Photo Credit: Netflix
1899, Netflix's bewildering mystery thriller, has been cancelled after one season. In a statement on Instagram, the show's co-creators Baran bo Odar and Jantje Freise confirmed that the ambitious multilingual series was no longer expanding on its arc, disappointing fans who had been waiting and theorising the show's many unsolved puzzles. While the pair never explicitly revealed a reason for the axing, the statement seems to suggest that Netflix wasn't on board with their ideas for seasons 2 and 3, ultimately pulling the plug on the project itself.
“With a heavy heart, we have to tell you that ‘1899' will not be renewed,” the statement reads. “We would have loved to finish this incredible journey with a second and third season as we did with ‘Dark.' But sometimes things don't turn out the way you planned. That's life.” The creators, who rose to prominence with the German sci-fi series Dark, concluded their say by thanking fans for their support. Taking into account the overwhelming popularity of the show, it's odd to see Netflix coming to this decision. In its first week of release — debuted on November 17, 2022 — the show easily cracked the streamer's Top 10 charts, garnering 79.27 million hours of watch time, sitting behind The Crown season 5. In the week after that, 1899 overtook the British monarchy drama for second place, sitting comfortably behind the record-breaking Jenna Ortega-led Wednesday.
As a follow-up — not connected — to Odar and Freise's Dark, 1899 focused on a group of European emigrants travelling to a new continent, hoping to start new lives, which takes a horrifying turn as they encounter another migrant ship, the Prometheus, pitting the passengers against a mysterious series of events. Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, last year, the creators revealed they had already had plans for the series' direction in the now-cancelled two seasons. “We always like to have an ending before we start. We want to know where we are going. We're moving through a story, and we want to know how it will be resolved in the end,” Freise said in the interview. “In the middle, there may be some ideas that are more loosely thrown in. And as we go through the process, the ideas can shift and move into a different position.”
The eight-episode series featured an ensemble cast, speaking in 12 different languages, as means to represent different European cultures. 1899 was also the first TV series after The Mandalorian to employ the new LED Volume technology to create visual sets, which basically relied on giant digital screens for the background, instead of a green/ blue screen. In order to create a continuity effect when switching between cameras between characters, the crew of the Star Wars show would shoot in one direction on day one, then the opposite on day two. In 1899, however, the crew simply put the screens on a turntable, which allowed them to spin the set around conveniently.
All eight episodes of 1899 are currently streaming on Netflix. The studio hasn't disclosed a reason for the cancellation.
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