The historical drama series The Chosen completed filming its third season in September 2022 and released the two first episodes on Utah theaters on Friday, Nov. 18.
The Chosen, an Angel Studios original show, was directed and co-written by American filmmaker Dallas Jenkins. It has been translated into 62 languages and is free to watch and available on multiple streaming services.
BYU student Ellie Clark attended the premiere with her family and said after watching the first two episodes of the season she felt motivated to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“There was a scene where the Lord is talking to James about how being healed is something that doesn’t happen for some people on this life but that just because it doesn’t happen doesn’t mean you’re not worth it, it actually means that the Lord has a work for you,” Clark said.
Clark explained that for many years she felt she wasn’t going to go on a mission for the Church because she wasn’t physically or mentally healthy enough. However, she said she never felt the Spirit like that before and she decided to serve a mission as a result of watching the series.
“The first two episodes were so beautiful,” Clark’s mom, Heather Clark said. “I think so many people are going to be directly touched just like my daughter.”
She also said she loves that the creators of the show are Christians, but not members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-say Saints because to her, it reinforces that Jesus is for everyone.
“This means to me that the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is bigger than just what we speak here in Utah,” Clark said.
The Chosen series fan Katie Young also attended the season premiere on Friday and said the first two episodes “were brilliant.”
“They were incredible and each season is so different,” Young said.
The Chosen Q&A with Dallas Jenkins
How would you describe Season 3?
“The theme of Season 3 is ‘Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.’ The honeymoon phase is over, now the characters all have to deal with the costs and occasional confusions of following the Messiah.”
What makes Season 3 unique or different compared to previous seasons?
“On one hand, there’s a little more pain this season. More questions, more challenges to Jesus. On the other hand, that makes the victories that much sweeter.”
“We also see worlds collide a little more this season. The Romans with the Jews, the Pharisees in their pursuit of Jesus. We also see a few new characters fans will be excited about.”
How do you hope audiences react to Season 3?
“I hope fans recognize that our show isn’t ‘miracle of the week.’ Yes, the big Bible scenes are fun, and the Jesus miracles are always exciting. But what makes The Chosen unique, and what I believe makes those big moments more impactful, is the time we take with the characters. We’re in this for the long haul, and we take our time to connect the viewer to those who encounter Jesus. I believe there are more scenes than ever this year that viewers will watch and respond with, ‘That’s me.’”
What’s been your greatest challenge or accomplishment during the filming of Season 3?
“The filming of the Feeding of the 5,000 was by far the hardest thing I’ve ever done and likely ever will do as a director. The heat, the responsibility for giving a good experience to thousands of people, the complexity and size of the scenes…overwhelming. But I have hope the final product will bear fruit. It’s going to be quite a Season finale!”
How do you plan to release Season 3? Will there be anything different about your release plan?
“We intend to launch the first two episodes as a theatrical experience. Season 3 has a bit of a ‘squad goals’ vibe to it, between the disciples being officially formed as a group and the gathering of thousands of people for both the Sermon on the Mount and the Feeding of the 5,000. So, why not have our fans gather together to watch as well?”
“I also hope we can release the final two episodes in theaters, too. The Feeding of the 5,000 demands to be seen on the big screen.”
Now the disciples are well-established characters, how will that affect the way you tell the story in Season 3?
“Now we don’t have to take as much time introducing you to who they are. The audience knows them and connects with them, so now we get to walk with them and connect with them on a deeper level. It’s been fun to be able to go deeper. Like with any show you love, growing with the main characters is what keeps you going from season to season.”
This season, Jesus sends his disciples out two-by-two. What’s the significance of your specific pairings of the disciples?
“The Bible doesn’t specify who was paired up with who, so we had fun figuring out interesting combinations and exploring the outcomes of that. We feel like we could do spin-off shows or movies with some of these pairings.”
“Now, to be clear, we don’t spend a ton of screen time on their experiences. But the aftermath of it impacts and changes them.”
The Chosen has always featured women characters prominently during Jesus’ ministry, what can we expect from them this season?
“This season you see the women characters start to experience some of the same things as the men. Not just the closeness but also the bickering and tension. I think it would be patronizing to give women more screen time than they normally get in a Bible project but then make them sweet and wonderful all the time. So, we show all of them experience their own struggles and neuroses, but it just looks a little different from a female perspective than a male one. Our actresses were pretty excited to dig in this year.”
Season 3 includes Jesus’ miracle of the Feeding of the 5,000. What is the significance of that miracle, and how did you approach it?
“Like with any miracles we portray in The Chosen, it’s less about the miracle than about the specific impact on the people involved. We approached it from the perspective of, ‘How do we make this matter?’ We worked hard to make the miracle more than just something cool Jesus did to satisfy some hunger. From the sermon he preached, to the experience of the disciples, to the setting and circumstances that resulted in thousands of people gathering, we put a ton of time into making this miracle the natural result of multiple storylines.”
Simon and Eden’s relationship will be featured more prominently in Season 3. What can you tell us about that, and what informed you as you were writing for them?
“Most people in the world get married, so it makes sense that if we’re going to explore relatable themes and storylines in a Jesus show, we need to see Jesus through the lens of a marriage. Season 3 features a glimpse at many of the issues married couples face, both good and bad: romance, arguments, sex, distance and, yes, pain.”
“Obviously, as a married man of 25 years, many of my own experiences inform the Simon and Eden scenes. And I can promise you, there will be a few scenes where viewers feel like we were copying their own experiences. During filming, multiple crew members said, ‘Did you have a recording from my home?’”
Judas’ story line picks up with him joining the disciples in Season 3. What should we expect from his character at this stage in the game?
“The Judas storyline is a tricky one. Not only do we need to make it compelling for the audience when they already know the tragic end, we need to answer a few questions that aren’t in the Bible. When did Judas decide to break bad, and what was his motivation?”
“We do have it planned out, and we like where it’s going. But for us as writers and Luke as an actor, we have to treat Season 3 as though we don’t know the future. What I can tell you is that Season 3 shows why Judas would have been trusted and liked by the other disciples, and why he would have enthusiastically followed Jesus. But it also shows some of the seeds that get planted that will grow in future seasons.”
Are there any specific disciples that you feature more prominently this season?
Our so-called main characters among Jesus’ followers remain Simon, Matthew and Mary Magdalene, with Andrew as an additional key figure, obviously. As to the others, I’d say Little James has what I believe will be one of the most memorable scenes of the season.