You might not remember, but in December of 2017, Netflix dropped season one of a new science-fiction German-language show, Dark. At first glance, it looks a lot like Stranger Things. In a small town in Germany called Winden, a young boy, Mikkel, goes missing. When his brother’s friend, Jonas, starts investigating along with the police, a series of complicated relationships start to unravel, and a mystery unfolds spanning three time periods.
The show was a hit with critics and audiences, and season two is finally coming to the streaming platform next month. So to help you remember exactly who’s who in this extensive cast, and how they connect with one another, here’s a brief character guide!
Jonas Kahnwald/The Stranger
Jonas is a high school student whose father, Michael Kahnwald, recently died of suicide. He now lives alone with his mother, Hannah Kahnwald, and deals with his own anxiety and depression. When his friend’s brother, Mikkel Nielsen, goes missing, Jonas partially blames himself, having been right with him when he disappeared.
He starts searching for answers, looking in the caves near the Nuclear Power Plant, and encounters The Stranger, who is later revealed to be himself from the future. He gives him the tools to find the truth, and soon Jonas finds himself traveling through time, and realizing his family tree is very complicated.
Mikkel/Michael Kahnwald (prev. Nielsen)
Mikkel Nielsen accidentally goes back in time to the year 1986. There, he tries to find his family, and slowly realizes that he is not where (when?) he’s supposed to be. Thankfully, he meets a kind nurse at the hospital, Ines Kahnwald, and she adopts him. His name is changed to Michael Kahnwald, and he grows up and falls in love with Hannah Krüger, marries her, and has a son, Jonas.
In the present time, adult Michael, believes that he cannot exist in the world after Mikkel disappears, so he commits suicide. Jonas slowly figures this out over the season, and in the last episode he tries to take young Mikkel back home.
Magnus Nielsen and Martha Nielsen are siblings, and their younger brother is Mikkel Nielsen. Jonas has harbored a crush for Martha, but when he returns from his summer away, Jonas finds out that Martha has started dating his best friend, Bartosz Tiedemann.
Over the course of the first season, Magnus develops a relationship with another student at their school, Franziska Doppler, and Martha puts space between herself and Bartosz. She reciprocates Jonas’ feelings, but when Jonas discovers that Mikkel is his father and therefore Martha is his aunt (very Game of Thrones here), he knows their relationship obviously can’t work.
Ulrich Nielsen is married to Katharina Nielsen, his high school sweetheart. He is the father of Magnus, Martha, and Mikkel. In 1986, when Ulrich was a teenager, his younger brother, Mads Nielsen, went missing and was never found. So when his own son goes missing 33 years later, Ulrich does everything in his power to get him back.
Though everyone thought he was a troublemaker when he was younger, Ulrich grows up to become a police officer, and works alongside Charlotte Doppler on the case. Ulrich has been having an affair with Hannah Kahnwald for quite a while. After Mikkel goes missing, he tries to break it off, but Hannah has a hard time letting him go.
Through his investigation, Ulrich discovers that the caves lead to the past, and soon he’s in 1953, meeting his father, Tronte, as a little boy. He also figures out that Helge Doppler is the cause of the missing and dead boys, and tries to prevent it all from happening by killing a young Helge. But instead of preventing anything, Ulrich completes the cycle, and finds himself in jail in a time where no one else knows him.
When we first meet Hannah, it’s not long after the death of her husband, and she has been having a longtime affair with Ulrich Nielsen. Hannah’s been in love with him ever since she was a little girl, and it’s definitely grown into an obsession. When Ulrich tries to end it, Hannah starts scheming to keep his attention. Then when that doesn’t work, she uses information about Aleksander Tiedemann that she’s been holding onto for years to blackmail him into ruining Ulrich’s life.
All in all, Hannah is not a great person, but she does love her son. She understands that Jonas is still grieving and dealing with other issues of his own, and tries her best to be there for him.
Noah is the most mysterious character on the show, and honestly, we’re not even sure he’s fully human. He appears in each time looking exactly the same, wearing his priest outfit and a creepy expression. What we know so far is that Noah has been trying to control time travel through experiments on the young boys. It doesn’t seem that any of them have been successful, as all the missing boys have turned up dead.
Noah has recruited helpers over the years, the main one being Helge Doppler. In the present, Helge is old and senile, and can’t help Noah anymore. So now it appears that he’s recruiting again, and has set his sights on Bartosz Tiedemann, who has an eerie resemblance to Noah.
We also know that Noah, The Stranger (Older Jonas), and Claudia Tiedemann (more on her later) are all well aware of each other. Along with that, there are theories that Noah was married to Agnes Nielsen in 1953, mother of Tronte Nielsen, and Ulrich’s grandmother. Also, he has a MAJOR strange back tattoo that has to have some important meaning.
As a boy, Helge Doppler deals with an abusive mother, and sustained an injury to the side of the head that we soon discover is from Ulrich. After that, Helge grows up to become an introverted, insecure man, and Noah is quickly able to manipulate him into being his loyal follower. With Helge’s help, Noah has been kidnapping and experimenting on boys for years.
In 2019, Helge is an old man living in a nursing home and dealing with dementia. He constantly talks about things that sound like nonsense to his family, but are actually warnings about Noah and his past actions. Ulrich realizes the connection between Helge and the missing boys early on, but no one believes him, and Helge’s mind is too far gone to help.
In a rare moment of clarity, the older Helge escapes his nursing home and goes back in time to 1986. He tries to kill his younger self to prevent his future actions by crashing into his car. But as far as we’ve seen, the timeline can’t really be changed, and the older Helge ends up dead, while young Helge is taken to the hospital.
In 2019, Claudia Tiedemann is an old woman. She’s estranged from her daughter, Regina Tiedemann, who she had a bad relationship with through the years, and therefore doesn’t really know her grandson, Bartosz. At some point, she’s had an affair with Tronte Nielsen, Ulrich’s father.
In the last episode of the season, we learn that Claudia is also a time traveler. When she is a young girl, her beloved dog wanders into the caves, only to reappear in 1986, looking exactly the same. In 1986, Claudia conveniently works at the Nuclear Power Plant, which is directly connected to the caves, making it easy for her to investigate them.
It seems that Claudia and Jonas know each other in the future, and she might even become a guide for him.
Season two airs on Netflix on June 21st, so catch up on season one now!
(Featured image: Netflix)