Netflix’s German hit-series Dark ended only a little while ago, but the creators Jantje Friese and Baran bo Odar have known their next project for quite some time. In November 2018, Netflix announced their next series titled 1899 as part of the duo’s overall deal with the streaming service. Additionally, Dark composer Ben Frost will also be joining the crew of 1899.
As the title suggests, the new series will be a period drama and the synopsis, which you will find below, suggests there will be thriller/horror elements to it.
The series is now in production with a large ensemble cast and a small teaser. Here’s what we know thus far from the upcoming series from the creators of Dark and their production company, Dark Ways.
Is there a trailer for 1899?
While not a trailer, Netflix unveiled a small teaser of the upcoming series in May 2021. We wouldn’t expect anything more substantial for a while, as production has just begun.
What’s the plot of 1899?
Netflix’s 1899 comes from the creators of Dark, so we can surely expect something very unique. Showrunners Friese and Odar gave a few hints at the overall direction of the series, albeit without any time travel:
“We don’t repeat ourselves, we really hate that, but it’s going to be a fun puzzle for the audience. We are going back to our mystery roots. All the passengers on the ship are traveling with secrets that they don’t want to get out. It’s built like a puzzle again. Knowing that we did Dark, everyone can be assured that this is going to be something weird and wild and crazy.”
The synopsis of the new series is described as following in the official press release:
“The original series revolves around a migrant steamship heading west to leave the old continent from London to New York. The passengers, a mixed bag of European origins, are united by their hopes and dreams for the new century and their future abroad. When they discover another migrant ship adrift on open sea, their journey takes an unexpected turn. What they find on board will turn their passage to the promised land into a horrifying nightmare.”
In a joint statement, Friese and Odar commented:
“What really made us connect to this idea was the concept of having a truly European show with a mixed cast from different countries. At its heart is the question of what unites us and what divides us. And how fear can be a trigger for the latter.”
They elaborated on the idea later in a 2021 interview to Deadline:
The whole European angle was very important for us, not only story wise but also the way we were going to produce it. It really had to be a European collaboration, not just cast but also crew. We felt that with the past years of Europe being on the decline, we wanted to give a counterpoint to Brexit, and to nationalism rising in different countries, to go back to that idea of Europe and Europeans working and creating together.
What language will 1899 be in?
Showrunners Baran bo Odar and Jantje Friese revealed that 1899 will be entirely multilingual with each actor in the series speaking their native tongue. That will also be how it will be presented on Netflix. Odar and Friese made it very clear that they take the language aspect very seriously and they want to represent every linguistic and cultural aspect as true as possible:
“Being true to the cultures and the languages was really important, we never wanted to have characters from different countries but everyone speaks English, We wanted to explore this heart of Europe, where everyone comes from somewhere else and speaks a different language, and language defines so much of your culture and your behavior.
We just had a reading, partly on zoom, partly with actors who are here [in Germany], and it was such an amazing experience to hear everyone speak in their language, going from Spanish to French to Polish, and have it all come together. I hope it’s going to make English-speaking people learn and love different languages as well.
1899 is pioneering in terms of its commitment to authenticity of language. It’s exciting to be part of a truly international show. There will be points in the show where characters have problems communicating because of the languages – I don’t think it’s something we’ve seen before.”
Who is cast in 1899?
In December 2020, Deadline revealed that Cannes Film Festival award winner Emily Beecham has been cast in 1899, although no details were mentioned about her role. Beecham is known for her roles in Little Joe, The Pursuit of Love and she is set to appear in the upcoming Emma Stone film Cruella. In May 2021, Deadline announced that Dark alum Andreas Pietschmann was also joining the ensemble cast of 1899. Pietschmann played older Jonas in Dark.
In the same announcement, the entire ensemble cast was revealed. Here is the list:
Where is 1899 in production?
As seen in the tweet just above, writing for 1899 started in 2020. As of March 2020, filming was scheduled to begin in February 2021 with prepping starting in September 2020. However, filming seems to have been rescheduled. As of November 2020, according to a job description of a language assistant posted on filmarche.de, production is now set to begin in April 2021 and end by September of the same year. On May 3, 2021 Deadline revealed that production for Netflix’s 1899 had already started in April in Babelsberg Studios, Germany.
On November 24, 2020 showrunner Baran bo Odar revealed on his Instagram that pre-production for 1899 has begun with a lens test, offering us a first glimpse at the costumes and the setting of the show. Sadly, this is not a cast reveal, as the people in the photos are stand-ins.
On January 5, 2021 Baran bo Odar revealed a photo from Shepperton Studios, where the pre-production of the series takes place. He also revealed that the acclaimed VFX studio Framestore will be working on the show. They have worked on such productions as The Witcher, The Boys, Wonder Woman 1984 and much more. According to Odar’s production post, Netflix’s 1899 will use virtual LED sets that are said to be the future of filming and may largely replace green screens in the long run. They were most recently used in Disney’s The Mandalorian.
“It is literally a new way of filmmaking, We spoke with the team behind The Mandalorian, including the DP [Barry Baz Idoine] to understand the technology more. It was clearly challenging for each department, but we love challenges so we wanted to try it for this show.”
Filming for 1899 was initially set to take place all over Europe, but those plans were made before Covid hit the world, so things had to be adjusted and the virtual sets were part of the solution. The showrunners explained that as well in the newest interview:
“We originally planned to travel to Spain, Poland, Scotland, all kinds of locations. Quite quickly [after the pandemic started] we knew that might not be possible in the new future, so we fully embraced the idea of bringing Europe to us.”
How many episodes will 1899 season one have?
1899 will have eight one-hour episodes in its first season. The pilot episode is called “The Ship” as revealed by showrunner Baran bo Odar on his Instagram.
What’s the release date for 1899?
Initially the series was expected to drop on Netflix in 2021, but with an April 2021 production start and a September 2021 wrap, that is now impossible and the first season will certainly be released sometime in 2022.
Our final recommendation for those wanting to keep up-to-date with everything regarding 1899 is to follow the fan account we’ve featured several times throughout this article. You find their latest tweets here.
Are you looking forward to the next project from the creators of Dark? Let us know in the comments.