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Unlike ever before, Disney+ is entering the world of reality television through a fictional, immersive lens. The streaming service’s first ever reality competition show, The Quest, introduces eight teenagers to the world of Everealm, where fantasy and magic are at every turn. These teens must compete as Paladins, battling it out in challenges to prevent an evil sorceress from causing destruction. In the end, only one Paladin becomes the ultimate hero of Everealm. 

The Quest previously ran on ABC for one season in 2014, but this new addition presents a completely evolved version of the series’ original concept.

We spoke with executive producers Mark Ordesky and Jane Fleming, known for their work on The Lord of the Rings and the original version of The Quest, to discuss what viewers can expect from Disney+’s latest series.

The Quest is a very fresh idea for Disney+, incorporating a reality competition series with an immersive fantasy world. How did the idea of blending these two genres come about?

During pre-production of The Lord Of The Rings, we thought how cool it would be if real people could have a fantasy training camp like the LOTR actors did. We developed that idea with our friends at Scout Productions (Queer Eye) and New Media Collective (The Amazing Race), with the goal of immersing real people in a 360° fantasy adventure in which they are prophesied heroes who must save a kingdom. A real life hero’s journey for real people.

The Quest is making history as the first reality competition series to debut as original programming on Disney+. What made Disney+ the best home for The Quest? 

We are so proud to be the flagship reality competition show for Disney+. The ambition and imagination of The Quest could only have been achieved with Disney’s vision and support. And we know families worldwide look to Disney+ for the best in entertainment.

There is something so magical about a series being unscripted, but there is also a great feeling of escapism with scripted content. What intrigued you about connecting the two together? 

The scripted content weaving through the contestants’ experience not only heightens their stakes, it increases excitement for the audience at home who sometimes know more than the contestants. As everyone will see when they watch the whole series, the contestants become a bigger and bigger part of the world and ultimately are solely in charge of whether this will be a happy ending.

The series was filmed at a castle. What was it like to shoot at this location? 

The castle itself was beautiful and its underground was full of tunnels and many hidden rooms. And the fact that it was tucked back into hilly wine country meant there weren’t modern distractions marring the beautiful landscape for our contestants.

The Quest Revival Brings Fantasy and Reality Competition to Disney+ - Nerd  Reactor

There are a lot of different competitions on this show! Is there a personal favorite of yours that we should keep an eye out for? 

We can’t really say without spoilers! But in the trailer you catch a glimpse of a maze that’s pretty spectacular.

Eight teenagers are competing for the crown. Because of the series’ reality TV roots, can we expect any drama to occur among the contestants? 

The immersive concept of the show meant we had very little interaction with the contestants. This was their experience and the drama really unfolds from how they each evolve through their journey.

There appears to be more amazing visual effects than any other reality show I’ve seen. What was it like to watch this fantastical environment come to life? 

You glimpse in the trailer a magical dome manifesting over the castle. It’s just one example of our commitment to a seamless fusion of practical FX that the contestants experience live that we later enhanced with digital VFX for the audience at home in a spectacular way. 

What do you hope viewers take away from The Quest? 

Everyone has a hero within and it only takes imagination to access it.

All eight episodes of The Quest are now streaming on Disney+.