The Quest Revival Brings Fantasy and Reality Competition to Disney+

THE QUEST – The Paladins begin their first quest, retrieving the gem of courage from the witch of Fortiteer. (Disney/Allyson Riggs)

The Quest is a fantasy and reality competition show that aired on ABC in 2014. It featured contestants as they try to become the savior of Everealm, a magical land where a sinister force is brewing. (In reality, it was filmed mostly in Austria.) The series’ production team consisted of producers who have worked on The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Amazing Race and Queer Eye. The series is getting revived on Disney+ featuring younger contestants from across the nation.

The New Media Collective’s Elise Doganieri is one of the executive producers of the show. She co-created The Amazing Race, so she knows a thing or two about reality competitions.

“In the first several episodes, there are different stones that they’re going to be getting that have different virtues: strength, bravery,” Doganieri tells Nerd Reactor about the challenges during WonderCon 2022. “We knew what the decided meaning of this challenge would be. So who was the bravest? Who was the quickest? Who was the fastest? Who looked at this and said, ‘it’s there?’ It’s based on that. And did they work as a team? Sometimes two people are winning. So it’s really about character building, and that immersion, that feeling that you just did something that made something good happen. Or you failed at it, and now you’ve got to go back and figure out why it didn’t work, and what can you do to fix that. Hope that makes sense. I don’t want to give too much away.”

Scout Production Inc’s Michael Williams (Queer Eye) talks about how both shows feature contestants who enjoy fantasy.

“Even with the first original show, you needed people who had a love of fantasy,” Williams tells us. “Cosplay, people who liked going to ren faires, playing characters, reading Harry Potter books, going to movies, people be just like him. And I was not that person at all. Ever. I’d never watched fantasy things like that. And it’s just that passion. And we strove to have a diverse group of contestants, both diverse ethnically and diverse geographically. We go from New Hampshire to California to Texas to Washington State.”

THE QUEST – Dravus speaks to the Paladins. (Disney/Allyson Riggs)

Mark Ordesky is an executive producer for The Lord of the Rings trilogy. He’s also an executive producer for The Quest along with his Court Five partner Jane Fleming.

“This iteration of The Quest is a much more sophisticated, scripted, unscripted story device,” Fleming tells Nerd Reactor. “The scripted content exists both as it integrates with reality and in its own trajectory if that makes sense. The realities sort of weave through that. And then there’s an intersection point, which I won’t ruin. But really, towards the end, they really become one. One adventure.”

“There are moments of spontaneity where certain scripted things that some Paladins might notice, and others might not notice,” Ordesky said. “So there are audibles that can happen sometimes with the scripted characters’ interactions, things that we couldn’t have predicted.”

THE QUEST – King Silas request Mila and Dravus get the Paladins prepared for their quest (Disney/Allyson Riggs)

“It’s like going to a foreign country,” Fleming said. “You get trapped in a foreign country, it happens to be Everealm. And you have to figure out what is this world? Who are these people? What’s my role in it? And so some of that is explained to them, but some of it is they’re trying to figure it out along the way. Who’s good? Who’s bad? Is there romance? What do we do? You know, what’s expected of us? Are we winning? Are we losing? Are we doing it right? It’s all of that. I really think it’s like being dropped into a country you don’t really know how to speak the language of.”

Doganieri mentioned that the revival will have more team building, and there won’t be eliminations.

“But these kids, they forget the cameras there,” Doganieri said. “They’re there for the mission. They’re there to save Everealm. These kids love fantasy, and they just wanted to be in it. So when somebody fails with something or doesn’t do well, they are heartbroken. The wonderful thing is nobody gets eliminated. So they have time to regroup, reconnect and rebuild their teammates.”

About The Quest

The Quest is a ground-breaking immersive series that drops 8 teens into the fantastic, fictional world of Everealm, where they must save a Kingdom by fulfilling an ancient prophecy. Throughout the 8-episode series, these heroes are immersed in a fantasy world come to life complete with a Castle, royals, ethereal Fates and a Sorceress intent on destruction and power.

The Quest will premiere on Disney+ on May 11.

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