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The time-travel based Netflix series DARK saw the concept of the Bootstrap Paradox being abundantly tossed around all over the series. Not only things but people were also created because of the Bootstrap Paradox in both Adam’s and Eve’s Worlds. Let’s take a look at what the Bootstrap Paradox is and how it plays a critical role in the series. This is Barry, welcome to my site, and here is the list of things and people created due to the Bootstrap Paradox in the Netflix series Dark. I want to state clearly that when I use the word “Bootstrap” or “Bootstrapped” in this article, I mean “as a result of the Bootstrap Paradox” and not the dictionary term “Bootstrap“. This is a time-travel based discussion and nothing shall be linear, massive spoilers ahead.
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Other links that will help understand the Netflix series Dark are:
- DARK Entire Family Tree Explained (With Diagram)
- DARK Series Ending Explained
- Complete Jonas Timeline Explained (With Diagram)
What is the Bootstrap Paradox? What is the Predestination Paradox?
When you have the possibility of time-travel, it always shows up with some time-paradoxes.
A Predestination Paradox is one where an event in the future predestines the event in the past. My favourite example is a man who has lost his wife to a car accident. He travels back in time to stop it, but in turn, causes the accident that kills his wife. He predestines his past—a paradox.
Items that come into existence seeming from nowhere within a Predestination loop is the result of a Bootstrap Paradox. An example would be this. Kyle gives Sarah a pen on the 1st July and tells her to give it to him 5 days later. Sarah hands the pen over to Kyle on the 6th. Kyle then goes back in time to the 1st. Kyle gives Sarah the pen on 1st July and tells her to give it to him 5 days later. Before 1st July and after 6th July the pen doesn’t exist. It was bootstrapped out of nowhere. If you trace the origin of the pen, it will loop back on to itself.
Now that we have the definition out of the way, let’s go through the list of things and people that got created because of the Bootstrap Paradox in the Netflix Series DARK.
Netflix Dark: People Created Because Of The Bootstrap Paradox
1. Charlotte in Adam’s and Eve’s Worlds
Charlotte was a baby that was brought to H.G. Tannhaus by a middle-aged Elisabeth and Charlotte. The two women steal baby Charlotte from Elizabeth in the future and take it back to the past. This baby grows old to be Charlotte, who goes to the future to steal the baby. Yes, you should read that again 🙂
2. Elisabeth in Adam’s and Eve’s Worlds
Elisabeth is born to Charlotte and Peter. Elisabeth eventually grows old to marry Noah and has a baby. This baby is Charlotte. This is the same baby that the middle-aged Elisabeth and Charlotte steal and take to H.G. Tannhaus.
In short, Charlotte is Elisabeth’s mother, and Elisabeth is Charlotte’s mother. They bootstrap each other.
3. Franziska in Adam’s and Eve’s Worlds
Franziska is Charlotte’s elder daughter and Elisabeth’s sister. Franziska the result of an Inherited Bootstrap because she’s born to a parent, Charlotte, who is one of two people who create each other, the Elisabeth-Charlotte Bootstrap. Franziska is not responsible for her own birth, but she’s the extension of a family line which has no origin. In Adam’s World, Franziska survives the Apocalypse because she goes back in time with an older Jonas. In Eve’s World, Franziska is unconnected to time-travel and perishes in the Apocalypse.
4. The Unknown
The Unknown, who is the Father of Tronte, was born to Martha, who is Tronte’s granddaughter. The Unknown is his own great-great-grandson. He is one person born as a result of two Worlds – Jonas from Adam’s World and Martha from Eve’s World are his parents. There is only one The Unknown for both worlds. Which means this man slept with the Agnes from both Adam’s and Eve’s Worlds. Look at that, this dude might look all angry-young-man constantly (not to mention, even the kid is always pissed off), but he woos his own great-great-grandmother twice, once in each World.
5. Tronte in Adam’s and Eve’s Worlds
Tronte is born to The Unknown. Tronte’s granddaughter, Martha, is the mother of his father. Which also makes Tronte his own great-great-grandson. Tronte was married to Jana, who is not part of this bootstrap mess. She’s just a nice lady from an ordinary family who happens to marry into a pile of time-warped mess in both Worlds.
6. Mads in Adam’s and Eve’s Worlds
Since Tronte is bootstrapped, his son, Mads, is associated to the Bootstrap Paradox indirectly. Mads is no way responsible for his own birth but belongs to a family tree with no origin. This poor kid plays the role of a dead body, and the only image of him alive is a photograph. His physical self is always a mutilated body with its eyes burnt to a crisp. Mads is one of the kids who got abducted by Helge and Noah and taken to conduct time-experiments with a machine that doesn’t work yet. At the point when Mads is strapped into the device, the only thing it was capable of doing was, well, burn the eyes to a crisp, kill the subject strapped in, and toss him into another time.
7. Ulrich in Adam’s and Eve’s Worlds
Ulrich is Tronte’s and Jana’s other kid, and Mad’s brother. Again, because Tronte exists as a result of the Bootstrap Paradox, Ulrich does too. Since this is the same Nielsen family-line Ulrich is also his own great-great-grandfather. In Adam’s World, he goes looking for his missing son and ends up in 1953 where he’s admitted to a mental facility and lives his entire life in there. In Eve’s World, Ulrich follows Helge into 1986 and is bludgeoned to death by Helge.
8. Martha in Adam’s and Eve’s Worlds
Martha is Ulrich’s daughter, and she is her own great-great-grandmother. Martha is one of the DARK’s central characters. In Adam’s World, she is killed just before the Apocalypse. In Eve’s World, she goes on to become Eve perpetuating lies to sustain the Knot between the Worlds. Eve’s World’s Martha and Jonas conceive a child, The Unknown. She also branches out into other instances of herself thanks to Quantum Entanglement – read more.
9. Magnus in Adam’s and Eve’s Worlds
Magnus is Ulrich’s elder son. He is indirectly associated with the Bootstrap Paradox because his father. Magnus does nothing to to cause his own birth but belongs to a family line which has no origin. In Adam’s World, Magnus survives the Apocalypse by travelling back in time with an older Jonas. In Eve’s World, Magus doesn’t believe anything Martha has to say about the Apocalypse and dies when it happens.
10. Mikkel in Adam’s and Eve’s Worlds
Mikkel is an interesting case. In Adam’s World, Mikkel is led back to the past, 1986, by Jonas. This results in Mikkel meeting and marrying Hannah and giving birth to Jonas. Furthermore, Jonas goes on to father The Unknown. In Adam’s World, Mikkel is his own great-great-great-grandfather. In Eve’s World, Mikkel doesn’t go back in time and there is no Jonas. So Mikkel is not directly associated to the Bootstrap Paradox but belongs to a family tree that has no origin.
11. Jonas in Adam’s World
Jonas is Michael’s and Hannah’s son. Michael is Mikkel who is taken back in time to 1986 by Jonas. Jonas comes into existence as a result of his own action. Furthermore, Jonas gives birth to The Unknown and becomes part of a second Bootstrap Paradox where he is his own great-great-great-grandfather. There is no Jonas in Eve’s World as Mikkel never goes back to 1986. Like Martha, Jonas also branches out into multiple instances of himself because of Quantum Entanglement – read more.
Netflix DARK: Things Created Due To The Bootstrap Paradox
1. The Time-Machine in Adam’s World
An old Claudia gets blueprints to the time-machine from Eve and gives it to H.G. Tannhaus in Adam’s World. He uses the blueprints to build the part of the time-machine. Later, an older Jonas shows up with a completed but broken broken time-machine and hands it to H.G. Tannhaus. He then reverse engineers and creates a working time-machine filling in the gaps for all the missing pieces in the blueprints. The time-machine is completed because of its completed future self.
Plot Hole: Who created the time-machine of Eve’s World?
We are told nothing about the most powerful device of this series – the spherical time-machine of Eve’s World. There is only one set of blueprints, and those are the designs for the machine in the briefcase. Eve’s World’s apparatus is far more powerful. It does not have any limitation to when you can travel to. You can also use it to travel between worlds. To build this, there needs to have been another set of blueprints. Nothing is shown about this leaving us to speculate about the most critical device of the DARK series.
2. The Book “A Journey Through Time” in Adam’s World
Ulrich hands the book “A Journey Through Time” to H.G. Tannhaus back in the year 1953. It has already been written by H.G. Tannhaus in the future. The young H.G. Tannhaus copies word to word from this book and sends it for publication. The book and all the information in it are bootstrapped. The book creates itself through the causal timeloop.
We don’t know if such a book exists in Eve’s World or its significance there.
3. Katharina’s Name in Adam’s World
Hannah steals Older Jonas’ time-machine and goes to 1954 to verify it is indeed Ulrich who is stuck there in prison. She lies to the authorities saying her name is Katharina (Ulrich’s wife’s name). Hannah exacts her revenge by letting Ulrich rot in jail. After that, she gets pregnant with Egon’s child. She considers aborting it and at the abortion clinic meets a young Helena, Katharina’s future mother. When Helena asks, Hanna lies that her name is Katharina. Helena finds the name to be very attractive. Years later she names her daughter Katharina who Hannah impersonates.
4. Blueprints of the Time-Machine of Adam’s World
This piece of document appears bootstrapped in the series DARK. We are first shown Claudia give this to H.G. Tannhaus. From him, Older Jonas takes it once his time-machine has been fixed by H.G. Tannhaus. After that, older Jonas keeps it with him for many years and leaves it behind in 1921 as Adam. The Unknown shows up in 1921, takes the blueprints and burns the place down. It then goes to Eve and Eve passes it on to Claudia. As you can see, the document has no origin and is bootstrapped just like the time-machine.
5. The Apocalypse in Adam’s and Eve’s Worlds
Yes, the Apocalypse is the result of the Bootstrap Paradox. The Leak is the thing that sets the ground for the Apocalypse. The Leak creates the substance called the God Particle. In both worlds this Leak is triggered by The Unknown in 1986. The Unknown, himself, was born in 2020 as a result of Jonas and Martha sleeping with each other. His birth happens in the post-apocalyptic world. The Apocalypse creates the unstable wibbly-wobbly orb. The Unknown steals files from the Power Plant with which it’s understood that the God Particle was responsible for the Apocalypse and the wibbly-wobbly in the first place. The Unknown man, child and aged travel to both Worlds, to 1986, and cause the Leak which results in the God Particle. Their knowledge of how to set grounds for the Apocalypse helps them set the ground for the Apocalypse.
6. The Notebook’s Contents
While the Notebook itself is not bootstrapped, the information in it is. The Unknown is shown to be the one who compiles all the key events and puts it into the Notebook . Many of the characters eventually find this Notebook and based on the information in it, conduct the events. Each of those events is bootstrapped. The event happened, hence The Unknown entered it into the Notebook; because it is entered into the Notebook the characters make sure the events occur as per the Notebook.
Things and People Not Part Of The Bootstrap Paradox Yet Appear To Be
1. Noah and Agnes in Adam’s and Eve’s Worlds
Noah and Agnes are born to Bartosz and Silja. Bartosz’s parents, Regina and Aleksander, are not bootstrapped. Similarly, Silja’s parents, Hannah and Egon, are not bootstrapped. Both Bartosz and Silja have a linear ancestry, which also means Noah and Agnes have a linear ancestry and are not the result of the Bootstrap Paradox. It’s only that Noah and Agnes are both born to time-travelling parents in the past. Their actions don’t result in their own birth.
2. Silja in Adam’s and Eve’s Worlds
Silja is the mother of Noah and Agnes. Her mother is Hannah, and her father is Egon. Neither of them is a result of the Bootstrap Paradox. Silja could not have been born if not for the time machine and Hannah going back in time, but that said, Silja is not bootstrapped. Silja’s actions don’t have any connection to her own birth down the timeline.
3. Bartosz in Adam’s and Eve’s Worlds
Much like Silja, Bartosz is born to Regina and Aleksander. Both these individuals are free of the Bootstrap Paradox. Though Bartosz travels back in time to father Noah and Agnes, he is not part of the paradox. In the Origin World, it appears that Regina never met Aleksander. So it might mean Bartosz is never born in the Origin World.
4. The Pendant
The Pendant originates from Egon Tiedemann in 1954 when he gifts it to Hannah. Hannah leaves it with young Helene’s items at the abortion clinic. When Helene bludgeons and kills the time-travelling Katharina in 1987, it falls at the lakeside. Then decades later Jonas finds it when he’s with Martha by the lake. It then gets passed on to Martha. The Pendant is never shown to make its way back to Egon in 1954. So it’s only being passed around in time but has a definitive start and end and is not bootstrapped.
5. The Pennies
The Pennies that are found on the dead children travel back and forth in time but are initially manufactured in 1986. These are not bootstrapped into either of the Worlds.
6. Jana Nielsen in Adam’s and Eve’s Worlds
The prevalent inference is that the entire Nielsen family is bootstrapped. But no, not everyone. Jana is Tronte’s wife. While Tronte is a bootstrapped individual, Jana is just a normal girl who falls in love and marries him. We don’t see any reference to her in the Origin World because she never runs into Tronte and is possibly married to someone else and is unconnected to the core characters.
Barry is a technologist who helps start-ups build successful products. His love for movies and production has led him to write his well-received film explanation and analysis articles to help everyone appreciate the films better. He’s regularly available for a chat conversation on his website and consults on storyboarding from time to time.
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