Is ‘Manifest’ Based on a True Story? Here Are the Connections with Malaysia Airlines Flight 370

Is Manifest Based on a True Story Can It Be Real

Manifest‘ is a show premised upon the mysterious disappearance (and subsequent reappearance) of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370. Despite several fantastical elements, many viewers wonder if ‘Manifest’ is actually based on a true story. So, is that the case?

The show ‘Manifest’ is not based on any real-life events. According to a SyFy Wire interview with Manifest creator Jeff Rake, he admitted that he came up with the idea for Manifest about a decade before MH370 disappeared. As it happens, the story was influenced by familial elements rather than the tragic Malaysian flight.

Although Jeff Rake came up with the concept years before, he claimed that the series was inspired by the loss of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, a catalyst that made the ‘Manifest’ possible as no one considered making the show before the incident.

Being a huge fan of ‘Manifest’ and held up by the same questions as you, read on as I share with you more about the show and how it is connected to the disappearance of the MH370.

Manifest‘ is not based on a true story

Is Manifest Based on a True Story? Can It Be Real?

‘Manifest’ is not based on a true story, but it does have a strong relationship to the unexplained disappearance of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370, which confused millions of people when the news broke in March 2014.

There were 227 passengers and 12 staff members on the aircraft from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing who were never seen again. Despite efforts to locate survivors and discover what caused the jet to deviate from its path and crash, officials recovered only wreckage.

According to a SyFy interview with series creator Jeff Rake, Manifest was created in response to the March 2014 disappearance of passengers on Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. The Malaysian Airlines tragedy and the ensuing questioning from the public and the media appear to be connected to the ‘Manifest’ narrative.

Jeff Rake claimed that the series was inspired by the loss of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, although he really came up with the concept years before. Rake clarified:

“That flight has a pivotal role in my story, but the truth to the matter is that I thought of that idea almost ten years ago. [We were] driving in a mini-van with my family to the Grand Canyon, thinking about family, togetherness, separation. The big idea hit me. I pitched it around; nobody wanted it.”

[And] then, seven years later, Malaysian Airlines happened and suddenly my crazy idea felt a little more real, a little more relatable, in the context of Malaysian Air, suddenly people were interested.

As a result, he acknowledged in this interview that he came up with the idea for ‘Manifest’ around a decade before MH370 vanished. The narrative, it turns out, was inspired by “family, closeness, [and] separation” rather than the tragic Malaysian aircraft.

However, before the disappearance of Flight 370, no one desired to make the show. However, because the real-life occurrence lent credence to Rake’s plot idea, it gave him the necessary foothold to secure approval for his program. Manifesters would have missed out on one of their favorite concerts without the unfortunate loss of that airplane, as sad as that may seem.

Additionally, Jeff Rake stated in the interview that Flight 370 plays a “vital part” in the program, even if you conceptualized ‘Manifest’ before its actual occurrence. Rake claims he had the idea on a family trip to the Grand Canyon while contemplating the concept of “union” against “separation.”


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He attempted unsuccessfully to propose the notion to various networks. When the Malaysian Airlines aircraft vanished, his theory became “a bit more real.” Rake asserts that “in the backdrop of Malaysian Airlines,” individuals were interested in bringing ‘Manifest’ to life.

While the idea for the series did not originate with the missing Malaysian aircraft, it appears that the series entered the development phase partly due to the real-life tragedy, which rendered the tale more relevant than before.

While the numerous mysteries in ‘Manifest’ are all fictional, how the plane’s disappearance captivated viewers on the program may very well have been inspired by real-life events.

What happened to Malaysia Airlines Flight 370?

Is Manifest Based on a True Story?

Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 vanished on 8 March 2014, on its way from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew members. Najib Razak, Malaysia’s former Prime Minister, said that the aircraft’s trip terminated somewhere in the Indian Ocean but provided no more explanation.

Despite the discovery of wreckage believed to be from the crash, many critics questioned official pronouncements and offered various hypotheses regarding the disappearance. The jet vanished while en route to China from a Malaysian airport and was shockingly never located.

Numerous nations collaborated on search-and-rescue operations, but nothing came of them. Although several bits of potential wreckage have been discovered subsequently, the true fate of Flight 370 remains a mystery, despite experts’ hypotheses about what may have occurred.

The search for Flight 370 that ensued was first focused on the Gulf of Thailand, where the jet was flying at the time radar contact was lost.

After it was revealed that two passengers were using stolen passports, investigators investigated the potential of terrorist participation in the plane’s disappearance; however, this idea, at least in connection to the two individuals, was quickly ruled out. (The passengers aboard Flight 370 were from 15 different countries, with more than half from China and three from the United States.)


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Then, on March 15, investigators stated that satellite signals suggested Flight 370 had abruptly deviated from its intended path and flew west over the Indian Ocean, operating independently for at least five hours. Malaysia’s prime minister declared on March 24 that the flight was likely lost in the Indian Ocean, with no survivors.

As the hunt for the aircraft proceeded, with over two dozen nations contributing, including the United States, the question of how a commercial airliner could vanish without a trace garnered global media interest.

In June 2014, Australian investigators stated that radar recordings indicated Flight 370 was likely flying on autopilot for hours before it ran out of fuel and crashed into the southern Indian Ocean.

Officials did not speculate publicly on who or why the jet was put on autopilot after it deviated off course. However, they did suggest that the crew and passengers may have been unconscious due to hypoxia or oxygen deprivation just before the plane crashed. The officials did not attempt to explain what may have caused the oxygen deprivation.

Meanwhile, some officials speculated that one of Flight 370’s pilots may have purposefully flown the aircraft into the Indian Ocean on a suicide mission, albeit there was no convincing evidence to back this hypothesis.

According to conspiracy websites, the official explanation that the jet fell into the Indian Ocean is “a transparent cover-up.” They remark that a Boeing 777 lacks the structural strength necessary to withstand a collision into the water, comparing it to colliding with a concrete wall at terminal velocity.

If Flight 370 had collided with the ocean, they assert, it would have broken into tens of thousands of fragments, many of which float on water (such as the seat cushions) and would have washed up on area coastlines or been easily discovered by search crews.

Sunstein, who has written extensively on the subject, stated in a March 2014 interview with The Wall Street Journal that conspiracy theories, in general, are frequently created out of horrible and tragic occurrences that make people furious, scared, and on the lookout for a “target.” These critiques waned in the years following the aircraft’s disappearance when numerous aircraft components were identified.

Throughout 2015 and 2016, wreckage from the aircraft came up in the western Indian Ocean, but Flight 370’s whereabouts remain unknown.

How does ‘Manifest’ compare to a real-life story?

Is Manifest Based on a True Story? Can It Be Real?

While television dramas frequently represent real-life events, many of these shows are so far detached from reality. Films and television are works of fiction because they are written to be entertaining, intriguing, and occasionally educational. All stories can be told only by beginning and then ceasing to tell them. However, in reality, nothing begins or ends.

Thus, tales are intrinsically artificial in choosing what to leave out and what to include. There is a process of significance selection — usually invariably a claim that things are causally related.

In reality, life is rarely so orderly. There may be significant incidents for those who witness them, yet life continues before and after these. Most life is awkward and aimless, and the issues we confront rarely have clear solutions.

Both television series and feature films have a greater purpose. That aim is to create an engrossing narrative. While several storylines are to be discovered in real life, life is essentially random. There is no obvious path; there are tedious activities and unimportant components.


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Because causation is the big unknown in human life — we can never be certain of the entire reason for anything – movies provide us with an anchor explaining why certain events occur. Films and television programs exist to obliterate the mundane and magnify the dramatic. They are there to demonstrate what life is like at its most extreme, hoping that we might better understand ourselves and our planet.

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