Netflix just nipped the mystery of 1899 in the bud before its second season hopes grew too tall.
Dark co-creator Baran bo Odar, who similarly co-created 1899 with his romantic partner Jantje Friese, took to Instagram to drop sobering news on fans, announcing the show’s cancellation. As Odar expresses in a shared statement with Friese, “We would have loved to finish this incredible journey with a 2nd and 3rd season as we did with Dark. But sometimes things don’t turn out the way you planned. That’s life.” The duo acknowledged the prospective disappointment of fans, but seemingly concede the show’s fate. “We know this will disappoint millions of fans out there,” he adds. “But we want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts that you were a part of this wonderful adventure. We love you. Never forget.”
1899 premiered on Netflix this past November, promoting what was, on its surface, a maritime Victorian horror tale onboard the Kerberos, a doomed steam-powered passenger ship out of the U.K. bound for New York City. The show, which stars Emily Beecham (Into the Badlands) and Andreas Pietschmann (Dark), showcases a sizable ensemble that’s uniquely diverse when it comes to languages and nationalities. Yet, its perceived status as a period drama would gradually become unfurled as the 8-episode inaugural season progressed, ending on an existentially consequential cliffhanger reveal. Unfortunately, Season 2 — even outside of Netflix — does not seem likely, at least based on the finality implied in Odar’s statement.
Why Did Netflix Cancel 1899?
While no reason was specified for Netflix’s cancellation of the series, it was clearly a lavish production. Indeed, 1899’s budget was reportedly around 50 million euros ($55.35 million at press time), making it the most expensive German television series ever made. Moreover, the series’ Potsdam studio production utilized the same stagecraft technology as the deep-coffered Disney — with its signature stage called The Volume — for Star Wars shows such as The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett. Consequently, in an era of widespread belt-tightening, 1899 needed to put in an exceptionally impressive performance on the streamer. Thus, a renewal would have been an increasingly difficult case to make after another expensive Netflix series in Wednesday dominated the streaming charts.
Just as with the show’s overarching premise, the people in 1899’s passenger manifest are not as they initially appear. The series juggles tangential story arcs for characters such as a wealthy young Spanish con man who travels with a Portuguese priest, a young Geisha girl and her handler, an upper-class Parisian and his young wife and a mysterious stowaway with ominous ties to the couple. Joining stars Beecham and Pietschmann in the show’s colossal cast are names such as Isabella Wei, Gabby Wong, Yann Gael, Mathilde Ollivier, Jonas Bloquet, Miguel Bernardeau, José Pimentão, Aneurin Barnard, Clara Rosager, Maciej Musiał and Lucas Lynggaard Tønnesen.
1899 is currently streaming on Netflix.