The Messengers Descend on WonderCon 2015

The Messengers

Over Easter weekend the new drama The Messengers, which will debut on The CW on April 17, took to the stage at the Anaheim Convention Center as part of the 2015 WonderCon.

The cast of the show who participated in the moderated panel last weekend included Shantel VanSanten (Gang Related and One Tree Hill), JD Pardo (Revolution), Joel Courtney (Super 8), Diogo Morgado (The Bible), Anna Diop (Everybody Hates Chris), Craig Frank (The Lizzie Bennet Diaries) and relative newcomer Jon Fletcher as well as executive producers Eoghan O’Donnell and Trey Callaway.

The premise of ‘The Messengers’ is about what happens when a mysterious object plummets to Earth. The blinding explosion it causes sends out a shock wave that instantly connects five strangers who awaken after the pulse with extraordinary gifts they can barely believe. Most mysterious of all is a figure known only as The Man, who brings death and suffering wherever he appears. The wheels of Revelation have begun to turn, and these five newly christened Angels of the Apocalypse may be the only hope for preventing the impending Rapture.

The following are excerpts from the press room discussion with the cast and creative minds behind the show:

Eoghan and Trey

Question: Can you fill in some of the blanks about the show:

Trey Callaway (Executive Producer): This is the story of five…characters who are different ages, (from) different walks of life, (who are) spread (across) the world, who would have otherwise never crossed paths with each other if destiny hadn’t intervened. The one thing that they all have in common is they’re all at severe periods of crisis in their lives… (in) the pilot, a meteor strikes Earth and in that moment they all drop dead…only to come back to life a few moments later with an awareness that something is different…so, this is a story about strangers having to put their faith in each other to try and prevent the beginning of the end.

Eoghan O’Donnell (Executive Producer): They are the angels of the apocalypse…they will have to face off against some evil forces going forward and they will get a clear sense of their mission in the second episode. I actually think it is public knowledge what that mission is…

Trey: Yes, it is. They are informed through a series of circumstances in episode two that they are angels of the apocalypse and it is their job to find and stop the four horsemen of the apocalypse from…breaking a series of fateful seals that will bring about the rapture and the apocalypse as foretold in the Book of Revelations.

Eoghan: And they need to prevent the Devil from getting to those people first.

Question: Do they have the right to refuse this gift or this responsibility?

Trey: They have the gift, whether or not they choose to use it, whether or not they choose to unite with the others, whether or not they choose to be a part of the process. But destiny is a very powerful force and it’s not easily denied. Some of them will push harder than others against that destiny and throughout the season.


Question: How has the transition been from playing Jesus in The Bible to playing the Devil on The Messengers?

Diogo Morgado (The Man): To be honest with you…the American audience doesn’t know me except for the role of Jesus, but I’ve been acting since I was 15. But…what is quite different for me playing Jesus, it wasn’t a job. It was way more of a personal experience, an amazing journey as a human being and as an actor. It’s the ultimate challenge as an actor. (This role in The Messengers) is like the opposite, the extreme opposite…what I like about the show is that it is full of options. It’s about how our messengers are going to act when they are at the crossroads. Are they going to be selfish in their choices? Are they going to be thinking of the end of the world? The fact that “The Man” is not random, the fact that he is not named the Devil is not random and because he doesn’t possess any superpower. He doesn’t have any special ability except for the human source of manipulation so he can’t use anything else than conversation.

Question: So you are officially not the Devil?

Diogo: In my perspective for this story, no. As I said, if we can say that he’s the Devil, it’s what we’re using from the Book of Revelations and so if he’s the bad guy then he must be the Devil, but the way he interacts and the way he moves, his purpose is quite different.

Joel and Jon

Question: Can you tell me a little about your characters?

Jon Fletcher: I play Joshua Silburn Jr. who is a Texas televangelist. He is next in line to take over the church from his father. When we meet him he is about to…do his first real big sermon in front of the church. He admires his father… (and) then when this thing comes crashing to Earth the five main characters they reawaken and they have been given these gifts and they have been challenged with saving the world from the apocalypse. It’s a very difficult transition especially for Joshua who believes God is this one way and the God that he sees during the time when he is essentially dead is a very different God so his world is shattered quickly.

Joel Courtney: I play Peter Moore. He’s a regular teenager who has regular teenager problems. He has a past, being moved from foster home to foster home. He’s had a previous suicide attempt so when the object crashes from Heaven the energy wave hits us and we die, but when that happens (Peter is) swimming in the pool so people think it’s another suicide attempt, and I’m trying to convince them that it’s not. This is when Peter really finds out who he is and really finds his voice.

Question: Your characters are very different with different powers, do (their powers) manifest differently based on their personalities?

Jon: When they wake up, I would say that Joshua is the one who immediately changes, everyone else doesn’t quite know or understand what is happening (but) Joshua understands. He sees God when he is out and there is this great shift for him and I would say that moving through the season, it affects everyone in a different way. We’re all given these gifts when we wake up, everyone has their own individual gift that we will use to work together to achieve this mission, but as I was saying it is the personal stories that will keep it grounded and how we are responding to it individually.

Joel: Peter’s emotional life is just rocked. From his childhood, because of the whole foster home to foster home situation, and at the end of the pilot when…Peter’s gift kicks in, which is strength…he loses control. In later episodes, Peter finds that his…control (of his power) comes from within.

Anna and JD

Question: So Anna it seems that everyone wants to kill you?

Anna Diop (Rose): I know, what’s up with that? I’m just a nurse trying to live my life and get married.

Question: What else will we be getting to see?

Anna: It takes seven years for some reason and we find out in the second episode (why it takes that long). Rose does wake up and the other messengers are brought together by fate.

Question: Was there a particular characteristic…that you really admired the most about each of your characters?

Anna: Rose is extremely empathetic and patient, she’s a leader which sometimes I’m good at and sometimes it takes a lot to get there; and she was thrown in it too. It’s not like she was asked…to lead these people, to this massive task but she steps into that role in a really beautiful way.

J.D. Pardo (Raul): I love that he was a fugitive because I thought that unless they solve that really quickly that it would be fun to play through that. I like to (think) about how he would be present in that situation, watching his back.

Craig and Shantel

Question: You seem to be the character on the show who lacks information. Is that going to continue or are you eventually going to find out that your colleague is an angel of the apocalypse?

Craig Frank (Alan): Eventually I will get information, but it does come from a lot of questioning, a lot of prodding (and) a lot of annoying.

Shantel VanSanten (Vera): I think that both of our characters don’t know how to take no for an answer.

Question: Do you think that sort of makes you the audiences’ way in to the show if you’re the person who lacks that information?

Craig: I think it helps. I think it definitely helps because I get to ask questions that maybe someone sitting at home (watching the show) might be like, “but why did he (do that)?” I’ll be the one that asks.

Shantel: I think it’s interesting going into a show that has this religious and faith theme, playing the two scientists because that is the truth…even for Vera for a really long it’s not as though it’s going to hit (her) and she’s going to become converted…they have to go on their own journey. So there were times where I would be saying “that’s what I’m asking?” When I’m reading (the script) trying to understand what is happening…I think each character allows for a voice, you know, coming from different peoples’ (view) points. Some people may be “that’s exactly what I think” and exactly what Joshua is preaching is what I’m feeling so it’s interesting to have these different messengers and different voices to reach different types of audience members.

Regardless of your belief system, ‘The Messengers’ is more character-driven than faith- or religious-driven. It is a show about five strangers brought together by fate, given an unbelievable mission and how they decide to follow through on that mission. If you would like to see how it all plays out, make sure to watch the debut of ‘The Messengers’ on The CW on Friday, April 17 at 9/8c.

Photo Credit: Rueben