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Explanation of the last “ dark ” season: interview with Baran bo Odar and Jantje Friese

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At a time when new genre TV content seems scarce and must be savored at all costs, a specific rabid fandom has a show to sell: Dark, Netflix’s German time travel thriller from the creators Baran bo Odar and Jantje Friese.

Describing the premises of the series seems almost impossible. You have to watch it. Even after looking at it, there is no superficial consideration of its events; each character who lives in the fictional town of Winden, Germany, is strongly influenced by each other, whether it is because someone is secretly the father of someone else who travels back in time or, more still strange, their own time-traveling granddaughter. (Seriously, if someone can please step in and explain the Elisabeth / Charlotte Doppler effect, slide here.)

So to move forward, suppose you watched all of Dark. No doubt you have questions about your mind, about the two new worlds introduced in the final season, how the Dark The production team concretized the parallel universe, what the final sacrifice of Jonas and Martha meant, the logic behind the scene of the final dinner, and above all this: is there more in history? Is the last season really the last season, or will the cycle continue, as it does endlessly in the context of history? For answers to these questions and more, The Hollywood Reporter turned to Odar and Friese for a closer look at the last season of Dark.

Have you always wanted to introduce several worlds from the start?

Jantje Friese: We wanted to introduce the parallel world in the second season. It was the original plan. When we got to the second season, we changed it again. We thought it was best to move the pieces of the puzzle. There were a lot of [directions] we knew we wanted to go, but we didn’t necessarily know when in the narrative we were going to approach them. As you know with Dark, you don’t have the simple story where you can go from one thing to another. We come and go. It was the biggest structural problem: when do we reveal what? We knew some of them. Some of them were developed throughout the process.

Do you wish there were more than three seasons to explore history?

Frisian: It was absolutely the perfect amount. Anything else would have felt like stretching it unnecessarily and making it more narratively complicated. We love symbolism and we believe that you must be faithful to the symbols that you have. The triquetra and things that happen in three are part of it. It would have been like selling our souls and not delivering what we wanted to do [if we had more seasons]. This seems entirely fair and satisfactory.

What were the biggest challenges in establishing the parallel world?

Baran bo Odar: Since we have so many different timelines and characters, we would find things like, if we use one color in this decade, we won’t use it in another. It was really difficult for us in the third season to establish another world with maybe even other deadlines. Speaking of a mirror world, however, we wanted to use this trick and actually reflect the images. To reflect the world we know, we could do it by reconstructing all the sets. For example, if a staircase goes from left to right, in the other world, it would go from right to left. If a door was on the left side, then it would be on the right side in the other world. We realized that it was crazy to do about costs. We already have so many deadlines; reorganize them for other chronologies, then build them for mirroring? Foolish.

How did you do it?

Odar: We reflected the image in the camera. The actors had to act as if they were in a mirrored world. If they are right-handed, they had to act with their left hand, even if it looks like they are right-handed. I love challenges and get bored very easily, even on set. It was a challenge that I really love. It was something to give to the actors. At first they were like, “Really? We have to do this?” But they also loved it. It was such an interesting challenge. Very simple things like opening a door, you have to do it with your left hand. You can try this for a day, and it’s really awkward to do if you’re not left-handed. We had to take cars from England for a few shots where the steering wheel had to be on the other side. It was really fun. Sometimes on the set, the actors delivered a very good performance, but they used the wrong hand. They said, “Damn it! I used the wrong hand!” ((Laughs.) It was very fun.

Frisian: Some people have already found a lot of pictures and paintings that we have used [throughout the series]. The idea of ​​the three worlds is constantly shown in the second season, through the image in the book that the young Elisabeth reads. There is an image with three worlds. You see Adam blowing the wind on one world, and on the other, you see Eva blowing the wind on the other world. Then you have the original world in the middle. There are all these images, and even in the dialogue, clues that reveal it. But you can only read it once you see how it ends. Once you’ve seen it again, it’s obviously a lot of fun to find all these little things.

Jonas and Martha sacrifice themselves and their own world in order to stop the loop and save the original world. Do you see it as a happy ending?

Odar: I definitely consider it a happy ending, although you can also interpret it as a suicide mission, of course. I always liked the idea that there are two components that are adversaries, who fight each other all the time, in fact realizing that they are not important. They must realize that, yes, we are suffering and we have pain and desires, but the two of us are not so important that we have to exist so that someone else cannot be happy. For me, it’s a very happy ending, realizing that it doesn’t concern you all the time. You can actually do something good by not being there for someone else to be lucky and happy. This gives this other world a huge chance. I always liked this idea. This is why, for me, it is a very happy end, even if it is very sad.

Frisian: I completely agree. What resonates with many viewers is this feeling that we sometimes have: do we matter? Can we change something? Do I really have free will? What is it like to be almost in prison, because you can’t get out of yourself? How can I overcome always reacting in the same patterns to certain situations? How can I free myself from my reactions to certain impulses? Letting it all go, for me, is very satisfying.

The series ends with a dinner in the original world. Was this scene still part of the plan or was it something that developed in the writing?

Frisian: It was one of the things we always wanted to do. We always knew we wanted to save Regina. That’s what Claudia wanted to achieve. We wanted to make sure we got there. We wanted to end on something that seems normal. We wanted it to be something that everyone could relate to: a dinner with family and friends.

Hannah reveals that she thinks of Jonah as a name for her unborn child. Is there a note of hope in your mind?

Frisian: We strongly believe in ambivalence. We don’t think there is a single answer to one thing. It concerns everything. It is both hopeful and ominous. In other [projects] we did before, we don’t like to finish on one point. We put a point, wait a bit, then we put a question mark at the end. It’s just a nice shade to end with.

Odar: It is really up to the public to respond. I have an answer, but it’s very personal. You might have an answer, and it’s very personal. This is the beauty of the narration. You will have something very personal to the story. It’s the same with Blade Runner, and how there are still people who think that Harrison Ford is not a replica; where I think, “How can you think that he is not a replicant?” It’s the beauty of this story, that there is an amrk question.

Frisian: It’s a good thing because it helps you see who you are. By making this choice and what you read in it, you learn something about yourself.

How did Woller lose his eye?

Odar: The question on Woller’s eye is the question of whether there is a god or not? For us, it’s a metaphor. You can never give a satisfactory answer. You will never know the answer. That’s what we like about this thing. We know people will go crazy about it, but we always knew it would be our answer: we don’t have an answer because we don’t know if there is a god or not.

Frisian: There had to be a scene in season two that was interrupted. There are stories that endure while there are still open questions. This is why we decided not to show it.

That said, is there still a story to tell in the universe of Darkor do you feel closed at this point? Do you think you’ve said all there is to say about these characters and this world?

Frisian: I think there is a lot say. I love that there is so much fan fiction out there. I think it’s great. People write stories about the relationship between Aleksander and Regina, and stuff like that. I think it’s great. If you leave enough room for people to devote their own creativity to it … that way, it lives. But I don’t want to fill these gaps.



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