This 'Dark' Character Map Will Help You Make Sense Of The Show's Tangled Web Of Characters & Timelines
Has there ever been a TV show more complicated than Netflix's Dark? Sure, there have been other shows involving time travel, but nothing approaching the complex web of relationships and timelines that is this German-language sci-fi series. You may find yourself in need of a Dark character map while you're working your way through Season 2; even if you're already poring over it for the second or third time, it can still be hard to keep track of who's related to who and which timeline you've seen them in before and whose daughter is actually their mother and so on.
The series revolves primarily around four families living in the town of Winden, Germany: the Kahnwalds, the Nielsens, the Dopplers, and the Tiedemanns. Thanks to a wormhole in the caves under the nuclear power plant that can transport you through time in 33-year increments, it turns out these four families are even more closely related than they knew. In fact, practically the whole town is a Gordian knot of bootstrap paradoxes and secret incest. (And you thought the Lannisters were messed up.)
While I can't come to your house and string up some red thread over news clippings and headshots for you, I can hopefully help out a bit with this primer and who exactly everybody in Winden is, and how they're related to everybody else. Let's begin.
1. Jonas Kahnwald / The Stranger / Adam
Son of Michael & Hannah Kahnwald.
2019: Young Jonas is institutionalized after his father's suicide; then, when his girlfriend's brother disappears, he stumbles upon the truth of the town's portal through time.
2052: Adult Jonas becomes a time-travelling warrior opposing the evil Noah, going back to 2019 where he's known simply as The Stranger before his true identity is revealed.
1921: Under the alias Adam, an even older Jonas (presumably from 2085) leads the secret organization Sic Mundus, which seeks to harness time travel to "defeat" time and create a paradise by causing an apocalypse.
2. Hannah Kahnwald
Mother of Jonas Kahnwald, wife of Michael Kahnwald, parents unknown.
1986: As a young schoolgirl, Hannah harbored an unrequited crush on Ulrich Nielsen; she falsely accused him of rape after witnessing him have sex with his girlfriend, Katharina.
2019: She carries on an affair with Ulrich, although the stress of her husband's suicide and his son's disappearance break them apart. She travels back to find him in 1953 and decides to stay.
3. Mikkel Nielsen / Michael Kahnwald
Father of Jonas Kahnwald, husband of Hannah Kahnwald, son of Ulrich & Katharina Nielsen.
1986: Young Mikkel arrives in the past from 2019 after going through the portal, is adopted by Ines Kahnwald, and raised as Michael, eventually fathering Jonas.
2019: Michael Kahnwald takes his own life, leaving a note explaining his true identity to Jonas. A few months later, his younger self, Mikkel, goes missing.
4. Ines Kahnwald
Adoptive mother of Michael Kahnwald, daughter of Daniel Kahnwald, mother unknown.
1953: Young Ines is the daughter of Winden police chief Daniel Kahnwald.
1986: Now a nurse, Ines takes Mikkel/Michael in, but drugs him with sleeping pills to avoid having him questioned by new polic chief Egon Tiedemann.
2019: Ines holds onto Michael's suicide note per his instructions, delivering it to Jonas at the precise moment young Mikkel goes missing.
5. Daniel Kahnwald
Father of Ines Kahnwald, wife unknown, parents unknown.
1953: Daniel is the Winden chief of police and boss of young Egon Tiedemann. The identity of his wife, Ines' mother, is still unknown.
6. Martha Nielsen
Sister of Mikkel & Magnus Nielsen, daughter of Ulrich & Katharina Nielsen, aunt of Jonas Kahnwald.
2019: Since Martha's missing younger brother Mikkel is actually her ex-boyfriend's father Michael, that makes Martha Jonas' aunt. (Take that, Jon Snow.) After she's shot and killed by Jonas' older self, Adam, a version of Martha from "another world" appears and whisks Jonas off to her timeline.
7. Magnus Nielsen
Brother of Martha & Mikkel Nielsen, son of Ulrich & Katharina Nielsen.
2019: Martha's brother is saved from the apocalypse by Adult Jonas, who whisks him and his cohorts Franziska and Bartosz through time.
1921: Magnus ends up as an acolyte of Sic Mundus, serving under Adam.
8. Katharina Nielsen
Mother of Martha, Magnus & Mikkel Nielsen, wife of Ulrich Nielsen, parents unknown.
1986: Hannah Kahnwald falsely tells police that she saw Ulrich assault Katharina, and he is briefly imprisoned. Katharina grows up thinking it was Regina Tiedemann who told the lie.
2019: A distraught Katharina searches everywhere for her missing son Mikkel, and ends up climbing through the portal in the caves to an unknown time.
9. Ulrich Nielsen
Father of Martha, Magnus & Mikkel Nielsen, husband of Katharina Nielsen, son of Tronte and Jana Nielsen.
2019: A Winden police officer, Ulrich obsessively investigates his son Mikkel's disappearance until he learns of Helge Doppler's involvement and follows him through time.
1953: Thinking he can prevent Mikkel's disappearance if he kills young Helge, he attacks the young boy. Helge survives, but Ulrich winds up imprisoned in an asylum for life.
1986: While an older Ulrich is still imprisoned, his past self is a teenager dating young Katharina, when his brother Mads goes missing (echoing Mikkel's disappearance 33 years later). Mads is killed in Noah's attempts to build a time machine.
10. Jana Nielsen
Mother of Ulrich & Mads Nielsen, wife of Tronte Nielsen, parents unknown.
1953: Jana is a young girl living in Winden.
1986: Now married to Tronte Nielsen, Jana plans to leave him due to his many affairs, but loses the strength to go through with it after her son Mads' disappearance.
2019: After her grandson Mikkel's disappearance, an elderly Jana becomes convinced history is repeating itself. (If only she knew…)
11. Tronte Nielsen
Father of Ulrich & Mads Nielsen, husband of Jana Nielsen, son of Agnes Nielsen, father unknown.
1953: Young Tronte arrives in Winden with his beautiful mother, Agnes, but no father. His arms are covered in burn marks. He experiments sexually with young Claudia Tiedemann.
1986: When his son Mads goes missing, he's a journalist now engaging in an affair with Claudia. It's likely he's the father of Claudia's daughter, Regina.
2019: On the night his grandson Mikkel disappeared, Tronte was called by Peter Doppler to help him move the body of his son Mads Nielsen (which had materialized from 1986) at the instruction of an older, time-travelling Claudia.
12. Agnes Nielsen
Mother of Tronte Nielsen, sister of Noah, husband and parents unknown.
1921: Agnes is a young girl living in Winden.
1953: Agnes arrives in Winden with her son, Tronte; where she's been and what she's been doing since 1921 is unknown. She carries on an affair with Doris Tiedemann and is revealed to be a member of Sic Mundus and the sister of the mysterious Noah.
Brother of Agnes Nielsen, father of Charlotte Doppler, parents unknown.
1921: Young Noah is an acolyte of Sic Mundus and murders another member who lost his faith.
His older version travels through the portal, collecting young boys throughout the decades and using them in his efforts to build a time machine. Adult Helge Doppler is his accomplice while young Helge becomes his first successful subject. After he's revealed to be the father of Helge's daughter-in-law Charlotte — who Noah fathered at some point with a future version of Charlotte's daughter Elisabeth — he tries to kill Adam. His gun jams, and his sister Agnes kills him instead.
14. Elisabeth Doppler
Mother of Charlotte Doppler, sister of Franziska Doppler, daughter of Charlotte & Peter Doppler.
2019: Franziska's younger sister, who is deaf, is a silent observer to the chaos as several young boys — including her friend Yasin — disappear from Winden. She is one of the few who survives the apocalypse in a bunker, along with young Noah.
2052: An older Elisabeth is now the leader of a band of survivors who protect the secret of what's inside the ruined Winden nuclear power plant: the God particle. At some point since 2019, she and Noah conceived a daughter, who was hidden somewhere in time and grew up to be Charlotte, who eventually gave birth to Elisabeth, her own mother.
15. Franziska Doppler
Sister of Elisabeth Doppler, daughter of Charlotte & Peter Doppler.
2019: Franziska is saved from the apocalypse by Adult Jonas/The Stranger, along with Magnus and Bartosz, whisked off somewhere in time.
1921: Although still officially unconfirmed, it's assumed that she's the red-headed Sic Mundus member seen alongside Adult Magnus.
16. Charlotte Doppler
Wife of Peter Doppler, mother of Franziska & Elisabeth Doppler, daughter of Elisabeth Doppler & Noah, raised by H.G. Tannhaus.
1986: Charlotte never knew her real parents, having been raised by grandfatherly clockmaker/author H.G. Tannhaus.
2019: Now Winden's chief of police, Charlotte is dismayed to learn that child-killer Noah is her father — and even more confused to learn that her daughter, Elisabeth, is her mother. They touch hands across time at the moment of the apocalypse, their fates uncertain.
17. H.G. Tannhaus
Adoptive grandfather of Charlotte Doppler.
1953: Raising young Charlotte, Tannhaus given the blueprints for the time machine from a time-travelling Claudia Tiedemann, and a copy of his own book, A Journey Through Time, by a time-travelling Ulrich Nielsen. He builds the machine and writes the book, rendering both objects bootstrap paradoxes.
1986: Adult Jonas/The Stranger visits Tannhaus to repair his time machine.
18. Peter Doppler
Husband of Charlotte Doppler, father of Franziska & Elisabeth Doppler, son of Helge Doppler, mother unknown.
2019: Peter is married to police chief Charlotte, caring for his elderly father Helge, and carrying on an affair with a transgender sex worker named Benni. When Mads' body materializes before his eyes from 1986, he calls the boy's father, Tronte Nielsen, to help him dispose of it. Eventually, he rides out the apocalypse in the bunker. His exact origins are still unknown; no young Peter has ever been seen in the 1986 timeline, and who Peter's mother would be is a mystery.
19. Helge Doppler
Father of Peter Doppler, son of Bernd(?) & Greta Doppler.
1953: Young Helge is attacked by a time-travelling Ulrich in an effort to preemptively prevent him from becoming Noah's accomplice. Helge survives, scarred and brain damaged, and becomes Noah's first successful time travel subject.
1986: Adult Helge has been recruited by Noah to help him kidnap boys to use in his time travel experiments.
2019: Old Helge remembers his role in the boys' deaths and travels back to 1986 to try to stop himself. He rams his car and Old Helge dies in the accident while Adult Helge survives.
20. Greta Doppler
Mother of Helge Doppler, wife of Bernd Doppler, parents unknown.
1953: After Helge's disappearance, his strict mother Greta sought counsel from Noah, admitting to the priest that her husband Bernd might not be Helge's father.
21. Bernd Doppler
Father(?) of Helge Doppler, husband of Greta Doppler, parents unknown.
1953: Bernd supervises construction of Winden's nuclear power plant. The bodies of two unidentified boys (Noah's victims Erik Obendorf and Yasin Friese from 2019) are found on his construction site.
1986: Bernd passes the reins of his plant to Claudia Tiedemann, revealing to her that an accident that summer led to the disposal of many barrels of radioactive cesium in the caves beneath the town. (That cesium will later be used to power the time machine.)
22. Bartosz Tiedemann
Son of Aleksander & Regina Tiedemann.
2019: Bartosz started dating his best friend Jonas' ex-girlfriend Martha after Jonas was institutionalized following his father's suicide. After Martha falls back in love with Jonas, an embittered Bartosz is recruited to become Noah's new accomplice. He is saved from the apocalypse by Adult Jonas/The Stranger, along with Magnus and Franziska. (Some fans theorize he's the unnamed man murdered by Young Jonas in 1921 in the opening scene of Season 2.)
23. Boris Niewald / Aleksander Tiedemann
Father of Bartosz Tiedemann, husband of Regina Tiedemann, parents unknown.
1986: Aleksander arrives in Winden and buries a bag containing a gun and a passport revealing his real name: Boris Niewald. Hannah witnesses this and digs up the bag, keeping it to use to blackmail Aleksander. The newcomer saves Regina from an attack by Ulrich and Katharina, who believe she's the one who accused Ulrich of rape.
2019: Aleksander now runs the plant formerly run by his wife's mother. The brother of the man whose identity he assumed — and who Aleksander presumably murdered — arrives in town under the guise of a special investigator named Clausen. Clausen opens the barrels of cesium while searching the plant and triggers the apocalypse.
24. Regina Tiedemann
Mother of Bartosz Tiedemann, wife of Aleksander Tiedemann, daughter of Claudia Tiedemann, father unknown (presumed to be Tronte Nielsen, making her half-sister of Ulrich Nielsen).
1986: Regina is a mousy girl frequently bullied by Katharina. When Katharina's boyfriend Ulrich is falsely accused of raping her, Katharina assumes it was Regina in retaliation for the bullying. (It was really young Hannah.)
2019: Regina runs the only hotel in Winden, but is stricken with cancer. She rides out the apocalypse in the bunker after being taken there by her time-travelling mother, Claudia, who's still the same age she was when she disappeared in 1986.
25. Claudia Tiedemann
Mother of Regina Tiedemann, daughter of Egon & Doris Tiedemann.
1953: Young Claudia tutors Helge Doppler and experiments sexually with Tronte Nielsen. Her dog Gretchen disappears in the caves under the plant.
1986: Adult Claudia takes over the plant from Bernd Doppler and, when Gretchen reappears from the caves after 33 years, starts to uncover the truth about time travel. She travels to 2019 to save her daughter from the apocalypse.
2019: Old Claudia arrives from the future as a time-travelling warrior opposing Adam, instructing Young Jonas on his role in the war. She is eventually killed by Noah.
26. Doris Tiedemann
Mother of Claudia Tiedemann, wife of Egon Tiedemann, parents unknown.
1953: Claudia's mother Doris rents a room to the newly-arrived Agnes Nielsen and her son Tronte. Doris and Agnes carry on an affair, decades before their children Claudia and Tronte will do the same.
27. Egon Tiedemann
Father of Claudia Tiedemann, husband of Doris Tiedemann, parents unknown.
1953: An officer serving under police chief Daniel Kahnwald, Egon investigates the deaths of the two unidentified boys, as well as the attack on Helge Doppler. He arrests a time-travelling Ulrich Nielsen for the crimes, and the man is locked up for life.
1986: An elderly Egon comes to suspect the truth about time travel. When a time-travelling Claudia learns that her father will die, she tries to prevent his death — only to cause it.