Aneurin Barnard, Emily Beecham, Andreas Pietschmann in 1899

Wait, Is Netflix's 1899 Connected To Dark?

Let's unpack it.

by Ani Bundel

Dark was one of Netflix’s sleeper hits that peaked at the right time. The time-traveling/multiverse-inhabiting German drama debuted in 2017, telling the story of a child’s disappearance in Winden. By the time it ended in 2020, it had spanned 160 years, from 1888 to 2053, and encompassed generations of families. Considering it was partially a Victorian era period piece, it’s logical for fans to wonder if the new series from the same creators, Jantje Friese and Baran bo Odar, 1899, is connected to Dark. But of course, nothing is that straightforward.

Warning: Spoilers for 1899 follow. Dark didn’t introduce the 1880s storyline until the show’s final season, bringing the time travel story full circle. Silja, sent from 2053, meets Bartosz and their progeny eventually produces Adam, who sends Silja back to 1888 in 2053. (Trust me, the math checks out.) So fans perked up when Dark’s creators announced their next series would be titled 1899 — many wondered whether the new story would eventually intersect with Dark, or at least exist in the same universe.

However, 1899 doesn’t connect to Winden. Instead, it begins on a steamer ship named Kerberos, bound for New York City from London, filled with European migrants heading to the new world. The series’ main character is Maura (Emily Beecham), who is going to New York to become a doctor. The boat is filled with fascinating characters, including the ship’s brooding German captain, Eyk Larsen; Spanish aristocrat Ángel and his priest, Ramiro; Yuk Je and Ling Yi, who are fleeing Hong Kong; upper-class French newlyweds Lucien and Clémence; and a whole passel of very religious Danish people fleeing persecution.

They all find themselves forced to work together when the Kerberos receives a distress call from a fellow streamer believed to have sunk a few months back. They find a ghost ship that brings thick fog, more mysteries than should be legal for one series, and eventually, a mutiny as people start to perish.

Like Dark, 1899 is a puzzlebox mystery with clues everywhere. (By the middle of the season, fans will be going full Pepe Silvia to try and keep track of all the different threads and how they intersect.) But one question isn’t addressed onscreen, especially once time travel rears its head: Is this somehow tied back to the time machine invented in Winden?

The answer is no, at least not yet — although the season’s final reveal (which I will not spoil here) doesn’t necessarily rule it out. However, Friese and bo Odar already have. Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, bo Odar called it a “bad idea.”

We get that question a lot,” bo Odar said. “So for all the fans out there: Sorry, there won’t be any characters from Dark suddenly appearing on the ship.” That’s a disappointment for viewers who hoped things would eventually connect. But considering that 1899 has enough of its own unanswered questions, perhaps it’s best this one gets taken off the table.

All episodes of 1899 Season 1 are streaming on Netflix.