Movies & Television

Is Netflix's 1899 Based on a True Story?

When Netflix presents an upcoming German mystery from the creators of 2017’s Dark, you know you’re in for a gripping ride. In 1899’s case, it will be a nautical ride traversing the horrors of the open water and we reveal if 1899 is based on a true story and confirm the show’s episode count.

Dark dipped into science-fiction and ran for three seasons on Netflix surrounding a child’s disappearance in the village of Winden, Germany. The series met critical acclaim and was considered to be one of the notable shows of the decade.

Created by Jantje Friese and Baran bo Odar, the German mystery 1899 follows a group of European migrants traveling from London to New York on a steamship within the titular year when their journey turns supernatural and stars Emily Beecham, Andreas Pietschmann, Miguel Bernardeau, Maciej Musia? and more.

1899 | Official Teaser | Netflix

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1899 | Official Teaser | Netflix
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Is 1899 Based on a True Story?

Yes, Netflix’s 1899 is loosely based on a famous voyage transporting European migrants to America during the early 1900s. 

Even though the plot’s summation is based on history, writer Friese has clearly attached a supernatural layer to the narrative.

Shown in the trailer and artwork, a nod to the urban legend, the Bermuda Triangle, is present, where one of the characters is falling within a mirrored image of the sea in the shape of a triangle.

The Bermuda Triangle, also known as the Devil’s Triangle, is a mythical phenomenon that apparently dwells in the western part of the North Atlantic Ocean, stretching from Florida to Bermuda and Puerto Rico. It is reportedly the cause of various unexplained disappearances of ships and aircrafts, but its existence has never been proven.  

The European Migrant Crisis and Brexit Influenced 1899

The mystery was first announced during the European migrant crisis – when a number of Middle-eastern and African citizens were seeking refuge abroad – and this topic not only influenced the plot, but it also encouraged the team to shoot the series multilingual.

Speaking to Deadline, Friese explained the importance of honing this European influence:

“The whole European angle was very important for us, not only story wise but also the way we were going to produce it,” says Friese. “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.”  

1899 – Cr. Netflix © 2022

Netflix’s 1899 Release Date and Episode Count

1899 is scheduled to release on Thursday, November 17, 2022, on Netflix.

The series has eight episodes on offer, and all entries will drop simultaneously on the streaming platform.

Episode 1 is titled “The Ship” and is directed and written by co-creators Odar and Friese.

Dark’s episode runtime had an average 44-73 minutes and we expect 1899 to follow a similar length.

1899 – Cr. Netflix © 2022

By Jo Craig – [email protected]

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Jo Craig
@shingeekyjo

Being a pop culture writer and a proud geek of all trades, Jo loves to dissect fandoms and marvel at their insides. The entirety of The Lord of the Rings, superhero origins, the Ghost of Tsushima score, the Wings of Freedom, and the endless search for a sleepy Tyranitar are but a few of Jo's passions, with a penchant for contributing to the geek culture community.

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