Fans of last year's "The Bible" miniseries will likely be elated to know that a sequel titled "A.D." is heading to NBC next spring, with husband and wife duo Mark Burnett and Roma Downey executive producing the highly anticipated project.
Viewers will notice some key differences between the two series. To begin, a new actor will be portraying Jesus. While Diogo Morgado played Christ in "The Bible" and the "Son of God" feature film, actor Juan Pablo di Pace will be taking up the revered role in the "A.D." project.
Downey told TheBlaze that Morgado was unavailable to play Christ in the new series, which forced her and Burnett to find a replacement.
"We prayed and we had to moved forward. We were thrilled when we saw the audition of the wonderful Argentinian actor Juan Pablo Di Pace," Downey said. "Our prayers were answered. Juan Pablo is very special. He won't disappoint. He brings a special quality to this most-important role."
And there was no shortage of actors interested in taking on the tough task of playing the Christian savior, as Downey explained that the success of "The Bible" led to an influx of performers who were interested in working on the show.
As a result, Downey and Burnett spent months going through readings and auditions — and asking God for guidance in making their final casting selections.
"There is always prayer involved in this process for me, so that I am guided and know the right choices to make," Downey said. "I always take time to stop and check in quietly in prayer before making any major decision."
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In the end, she said that the series will include a diverse pool of talent.
"Christianity is among the most diverse movements in history, and to bring this epic story of 'A.D.' to life on NBC, it was important to bring together a cast as diverse and beautiful as the church itself is around the world," Downey added.
"A.D." will offer viewers a look at the days that followed Jesus' resurrection as well as at the birth and growth of the Christian faith, essentially resuming where "The Bible" left off.
"[It] gives us a front row seat, showing each of us how the holy spirit transformed ordinary men and women into a movement that carries not just his name, but his grace and his truth and his light," Downey told TheBlaze. "We need that light today more than ever."
She said that "A.D." will present a story of hope and courage that can be enjoyed by all audiences. The 12-part miniseries is set to premiere on NBC on Easter Sunday, which is April 5, 2015.