The Serie 1899 Netflix is perhaps one of the most complicated and enigmatic stories on the platform. With its mixture of suspense, horror and philosophical approaches, it has become the new obsession of fans. At the same time, in a well-constructed piece that analyzes the conception of reality through all kinds of symbols and levels of interpretation.
However, for the creators Jantje Friese and Baran bo Odar, the same people behind the success of Dark, the series is not just a scenario of inexplicable events. It is a direct, complicated and most of the time painful confrontation, with the idea of time and dramatic events. This is how they explained it in an extensive interview in Deadlinein which they also point out that they relied on some real events for their argument.
Specifically, in migratory crises, the perception of ethnic difference and the conception of emotional pain as part of major decisions. For the duo of creators, 1899 it is a journey through the human faced with the worst situations, but also with a type of extreme existential anguish. Between both things, the series uses the scenario of the enigmatic to narrate something more elaborate. It is a project that tries to build the root of his sense of reality through experience and the power of spirituality to create something more complex.
“We are old school filmmakers. We’re used to going to real places, using real sounds and things like that. That was the plan for this show,” Odar explains. “The pandemic really hit us and we had to discuss how we could do a pan-European show during this time. It was really the worst idea. It was not about time, but about people.”
A realistic setting for the amazing story of 1899
Both creators also made the decision that, despite being in a distant historical setting, 1899 I had to touch on current issues. Therefore, the migratory crises, the social gap in Europe and, especially, the direct consequences of Brexit are included in a peripheral way.
“The whole European perspective was very important to us, not just in terms of the story, but also in the way we were going to produce it,” Friese said. “However, the change of perspective on identity, time and values are elements of considerable importance in the series.”
“We felt that, with the last few years of Europe in decline, we wanted to provide a counterpoint to Brexit and rising nationalism in different countries,” Friese said. For the multi-ethnic creator, crew and passengers of 1899 They were of fundamental importance. “We needed to return to that idea of Europe and Europeans working and creating together,” explained the producers, both of German origin.
For this reason, the importance of emphasizing the different origins of one of the main faces. “Being true to cultures and languages was very important. We didn’t want to have characters from different countries, but that they all speak English,” explains Friese. “We wanted to explore the heart of Europe, where everyone comes from one place and speaks a different language.” For him showrunner, it was also a way of supporting the main idea of the series: the multiplicity of reality. “The multiplicity of languages is considered as different scenarios. Language defines much of your culture and behavior. Something we wanted to show in 1899”.
The real beginning of a fearsome story
As if the above were not enough, the creators also relied on a true event for the central plot of 1899. For the plot thread that tells the transit towards the mystery of the ships Kerberos and Prometheus, they were based on the disappearance of the brig Mary Celeste. It is one of the best-known maritime legends. In late 1872, the ship was found adrift with no trace of its crew or passengers. In fact, only her personal items were found intact.
The mystery has been part of all kinds of speculation for years, but there is still no clear answer as to what happened. “We wanted to give the series that same air of enduring mystery,” Odar explained. “Kerberos and Prometheus are destined to become legends too, albeit of a different kind. Something we wanted to show on the show.”