By DeWayne Hamby

As the highly anticipated third season of the popular streaming series “The Chosen” releases in theaters on November 18, producers are preparing behind the scenes for further growth and expansion of the franchise, including spinoffs, sequels, and even an animated series.

According to creator Dallas Jenkins, the new season focuses on how Jesus’ followers “deal with the costs and occasional confusions of following the Messiah.” While he added the show isn’t meant to be a “miracle of the week,” the season’s big event was the Feeding of the 5,000 at the production’s new home in Midlothian, Texas. Fans and supporters of the series were given the chance to “pay it forward” by donating toward the project for the opportunity to be an extra on set. The response was more than they could have hoped for.

“It was extraordinary watching 12,000 people over the course of three days come in—in home-designed costumes,” Producer Katherine Warnock said. “You could tell they spent hours and hours putting them together . . . just to be part of it. (They booked) their hotels, rented their own cars, took their own buses to partake in scorching heat in the blazing hot sun.”

The new set was constructed on the campus of the Salvation Army Camp Hoblitzelle, which saw bookings drop to zero during the pandemic. When Jenkins mentioned in a social media video that the series was looking for a permanent home, a member of the camp’s executive board contacted The Chosen team.

“These camps are wholly dependent upon their summer programs to sustain the budgets throughout the year, and now they don’t have it,” explained Brad Pelo, executive producer and president. “They were saying, ‘How would God have us use this resource (Salvation Army) as a Christian organization?’ And they felt like maybe God has a purpose and a plan.”

Currently, that plan will include at least an additional four seasons of “The Chosen,” some spinoff projects, such as the new documentary “Unfiltered: Gen Z Reacts to The Chosen,” another documentary series with lead actor Jonathan Roumie (Jesus), a cast documentary in Israel, and even an animated series.

Even with so many projects on the horizon, Warnock, whose job it is to “build out the IP,” is quick to point out the producers are keeping their focus on a mission of promoting “the authentic Jesus.”

“The core of our DNA at The Chosen is working,” she said. “We are not in a hurry to arrive anywhere. When we say we are truly trying to reach a billion people with the authentic Jesus, we unequivocally mean it. Literally everything has to be accountable to that.”

Jenkins also said the crew is “in this for 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.’”

“The Chosen: Season 3” will premiere in theaters as a Fathom Events presentation, combining the first two episodes for a 1 hour 49 minute runtime, beginning Nov. 18 and running through Nov. 24. Last December, “Christmas with The Chosen: The Messengers” broke records for Fathom, earning $13.5 million in ticket sales.