not much is known about the crossover’s narrative details at this point, with The CW and the various creative teams keeping a mostly tight lid on all that. (I’m actually surprised by how much has come out, actually.) We know that LaMonica Garrett will join the fun as The Monitor, giving the crossover a very “Crisis on Infinite Earths” feel, but we’ll have to wait and see just how closely these episodes correlate to the comic arc.

The Flash airs Tuesday nights on The CW at 8:00 p.m. ET. The “Elseworlds” crossover set to start up on Sunday, December 9, with an episode of The Flash on a special night, to be followed by Monday night’s Arrow and Tuesday night’s Supergirl. No Legends of Tomorrow involved this time, although it’s being rumored that at least one Legends character will be popping into the crossover.

What Manifest’s Athena Karkanis Really Loves About The Show’s Twins Storyline

Of all the TV mysteries out there right now, Manifest‘s Flight 828 offers up some of the most interesting angles for speculative conversations. One particularly unique concept is the relationship between siblings Cal and Olive Stone, who are now five years apart despite being twins. Star Athene Karkanis recently spoke with CinemaBlend about the first season’s success so far, and she was in agreement about the twin situation being one of the show’s coolest enigmas. In her words:

Even just yesterday on set, Luna [Blaise] was saying, ‘Which one of us do think is older? Like which when we came out first?’ because that’s never been, like, written in. So she was like, ‘Wouldn’t it be crazy if it was if it was Cal?’ And it is kind of cool. I feel like the writers, they bring up that image a lot. I’m about to shoot a scene where it’s just, you know, it’s kind of like a really small thing — this is not a spoiler or anything — where Grace is kind of just observing her children sleeping, and they kind of fell asleep side-by-side, and it’s just a mismatched tiny little Cal and teenaged Olive, and yet they’re twins. You know, I love that. I love that she made them twins and that they were, you know, it was a very poignant moment in the pilot when they get their first look at each other.

I was so happy that Athena Karkanis was equally on board in being fascinated with Olive and Cal’s situation. It’s been one of those Manifest curiosities that exists in the margins without taking away from the main relationship drama, or Michaela and Ben’s “Calling” mysteries. In some ways, the lack of direct attention makes it all the more intriguing to wonder about.

It’s pretty interesting to consider Cal and Olive’s age gap from various characters’ perspectives, but especially Olive’s. Given how ridiculously tumultuous the life of a teenager can be, Olive already had a distinct mindset beyond being someone whose brother and father disappeared. When they returned, Olive was thrown for an even bigger loop, having to re-face her brother’s diagnosis with a completely different set of emotional skills. And even without any overt paranormal tangents, the age change presumably affects the twins’ natural connection in some way.

All of that is to say nothing about how Olive must be feeling about her mother’s bananas-awkward love triangle. We’re just talking about twin stuff now.

For Grace, just having her two children again has to be the most amazing feeling, regardless of any age changes and other differences. Once that initial shock of having Cal and Ben home again has settled a bit, though, then her mind can presumably start to consider some of the more personal ramifications of Cal and Olive no longer being the same age.

During our talk, Athena Karkanis spoke directly to this particular time in the Stone twins’ lives is such a key point for the five-year gap to come into play.

I think it’s cool, and they’re constantly sort of like putting in little reminders to the audience about this crazy thing, because [the age gap is] such a huge difference: 10 to 16, or 10 to 15. In real life, they’re 11 and 17. That’s a big difference. You know, like a 21-year-old and 27-year-old don’t look that different. But at that age, there’s so much changing, not just physically, but also those are sort of your formative years. And yet they still have this really strong twin connection. I like that. I like that dichotomy.

I mean, seriously, Manifest didn’t take long before delving into one of the most uncomfortable Cal and Olive moments possible. I still get shivers thinking about when Cal reconnected with his former best friend Kevin, only to find out Kevin and Olive were dating. No, it wasn’t the most complicated story point to focus on, but that didn’t make it any less effective at making me cringe my way behind the couch.

Not to get into spoilers here, but now that we know Cal is tapping into certain other plane passengers who are involved in certain dire situations, it makes his relationship with Olive even more of a standout narrative point. She may very well end up being a lynchpin to this whole shebang, if she’s able to tap into Cal’s headspace in some way. For now, though, that’s all still just a mystery.

Speaking of the mystery element, I’d asked Manifest‘s Athene Karkanis what the response for the show had been like for her, and what she thought fans had been digging the most from the early episodes. Here’s how she put it.

Probably the mystery, I would say, because that’s kind of the most intriguing part of it. I think the show has a great premise, and then it follows up by delivering a good story to go with the premise. I think that mystery is pretty intriguing, and that really pulled a lot of people in. But then, I think the show kind of holds people, because it’s not just like, ‘Oh, mystery show,’ you know. There’s also real life family dramas that people can relate to. Like, no one can relate to a disappearing plane, because that [usually doesn’t happen] in real life, but other things do. And you know, there’s complex relationships, and people have complex feelings, and they’re struggling, and they are things that we can all relate to. Maybe not in the exact same capacity, but we all have struggles and relationships and ups and downs.

Indeed, Manifest managed to do what many shows fail to do: attract people with a mystery and then hook them in for the long haul by keeping things plausibly humane and grounded. Having a bunch of layered characters always helps, too.

Manifest has a couple of episodes to go before reaching its winter hiatus, after which it will return for the back half of Season 1 after the holidays. Will we be able to hold our excitement for all that time? I suppose we could find a mysterious flight that takes us five years into the future, where we can read all about how Manifest ended its first season, but that seems like slightly more trouble.

Find Manifest airing Monday nights on NBC at 10:00 p.m. ET. For those in need of more mysteries and dramas to get hooked on, our fall TV schedule and midseason premiere schedule will definitely suit anyone’s desires.

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