J.R. Ramirez on Manifest ending: ‘Michaela will always be the love of Jared’s life’ (Interview)

J.R. Ramirez, Manifest
J.R. Ramirez, Manifest /

* Spoilers for Manifest season 4 part 2 below *

Manifesters and Jachaela fans, how are we all doing? The supernatural series certainly knew how to end in a surprising way. Did anyone guess that the passengers would get a second chance after everything they’d gone through?

Seeing the passengers locked up and treated the way they were at the detention center was certainly scary and definitely made for a good plot line. The series threw many curveballs our way in the last 10 episodes, including finally putting to rest the Jared, Michaela, Zeke love triangle.

Netflix Life had the opportunity to speak with J.R. Ramirez about how he feels about the Manifest ending and finale, how he believes Michaela is still the love of Jared’s life, and what he’s going to miss about the show. Read on below and be sure to scroll down to the end for the video interview as well!

MANIFEST SEASON 04. (L to R) J.R. Ramirez as Jared Vasquez and Melissa Roxburgh as Michaela Stone in Manifest Season 04. Cr. Peter Kramer/Netflix © 2022
MANIFEST SEASON 04. (L to R) J.R. Ramirez as Jared Vasquez and Melissa Roxburgh as Michaela Stone in Manifest Season 04. Cr. Peter Kramer/Netflix © 2022 /

J.R. Ramirez breaks down the Manifest ending

*The interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Netflix Life: Jared and Michaela’s journey was surprising and interesting this season. And in the final episodes, we kind of get to see how things could have played out if they’d gotten back together from the beginning. For you, what was it like to finally have Jared in a relationship with Michaela and what do you think about them ultimately not ending up together?

J.R.: Okay. Well, I mean, as the world knows, Mel [Melissa Roxburgh] and I have been in a relationship on and off for a very long time. So it was a very beautiful thing to be able to kind of just play that part that we’ve been teasing at for so long. I thought that we were definitely — after everything that these two human beings have been through, I’m like, they’re gonna definitely end up together. Come on. There’s no possible way. But when you think you know something, it tends to throw you a curveball. Having to balance the notion of Drea being pregnant and Jared and Mick finally finding some sort of happiness. Even when they were together, there was a gut feeling like something here doesn’t feel right. I knew something was gonna happen. And then the whole Drea pregnancy came and even with all that I didn’t expect [and] didn’t see the finale happening the way it did.

I think it ended so beautifully. I don’t know how they ended up editing it and how it looks on screen. But on paper and shooting it that night, there’s just such an understanding of these two people going through so much. Him always wanting something that initially, and at the end of the day she didn’t want, which is a family. Having it with Drea. The way they brought it to fruition at the end. They just did such a beautiful job with it all. And I think that the audience is gonna really connect with it hopefully and hopefully be okay with no Jachela ending. It’s just the growth that these two characters have gone through and how it kind of ends is beautiful. I didn’t see it coming, that’s for sure.

NL: We’ve seen Jared always loyal to the Stones, even if it gets him in trouble sometimes.

J.R.: All the time. He needs new friends. I always say, find a couple of new friends, brother. Like go out, go to a bar, have a drink, find a new friend. Like enough. [Laughs]

NL: Why do you think Jared has stuck by them for so long?

J.R.: There has never been another option from day one. The Stones have been his family. This is his blood through and through. Ben, Michaela. These people are everything to him. He’d take a bullet for them, and that’s kind of what you’ve always seen no matter what. There’s been moments of selfishness in his part, I think, through the span of Manifest. When Zeke came in, obviously Zeke is such a beautiful, loving, and wholesome human being. And then Jared has done some stuff that hasn’t tugged the love of the fans’ hearts. So I’ve done a little love and a little hate. But at the end of the day, he will always have the Stones’ back. Michaela will always be the true love of his life. He’s like that crazy uncle that never goes away. There’s just this underlying acceptance of this family for him. That’s what it is. I’ve never even thought about what Jared’s life looks like without them in the picture because this is always what has been on paper.

NL: So do you think even though Jared and Drea end up together that Michaela is the love of Jared’s life?

J.R.: I do. I do think Michaela will always be the love of Jared’s life [because of] everything these two humans have been through together. I remember our showrunner [Jeff Rake] coming to us and saying, “You guys, that scene at the airport at the end, you guys did everything through your eyes. You spoke through your eyes and that’s all you could ask for.” There was no argument, there was no fight when she said, “You’re not the one, there’s someone better for you out there.” I think what he actually said to her [in response] was, “How the hell do you know?” Like how do you know that? But there was also an acceptance. This is not the same soul, this is not the same eyes, something here happened [during the] two and a half hour journey.

She always comes to him when there’s pain, when there’s turmoil, when she needs something. That’s not the basis of a proper, lengthy, healthy marriage. But again, she is the love of his life. There’s all this stuff that has happened and all these beautiful colors that have been put on paper for all these seasons. Looking back at it when I first read [the script], I was like, you gotta be kidding me. But looking back at it, I actually really love the way [it] ended. Because it [shows] the audience not everything is perfect and sometimes humans come into your life that you love the sh-t out of and you think they’re gonna be the ones, but they ended up just being in your life to really teach you something. And I think these two people will always be best friends, they’ve learned so much about who they are because of each other.

NL: I’m a ship person, so I can ship one couple over the other. But I was really struggling with Manifest. I love Jared and I love Zeke. I don’t know who I like more, and that’s props to you guys as actors.

J.R.: I mean, I ship Zeke [and Michaela]. I say it sometimes. I always get in trouble. Jared’s just complicated and the relationship between them was always just unfortunate. Like, yeah, it was beautiful. [But also] that turmoil and the complexities make for good television. But for stability and love, I was like, pick that guy.

NL: The ending is a bit open ended and Jared is still not going to escape 828 even in this new reality. Do you know where your character would have gone from there? Did showrunner Jeff Rake tell you where he sees the character going forward?

J.R.: No. I mean, there were talks about maybe doing some more stuff after that. I think if there was any kind of spinoff or anything like that it would be maybe with Vance’s character or something like that. I don’t think there would be [though]. Again, I think they did a really good job of kind of giving you exactly enough to tie the knot. I mean, I guess you would see the relationship blossom between him and Drea. I remember the last moment when they were in the airport. I had a long talk with Ellen [Tamaki] about trying to bring in a little bit of quirkiness and a different kind of tone to their voices to give a little bit of a taste to the audience of why they ended up having relationship unfold the way it did.

MANIFEST SEASON 04. (L to R) Josh Dallas as Ben Stone, J.R. Ramirez as Jared Vasquez, Ty Doran as Cal Stone, and Parveen Kaur as Saanvhi Bahl in Manifest Season 04. Cr. Scott McDermott Netflix © 2022
MANIFEST SEASON 04. (L to R) Josh Dallas as Ben Stone, J.R. Ramirez as Jared Vasquez, Ty Doran as Cal Stone, and Parveen Kaur as Saanvhi Bahl in Manifest Season 04. Cr. Scott McDermott Netflix © 2022 /

NL: Do you have a favorite moment overall from the series or a favorite trait about Jared that you loved playing?

J.R.: I’ve considered myself to be a very loyal person. I’ve also played a lot of loyal characters. Jared’s very through and through. He could be selfish at times and make it about himself. But there was always a sense of loyalty to him, to this family, and to Michaela. And I don’t think anybody would say otherwise. I say that to say second season when — I got a lot of hate mail for it and I loved it. When he got to go undercover. I kind of tried to do my best to get the audience to believe that he was bad. That was so much freaking fun. I loved it. I loved every moment of it. It was a lot of fun to kind of play this double agent. I got a little bit of hate mail for a little while about it. They’re like, I knew you were bad. I was like, yes, bring it. Keep it coming. And everyone’s like, you got issues man. Matt [Long] was just like, I can’t believe you like that. I was like, I love it. Even [before], I played thugs that were still like loyal and likable. I’ve always played likable characters.

And the most important and special moment for me through this entire journey was when they were able to introduce my family. Just to give a little spice of my culture and be able to speak a little bit of our language. That was so freaking rewarding. And to this day, I still give Jeff a big old hug about it. And Carlos is amazing, the guy that played my dad. He’s been working for so long, we connected right away. [At first] they brought [the script] to us and whoever did the Spanish was not very authentic. And we told Jeff, I was like, dude, this doesn’t work. And he’s like, write it and send it to me. And literally, I mean I think 99% of what Carlos and I wrote made it on screen. This job has been so collaborative and the egos have been put at the door. And I think it speaks for the final product of what it is because everyone has really just come to work with their best hand forth and the collaboration from our showrunner to every writer. It’s a rarity. So we’re very, very blessed. But I would say, being able to bring some Cubanism to Manifest was fantastic.

NL: What was it like to be directed by both Josh Dallas and Melissa?

NL: This is a good one. I’ll start with Josh. Josh is a trooper man. He’s such an incredible — he’s so talented and he’s just so lovable. He’s just all love. And he was constantly checking in on us, constantly making sure we were good. He was so good and he worked so hard to be able to have a very clear understanding of the vision he wanted for that episode. And it was just really fun to see him. He was like a little kid on set and I’d never seen him so giddy. He was so excited and happy and it was just really cool.

And the other one, too. I was like, I’m gonna be drunk the entire week to have to have my girl tell me how to do things. This is going to be a disaster. I’m gonna get fired finally. [Laughs] But no, I’m just kidding. She was awesome. She was so nervous and she stepped up and killed it. To see her take charge of a mostly male dominated set and just get in there and have a clear intention of what she wanted and the shot she wanted. She was very specific about trying to get creative. I think both of them did a really good job of being creative and bringing a different spice of what you normally see and how you normally see it. So I think they both have a beautiful future in that. And it was just so cool to see them kind of step into it and kick ass because I’ve seen a little bit of both of their episodes and they did a fantastic job.

NL: What do you hope viewers are going to take away from the series?

J.R.: I think the main through line of how this whole show kind of wraps up, it will speak to everybody in the sense that everybody will connect to the humanity of what the story actually meant. The dedication, the hard work these humans went through to try to love each other and pull through. I just think there’s a little bit of everything for everyone in the last 10 [episodes] in a sense of [the characters] trying to be better people, and love each other and put love first and put family first. It’s all about humanity at the end of the day. And like I said before, I think they find such a beautiful way to give you enough for you to fill in the blanks in a way that you’re not left with wanting to know more. Or I hope. That’s a hard balance to do and it’s a hard show to wrap up. I don’t know how the heck they were able to do it. But I hope that people leave here satisfied and content with the way it ended because it could have been a disaster. Let’s be real. Look at Lost. In my opinion, Lost was great, but I didn’t really like the ending. Sometimes they try to do too much and I feel like they did a really good job at keeping it grounded and keeping it about relationships and keeping it about love and, and it allows the audience to really fill in the rest.

NL: Is there anything we can see you in next? What projects do you have coming up?

J.R.: No, actually. I took a little bit of break. I am working on the production side of things. I want to get behind the camera. Eventually, I’d like to direct. I just haven’t caught the bug yet. I’ve got a couple of stories that I am working with my team on creating. And yeah, we’re just trying to get some stuff off the ground right now. I’m optioning a book, I’m just trying to produce, trying to get behind the scenes. So I want to start creating my own content, have my own narrative, have my own control at the edit because it’s tough sometimes. You sit there and you work hours on end and you give them so much and they end up chopping up and using [takes] sometimes you can be unhappy about. Thank goodness Manifest hasn’t really been much of that. So I’m kind of sitting back and really making the next decision be a meaningful one. I want to do something very different that no one’s seen me do.

NL: Well, even if you’re behind the scenes, we’re going to keep supporting you of course!

J.R.: I appreciate it. Thank you.

All four seasons of Manifest are now streaming on Netflix.

Next. Manifest season 4 part 2 recap guide: All 10 episodes explained. dark