In The CW’s upcoming supernatural mystery “The Messengers,” a mysterious object plummets to Earth, sending out a shockwave that imbues a select few with the ability to prevent the impending apocalypse.
Ahead of the premiere on Friday, executive producers Trey Callaway (“Revolution,” “CSI: NY”) and Eoghan O’Donnell (“Teen Wolf”) sat down with journalists at WonderCon Anaheim to discuss the evolution of the series, and what to expect from the first season.
Warning: Some mild spoilers for “The Messengers” lie ahead.
On where and how the story begins:
Trey Callaway: This is the story of five, ultimately, perhaps more, characters who are different ages, different walks of life, spread around the world, who would otherwise have 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, no matter what different kinds of forms that might take.
Then, as you saw from the pilot, a meteor strikes Earth and in that moment, they all drop dead where they stand only to come back to life a few minutes later with an awareness that something is different. […] They don’t fully understand the circumstances of why until Episode 2, when destiny pulls them together largely through the character of Rose who we’ll get to know a lot more [about] in Episode 2 and beyond.
That’s when they are informed of their new mission in life, whether they choose to accept it or not, whether they believe or not in any of what’s being laid before them. So this is, as I said, this is a story of strangers having to put their faith in each other to try and prevent the beginning of the end.
Eoghan O’Donnell: And they’re Angels of the Apocalypse, which is an important, simple thing about it. They will have to face off against some evil forces going forward and they’re going to get a clearer sense of their mission in the second episode. I actually think it’s public knowledge what that mission is?
Callaway: Yes, it is. They’re informed, through a series of circumstances in episode two, that they are, as Eoghan said, 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 Revelation.
O’Donnell: They need to prevent the devil from getting to those people first.
Callaway: That’s right.
On guest stars:
Callaway: We’ve gotten some amazing guests to come and join us and play in our ambitious sandbox. That’s been wonderful. We can’t tell you yet which one, if any of those, will be future messengers. But by the end of season one, our entire team will be fully assembled … there will be seven, in accordance with biblical prophecy.
On developing the characters:
Callaway: It really comes down a lot to how different can we make each of these people. In terms of their back-story on a personal level, in terms of their geography, in terms of their upbringing, the cultures, the different religious beliefs that they may or may not have.
O’Donnell: Just coming at it from all sorts of different angles. Because it’s all about the search for meaning, but it’s how you can go about it. So we wanted to bring together a really diverse cast.
Callaway: They’re all at difficult points. They’re at a difficult juncture in their lives. Again, whether they understand it or fully accept it initially, what they will come to understand is they need to bond together, not only for the greater forces that are threatening the world, but also to better themselves individually.
Do they have the right to refuse this gift or this responsibility?
Callaway: They have the gift. It’s up to them 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. It’s not easily denied. So, some of them will push harder than others against that destiny and, throughout the season, you’ll see what that results in.
Why is the series set in Houston? Will the reason be revealed later on?
O’Donnell: There is a final reason, but it also feels like a very American city. It’s very … if the Apocalypse is going to happen, maybe it’s gonna be in Houston.
Callaway: Eoghan is from Arkansas, I’m from Oklahoma. Texas was fair game. [laughs]
Is having a shorter season helpful in focusing the story or do you feel constrained by it?
Callaway: Would we rather have 22 [episodes]? Do we hope for that for Season 2? [laughs] Yeah, you bet! But the 13, [I actually like] quite a bit because it lent itself very well, particularly to our Season 1 mission for the Messengers. When you do the math, as we had to, breaking out the search for the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse lent itself well to a 13-episode structure.
O’Donnell: It felt natural, somehow. And I also like it because it allows you to kind of focus your serialized stories in a way that’s fulfilling for the audience.
”The Messengers,” which stars Shantel VanSanten, Sofia Black-D’Elia, JD Pardo, Joel Courtney, Diogo Morgado, Waylon Brady and Jon Fletcher, premieres Friday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.