'The Chosen' season 4 premiere: Dallas Jenkins reflects on journey from 'career failure' to global phenomenon

Dallas Jenkins and Jonathan Roumie seen at 'The Chosen' season 4 premiere at The Theatre at Ace Hotel on January 17, 2024, in Los Angeles, California.
Dallas Jenkins and Jonathan Roumie seen at "The Chosen" season 4 premiere at The Theatre at Ace Hotel on January 17, 2024, in Los Angeles, California. | Eric Charbonneau/Getty Images for One Thirty Agency

LOS ANGELES — When “The Chosen” first launched in 2017, creator Dallas Jenkins had no expectations. 

“In season one, I was coming off of a big career failure,” the 48-year-old director told The Christian Post. “I didn't know what the future was. I didn't care; it was just about, ‘How do I make a good first season that honors God and that is entertaining to watch?’ I have to maintain that today.”

What started as a short film called "The Shepherd" is today a multi-season show about the life of Jesus Christ and His followers. The product of a crowdfunding campaign, "The Chosen" is a global phenomenon, captivating 110 million viewers across 175 countries. On Feb. 1, season 4 will debut in theaters, with episodes 4-6 playing in theaters Feb. 15 and episodes 7-8 debuting Feb. 29. 

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The series, which has been applauded for its attention to detail and commitment to biblical accuracy, will have a total of seven seasons, according to Jenkins, with the final season focusing on the aftermath of Jesus’ crucifixion. 

The magnitude of such a topic isn’t lost on Jenkins. 

“When I'm sitting in front of a blank screen and the cursor is blinking, it doesn't give a rip how successful or not successful my previous work was,” he said at the red carpet premiere of season 4. “At the end of the day, I’ve still got to get season five going. I’ve still got to focus on the work.”

Each season of “The Chosen” explores different aspects of Jesus' ministry and the lives of His disciples, with season 4 centering on Christ as a “man of sorrows” on the path to His crucifixion. For example, the forthcoming season follows Jesus during the final months of His life, depicting the death of John the Baptist and Judas' betrayal.

“It’s by far, the most intense and mature and challenging season" yet, Roumie told CP, adding: “Not just for me, but I think for everybody on the cast and crew. But I think what we created is going to be pretty beautiful.”

The season also focuses on the struggles Jesus’ disciples face as they grapple with what, exactly, it means to follow the Son of God in an increasingly hostile environment. 

“What we realize in this season is, just because Jesus has arrived, that doesn't make life easy,” Noah James, who plays Jesus’ disciple Andrew, told CP. 

“Not all the questions are answered. If anything, it becomes more tumultuous, it becomes more difficult in some ways. There's a lot of wrestling with, ‘I understand this message, I'm trying to integrate it into my life, but all around, wherever we look, people are attacking us, people are wanting us to stop. How do we deal with that?' I think that you notice all the disciples try to reconcile, ‘How do I live the life I know I should with all the pressure around me?’”

Paras Patel, who plays Matthew, a "Chosen" fan-favorite, added that ultimately, the message of the series is about Jesus' love and acceptance, a message that has allowed it to cross cultural, political and religious barriers.

“We all just tried to tell the story the best way we possibly can, and bring our gifts and our love to it,” Patel said. “And I think that's why the show has resonated because we're doing our best to tell it as authentically and humanly as possible.

For Jenkins, the son of Left Behind author Jerry B. Jenkins, “The Chosen” has provided an opportunity to immerse himself in Scripture, especially when tasked with portraying Jesus to the world.

“When you're tasked with portraying Jesus to the world in this way, you better get to know Him,” he said. “In the last five years, I've done a deep dive into the Gospels because of two reasons: one, I'm making a show; I need to do it accurately, and two, it's impacting me as well. I'm learning so much about how intimate of a God Jesus is. 

You see that in the show, you see that in the Gospels. Whether He was calling you, healing you or rebuking you, He knew your heart's cry. He knew what you were going through. He knew what you needed or what you were resisting. That's still true today. So I'm trying to focus on that even as I'm writing and directing a show.”

Jenkins, who is also directing the forthcoming film "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever," based on the bestselling novel by Barbara Robinson, said he’d “like to think” he’s getting better as a director with each season of “The Chosen” — “but I hope season one is still good, even though it was done five years ago.”

“You're always getting better because you're always curious,” he said. “I'm always wanting to learn, even from my own mistakes. So hopefully, each season shows a little bit of that.”

After the show's run in theaters concludes, the fourth season of “The Chosen” will premiere on "The Chosen" app, the Angel app, the show's website and across streaming platforms, VidAngel, Netflix, Peacock, Amazon Prime Video, Roku and BYUtv.

Leah M. Klett is a reporter for The Christian Post. She can be reached at:

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