1899: Trailer for period thriller series from Netflix
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Netflix dropped its mind-boggling sci-fi series 1899 last week. Since then, the show has already raced to the top of the streaming platform’s most-watched programmes, even fending off competition from The Crown. 1899 follows the passengers on board the Kerberos, who find their journey to New York waylaid after receiving a distress signal from missing vessel the Prometheus. So, begins a journey down the rabbit hole as audiences attempt to discern reality from dreams.
WARNING: This article contains major spoilers from Dark and 1899
Are 1899 and Dark connected?
1899 has been made by creative duo Baran bo Odar and Jantje Friese, who were also behind the equally perplexing Netflix drama Dark which earned a cult following on the streamer.
The pair have addressed the similarities and differences between their two hit shows with Odar saying in a recent interview: “It’s a very simple answer because a lot of people asked us, [including] fans: None of the characters from Dark will appear in 1899.”
Friese added: “That’s not possible” with Odar saying: “They’re not related.” However, Odar then told Rotten Tomatoes: “Or, will they? Sorry, I know how to tease.”
This leaves the door open for a crossover between the shows – or at least means Dark and 1899 could be part of the same multi-verse created by the pair.
They conceived 1899 prior to Dark, which would suggest they may have had a multi-verse in mind and there are a number of parallels between the two shows.
First and foremost, is the casting of actor Andreas Pietschmann as Captain Eyk Larsen, who played future Jonas in Dark.
Odar and Friese initially didn’t want anyone from Dark in 1899 but ended up settling on the star as their haunted captain.
Given the major role Pietschmann has in both shows, there could definitely be a link between Dark and 1899.
Additionally, Eyk’s dream state sees him running towards his burning house from woods, which look suspiciously similar to the vast forests of Winden.
1899 is concerned with layers of reality – what is real and what is purely in the mind with the audience constantly wrong-footed about their perceived reality.
Indeed, 1899 starts off as a period drama before falling into a science fiction setting in the vein of Westworld, Inception, Black Mirror, Event Horizon and Existenz, to name but a handful of similar films and TV shows.
Characters descended into their dream worlds through hatches on the Kerberos. Daniel Solace (played by Aneurin Barnard) and the Boy (Fflyn Edwards) also travelled through various doors into the other characters’ subconscious worlds.
Similarly, season three of Dark confirmed the existence of three worlds – two of which were an anomaly accidentally created by a scientist trying to discover time travel.
Jonas Kahnwald (Louis Hofmann) and Martha Nielsen (Lisa Vicari) ventured through a portal to the real world from their own mutual realities.
During their journey through the portal, they both saw lots of doors which opened and seemed to present multiple realities and versions of the world – including ones in which both Jonas and Martha existed.
This suggested they were still alive in some form of reality, even if it wasn’t the one they were trying to save by destroying the Knot.
Therefore, there’s nothing to suggest one of those doors in Dark’s portal couldn’t provide a gateway into 1899.
Dark was concerned with the disappearance of Mikkel Nielsen (Daan Lennard Liebrenz), along with other boys in the area.
In comparison, 1899 was about the appearance of the Boy, who was later revealed to be Daniel and Maura Franklin’s (Emily Beecham) son.
Whether this is a recurring theme within Odar and Friese’s work or just a coincidence, both the Boy and Mikkel seem to be the heart of the story.
Additionally, Martha and Jonas’ son the Unknown in Dark was a crucial figure right at the heart of the story as he tried to maintain the Knot – so the Boy could have a bigger role to play later on.
This is more a stylistic choice, it would seem, however, the number three is important to Odar and Friese with both the Knot in Dark and the pyramid in 1899 adhering to the power of three.
Friese has already said they plan to do three seasons of 1899, if the show is recommissioned by Netflix.
While the rules of the worlds of 1899 and Dark may be different, the power of three could be significant to both of them.
Friese said: “So we’re sticking to that concept, because we truly believe that a mystery can only have three seasons, should never have more than three seasons, because in the first season you introduce what it is; in the second season, you have fun with what it is; and in the third season, you have to come to a very good conclusion.”
Other parallels between the two shows include the use of steampunk-esque technology with Daniel’s strange device to control the ship as well as the contraption on board the Kerberos mirroring the time machines in Dark.
Dark also featured dreams right at the beginning with the characters then waking up, creating a neat parallel again to 1899.
Daniel is himself a parallel to future Jonas as the only character who seems to be knowing what’s truly going on and trying to break a loop and events recurring all over again.
1899 and Dark are streaming on Netflix now
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