In today’s ‘sequel-you-didn’t-see-coming-and-if-you-say-you-did-you’re-probably-lying’ news is notice that Sky Atlantic will be airing a follow-up to the traumatic 1981 German classic Das Boot.
The original movie, based on the bestselling novel by Lothar-Günther Buchheim, was a claustrophobic tale of the crew of U-96, a German U-boat during World War II. It was directed by Wolfgang Petersen (The Never Ending Story, In The Line of Fire, Air Force One) and released as both 149- and 209-minute movies, in 1981 and 1997 respectively. It was also re-tooled into a 300-minute TV mini-series, first shown in the UK on BBC Two in 1984.
The new sequel will run across eight episodes on Sky Atlantic. It will be a co-production between the company behind the original – Bavaria Fernsehproduktion – Sky Deutschland and Sonar Entertainment. It will star, we’re told, Lizzy Caplan (Masters of Sex), August Wittgenstein (The Crown), Vicky Krieps (Colonia Dignidad), Jonathan Zaccai (Robin Hood), Leonard Scheicher (Finsterworld), Robert Stadlober (Summer Storm), Franz Dinda (The Cloud) and Stefan Konarske (The Young Karl Marx).
The series will be directed by eminent Austrian filmmaker Andreas Prochaska, whose credits include Das finstere Tal (The Dark Valley) and Das Wunder von Kärnten (A Day for a Miracle), which was awarded the International Emmy. It will be penned by Tony Saint (Margaret Thatcher: The Long Walk to Finchley, The Interceptor) and Johannes W. Betz (Der Tunnel) are the head writers.
Filming for the suitably pan-European production starts in August 2017 in La Rochelle, France. Older readers may remember that as the location where the original story came to a conclusion. In fact, they may still be slightly traumatised by it. It will also take in locations in Prague, Malta and Munich.
Interestingly, the new series’ executive producers – Moritz Polter and Oliver Vogel – appear to hint that the new Das Boot’s story will run prior to the events of the original. Their comment that the show will concern “the next chapter on board U-612”, seems to imply that the focus will be on a boat that only saw brief action before being involved in an accident in 1942. The tale of those events would later become part of the contentious U-boat memoir Iron Coffins by Herbert Werner, who was aboard the ship when it sank killing two crew-members.
U-96, the subject of the original Das Boot, was sunk in March 1945, just over a month before the end of hostilities in Europe.