Netflix has made it official. The Internet entertainment service has ordered Messiah, a present-day Jesus drama series from writer Michael Petroni (The Book Thief) and producers Mark Burnett and Roma Downey. Deadline previously reported the series was in the works. In addition, Sense 8 and V for Vendetta helmer James McTeigue has signed on as a director and executive producer. Netflix is slated to premiere the series worldwide in 2019.
Created by Petroni who also wrote the first episode, the 10-episode Messiah explores the lines among religion, faith and politics. It chronicles the modern world’s reaction to a man who first appears in the Middle East creating a groundswell of followers around him claiming he is the Messiah. Is he sent from God or is he a dangerous fraud bent on dismantling the world’s geopolitical order? The story unfolds from multiple points of view, including a young CIA agent, an Israeli Shin Bet officer, a Latino preacher and his Texan daughter, a Palestinian refugee and the media, among others.
Petroni is executive producing with Andrew Deane of Industry Entertainment as well as Burnett and Downey through Burnett and Downey’s LightWorkers Media, a division of MGM. Petroni previously co-created and executive produced and Deane co-produced ABC’s 2003 drama series Miracles, which investigated modern miracles for the Catholic Church.
“Messiah promises to be a fascinating series for viewers of every faith, and a thrilling drama filled with multi-layered characters set on a global stage,” said Cindy Holland, Vice President, Original Content for Netflix.
Said Petroni, “Messiah will have every viewer asking the question ‘is he or isn’t he?’ How you answer that question may reveal more about you than it does about the show. Messiah challenges us to examine what we believe and why.”
“Messiah is a series that will have the audience asking big questions. What if someone showed up in 2018 amid strange occurrences and was thought to be the Messiah? What would society do? How would the media cover him? Would millions simply quit work? Could government’s collapse?” said Downey and Burnett. “It’s a series that could change everything.”