Dark seasons one and two spoilers follow.
The German sci-fi thriller became an instant hit, so much so that fans were actively counting down the days until the latest chapter – and it didn't disappoint following that staggering season finale.
It was such a success, even the creators were shocked.
"It’s something you hope for, but it actually hit us really hard,” said co-creator Jantje Friese (via IndieWire). "Two weeks after the release of season one, I was on Twitter honestly 24 hours a day. I was so miserable because… somehow you’re really more prepared for failure then success I guess."
"It was a very, very odd time, but also great to know the fans just embraced what you’ve done so much. It’s heart-wrenching and really put a lot of press pressure on season two. For two or four weeks I was completely lost to the world."
The pressure paid off, with the vast majority of viewers tearing through season two at lightning speed. They are more captivated with the drama then ever before, so it's good news that it's returning for a third (and final) season to tie up any loose ends (there are absolutely loads at this point).
"We will offer answers to the questions that our viewers have been asking and help untangle the story through time," said Dark co-creators and showrunners Jantje Friese and Baran bo Odar (via The Hollywood Reporter).
"It will be hard for us to walk away from those characters we have really grown fond of, but the beginning is the end, and the end is the beginning."
Related: Dark season two's ending explained
"Starting the production of the last season of Dark is much more than just the beginning of the production of the third instalment," said Kelly Luegenbiehl, VP of international originals at Netflix.
"We are literally going full circle with our first German original series and cannot wait for Jantje and Bo to fulfill their vision and reveal the final secrets to the audiences and fans around the globe that have embraced Dark from the start."
So, what can we expect? Here's everything you need to know about Dark season three.
Dark season 3 release date: When will it air?
The first season hit screens back in December 2017, but then fans had to wait more than a year and a half for season two, which landed on June 21, 2019, the day Michael (who is also Mikkel) died by suicide and kickstarted the chain of events. Well played indeed.
But when can we expect season three?
Odar revealed on Instagram at the end of May 2019 that filming was about to begin: "And it's official! We are working on Dark season three. It is the final cycle of this great journey. We always had three seasons in mind when we developed Dark and are happy to tell you that we will start shooting the third and final season in four weeks so we can deliver you guys the final chapter of Dark next year.
"Thank you Netflix for trusting us! Thank you to ALL THE DARK FANS AROUND THE WORLD! You are amazing! We love you!"
While a date hasn't currently been confirmed, many fans believe June 27, 2020 is when the new batch of episodes will be released. That's the day of the apocalypse/the beginning of the last cycle, so it makes a lot of sense — although Netflix might also consider bringing the release forward one day as that date is a Saturday and most shows drop new seasons on Fridays. And of course, there's the unpredictable consequences of the coronavirus throwing a spanner in the works.
Dark season 3 theories and plot: What will happen?
The brains behind the show haven't yet shared any details about the last season, but we can make some educated guesses based on what we've seen so far.
We now know that alternate realities exist, thanks to the very final moment of season two when someone who looks like Martha ("I'm not who you think I am") rocks up and tells young Jonas that she's not from this world.
It's one of the most startling twists in the tale to date, and season three, as the last, will need to clear that up and explain exactly where the pair have gone, how that will affect the rest of the narrative and its characters, and just how many alternate realities (and other time-travelling devices) there are.
We also saw a middle-aged Jonas fire up one time travel device alongside young Magnus, Franziska and Bartosz, and a middle-aged Charlotte came face-to-face with old Elisabeth (who is both her mother and her daughter) through a wormhole. Where they will end up remains to be seen.
Then there's Katharina, who opened the passage in the caves as the apocalypse raged above her – but again, with multiple timelines at play, it'll be fascinating to see which year she stumbles out into.
There's also a huge question mark hanging over Adam, who we now know is Jonas. His face is scarred after far too much time travel and exposure to radiation, and he has hardened emotionally after fatally shooting Martha, the love of his life.
Adam and Sic Mundus successfully caused the apocalypse in 2020 as part of their quest to "liberate man from the merciless constraints of time" and "end the world as we know it".
Will Jonas succeed in stopping his older self? Will he manage to break the cycle and stop the apocalypse, and what consequences will that have?
Like we said, we have A LOT of questions.
Speaking to Indiewire, Friese said that season three will include plot points first devised at the very beginning of the show's production cycle:
"The basic idea of season three was something that we already had when we started. There are also a lot of things in season one hinting to season three. Also, we actually thought about putting some of the stuff that’s now in season three into season two, but then decided to move it backwards. So basically now everything that’s left just falls into season three."
Friese also revealed a bit more about the characters season three will focus on:
"We’re going to see a bit more about grown Ulrich. Also the same as we did in season two where we put a little bit focus on different characters like Claudia and Egon, we’re going to do the same in season three and call some people up that had smaller parts. And yes, Martha and Jonas, that’s the big centerpiece of it all."
"When you work with time travel, you basically have to decide on one concept. You can follow the ‘Back to the Future’ kind of way where you can actually change stuff in the past that will affect the future – which with my very personal more deterministic view of the world is nonsense," Friese said.
"That’s where we basically put the groundwork, going for deterministic time travel rules. We’re hinting at that in the first season all the time that it’s a circle. Everything happens constantly in loops. I just felt that was such a multilayered story. I put a lot of thought into it: What kind of information and when do you explain certain rules? How much room do you give for people trying to figure it out and when do you push them into the right direction? What kind of trigger words do you use? What kind of symbols do you use? There are a lot of symbols throughout, a lot of referencing systems in terms of religion, mythology."
"As with every character in Dark, when you’re sure you know who the villain is or who’s doing the bad thing, you should be open for what made them that way because. No one is just evil because they want to be; everyone is reacting to their own hurts and wounds. The past shapes you and everything that happens."
During a separate interview with Vulture, Friese discussed how likely it is that some of the time travellers will successfully end the cycle.
"They think they know how this works but they don't," she said. "They are still human. They will never be able to overcome their inner longings, their ego. They would need to completely crash their ego structure to get a grasp of it. We keep it ambivalent. And it can go both ways. But I won’t tell you whether there’s hope or a silver lining in the end."
Both Friese and Odar also addressed why time travel is currently having a TV moment.
"One thing is that people who make content now grew up with Back to the Future," she said. "And the other thing is that we live in uncertain times, we fear what is coming in the future and we have a nostalgic thing about the past, about going back to how it used to be before we had social media and internet, to better times.
"And time-travel stories somehow connect us in the present with our longing for the past and this fear for the future."
Odar continued: "When The Matrix came out, there were a lot of stories that questioned reality. 'Is this real or not?' That's now less of a question.
"Now time travel is more of a thing in pop culture. What does it stand for? Is it because we hope to change things we already have messed up, like climate change? I really don't know."
Dark season 3 cast: Who's in it?
The cast of Dark is unique in the sense that it's so large on account of every character having multiple versions of themselves (child/teen, middle-aged and elderly).
There's also the fact that just because one character might have died in one timeline, that doesn't mean we won't see them again in another.
It has been confirmed that Louis Hofmann (young Jonas), Jordis Triebel (Katharina), Lisa Vicari (young Martha), Mark Waschke (old Noah), Andreas Pietschmann (middle-aged Jonas) and Lea van Acken (Silja, Elisabeth's right-hand woman in 2052–2053) will return for season three.
And the new names joining the cast are Barbara Nusse, Hans Diehl, Jakob Diehl, Nina Kronjager, Sammy Scheuritzel and Axel Werner.
But it really is a case of wait and see at the moment when it comes to the rest of the gang.
Dark season 3 trailer: When can I watch it?
Trailers are usually released during the month leading up to the premiere, so if we do get the third season at the end of June, we'd expect it to land around the beginning of that month.
In the meantime, you can watch the trailer for season two again above.
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