|For the version from Eva's World, see Mikkel Nielsen|
- "And perhaps I'm just a small part of a huge cancer that is much greater than any of us can imagine."
Michael Kahnwald (born as Mikkel Nielsen) was the youngest child of Ulrich and Katharina Nielsen and the brother of Martha and Magnus. On November 4, 2019, at the age of eleven, he traveled back in time to 1986, where he was adopted by Ines Kahnwald and would grow up to marry Hannah Krüger, with whom he fathered Jonas. He committed suicide on June 21, 2019, and started Jonas's journey.
- 1 Biography
- 1.1 Background
- 1.2 2019
- 1.3 During the five months
- 1.4 1986 (time travel)
- 1.5 During the seven months
- 1.6 1987 (time travel)
- 1.7 2019 (alternate version)
- 1.8 Growing Up
- 1.9 2019 (time travel)
- 2 Personality
- 3 Appearances
- 4 Analysis
- 5 Trivia
- 6 Notes and references
- 7 Gallery
Mikkel was born in 2008 to Ulrich and Katharina Nielsen. Throughout his life, he has been jokingly picked on by his family members. He was raised not to believe in God. He developed a passion for Harry Houdini, and aimed to become a magician. He happens to be close to the Kahnwald family, mainly Jonas, as they have their signature greeting called "ultimate fist bump".
He wakes up with red rashes all over his body, thinking it's dengue fever. He enters his parents' bedroom, interrupting their attempt to make love. Katharina checks him, realizing that he has rubella. She is jokingly angry about the fact he is sick on their 25th anniversary. She decides to take him to a doctor.
On their way, they stop their car by Jonas (the slightly older version that was actually from the near future). When Mikkel wanted to do an "ultimate fist bump", Katharina warned Jonas that he has rubella. He overhears Ulrich teasing Jonas that Martha will be happy to see him, Mikkel point out that she has a crush on him.
The three of them stop by the Kahnwald family home to pick up some glasses for the party. While his parents were conversing with Hannah Kahnwald, he steps out of the car and asks to pee. Ulrich tells him to go pee in the bushes, but Katharina asks Hannah if he could go inside, while the latter was simply staring at the boy with déjà vu. She then awkwardly allows him to enter. After urinating, Mikkel exits the bathroom, turns around, and witnesses a horrified Michael Kahnwald (his older self) backed against the wall. Mikkel runs away after making eye contact.
In the middle of the party, Mikkel wakes up and goes downstairs, seeing Ulrich showing slide photos of Katharina through the years. Mikkel tells his mom that he can't sleep, and Katharina agrees to carry him upstairs after feeling his heating body. She tucks him into bed, but he asks if they could cuddle until he falls asleep. She agrees to do so. They fall asleep together.
During the five months
Mikkel has continued to live his life like normal. Michael Kahnwald's suicide has struck many people that include the Nielsen family.
At breakfast, Katharina is trying to get Mikkel to change out of his magician clothes before going to school. Mikkel goes on to brag about Houdini, and Magnus arrives to smack the back of his head. Martha refuses to eat her breakfast, so Mikkel decides to take it, but Magnus takes it from him and gives it to Ulrich. Magnus accuses him of taking his jacket. Katharina gives him a last warning to change, but he crosses his arms and sits on the table. They agree for him to do one last trick. Mikkel shows Ulrich the trick of teleporting a pawn from one cup to another. Ulrich asks how he did it, but Mikkel responds "the question is not how, the question is when".
At night, Magnus needed to take Mikkel along with him to the forest since nobody would watch over him during the parents meeting. They meet with Jonas and Martha, and he greets the former with "ultimate fist bump". Bartosz Tiedemann arrives, smacking the back of the boy's head, skeptical about him coming along with them. The gang sets out through the forest.
Mikkel starts a conversation concerning Erik Obendorf's disappearance, saying that his classmates believe he's trapped in a basement. Magnus shrugs it off, saying that he ran away. He asks as to why someone would lock anyone in a basement, so the chat turns towards "Good & Evil". Martha says that there are always good and bad people out there, but the talk ends when Jonas references his late father. He goes on about how horrible it would be if your body wasn't found. Martha says the opposite of what Mikkel has spoken, and pleads to change the topic.
The gang arrives at the entrance of the cave to take the bag of Erik's weed. After Bartosz steals the bag from Franziska Doppler, the cave emitted a loud roar, and they heard the rustling of bushes behind them. Their flashlights start flicking on and off, and Mikkel stood in place with fear. When most of the gang ran away, Jonas grabbed Mikkel to ran together through the forest, but Jonas trips over and loses the latter.
Mikkel went astray for a few moments, but came across a slightly older Jonas from the future, who pretends to be the present one. He tells the boy to run with him, saying that there is something dangerous out there, so they would need to hide in the caves. Older Jonas led the terrified boy through the Wormhole, and unbeknownst to Mikkel, he has been taken to 1986.
1986 (time travel)
Jonas tells Mikkel to sleep in the cave until the night was over. After he did so, Jonas leaves him behind.
Mikkel wakes up scarred and confused. He limps out of the cave and notices a slightly different atmosphere outside, so he runs. He arrives back "home" and stares at the different scenery. He tries to open the door, but it was answered by a teenage Ulrich Nielsen. Mikkel was confused as Ulrich accuses him of being a fool for thinking it was his house. He witnesses Ulrich ride on a motorcycle with teenage Katharina Albers. He notices the date on a newspaper, saying 1986, but he didn't understand it's implications.
The confused Mikkel enters the house, further noticing the difference in the ambiance. He notices a woman on the couch, thinking it was his mom at first, but it was actually Jana Nielsen, his grandmother. Jana initially thought he was Mads Nielsen, before kneeling down in front of him, clenching his beaten left arm, demanding if he knew where Mads was. Mikkel snatches himself away, leaving the woman to cry on the floor.
Mikkel stumbles upon the High school, noticing the different people around him. He meets with younger Katharina and Hannah Krüger in the hallway, asking to find his mother. Katharina crudely talks to him and shoves him aside, thinking that he was on drugs due to his constant confusion.
Mikkel then arrives at the police station, trying to look for his father. He appears at Egon Tiedemann's office, asking to look for his dad. When he mentions Ulrich's name, Egon goes to show his disliking for said person, assuming that this was some sort of prank. Egon notices his facial scrapes and injured arm, further surmising that Ulrich battered the boy. Mikkel asks him the exact date, and Egon replies to him. Mikkel was taken aback by the realization. Egon decides to call a nurse to come pick the boy up. He leaves to go talk to Ulrich, leaving Mikkel alone in the office.
He solves a rubiks cube and attempts to call (presumably) his present Ulrich, only for failure. He also grabs a lighter and put it in his jacket. He notices files and clippings surrounding the missing Mads, and a photo on the desk, displaying him and Ulrich together. When the door opens, he places down the evidence and meets Nurse Ines Kahnwald, who tells him that she's going to take him to the hospital to look at his arm, but he remains silent.
At the hospital, Mikkel refuses to reveal his identity, and has his arm checked. In his hospital ward, he cries at the realization of his situation. Ines kneels down to calm him down, saying that it's going to be okay. Mikkel stays at his bed silently until nighttime. Ines offers him to sleep there and tells him that he can talk to her about his troubles. When Ines was going to leave, Mikkel admits that he came from the future, much to her disbelief.
When the flickering lights distracted the nurses, Mikkel escaped through a window. He ran through the forest and reached the cave, understanding that he needs to find the passageway to return home. He uses his lighter as a light source in the dark. As he walks around, he slips down a steep edge and breaks his right leg. He hears some faint banging of metal through the unseen passage, so he shouts for help. He struggles his way outside, and cries in frustration. He decides to return to the hospital.
From this day onward, he would be pondering on why Jonas would do this to him.
Ines hands him a book wrapped as a present, but he remains silent. Ines sits down next to him, and calmly asks him to talk to her when he's ready, or at least explain who his parents are. She promised to keep any private information a secret.
Lying in bed, Mikkel is visited by a priest at St. Christopher's Church–whose name is Noah, saying Ines had asked him to visit. He asks Mikkel whether he believes in God and creation, to which the latter shakes his head. Mikkel replies that the world came to be through the Big Bang and evolution. Noah asks what was before the Big Bang since nothing can come from nothing. Mikkel volunteers that his father told him religion was only brainwashing of the masses. Noah takes this in stride, saying—somewhat ominously—that God has a plan for every human being, including him.
Outside sitting on a bench, Mikkel opens the present that was revealed to be a children's book called I Am Not Afraid. Fourteen-year-old Hannah sits next to him, and asks him if she's pretty. He hesitates to answer the odd question, much to her slight dismay. She tells him that she likes to pretend she can do magic, that if she wants something really badly, it happens, like moving a bottle cap on the ground. Mikkel asks if she has heard of Harry Houdini, then picks up the bottle cap, saying there is no magic, only illusion. He closes his hand around it, taps his fists, then reveals it in his other hand. She asks where he learned to do the trick, and he replies that he is from the future, which amuses her. He tells her his name and she tells him hers.
At night, Ines reads the book as a bedtime story, until Mikkel falls asleep peacefully.
Mikkel stand in the hallway, staring at the framed Sic Mundus Creatus Est symbol and message on the wall. Mikkel sits outside as Ines brings him food. They both start to converse. In the afternoon, Hannah comes to visit him, further creating a bond between them.
Mikkel is showing Ines a magic trick that involved teleporting a sugar cube from one cup to another. He says that all Houdini dreamed of was to become a magician. Mikkel says that he has the same dream, but the magic he wants to do is impossible, which is to "wake up". Ines asks him about Master Zhuang's paradox. One day, she dreamt she was a butterfly, and woke up confused if she's still a person who dreamed she was a butterfly, or if she's a butterfly who's dreaming. She asks Mikkel what he would think he was, to which he responds both. He removes the cups, revealing a second sugar cube.
Later, he sits on his bed dressed, ready to be discharged to a children's home by Selma Ahrens. However, he refused to leave or even listen to her, because he has grown an attachment to Ines. At the evening, Noah was reading him his bedtime story, to the point where he fell asleep. Unbeknownst to him, it was a lure for Jonas.
By the end of the night, Ines has officially adopted Mikkel and changed his name to "Michael Kahnwald". They arrive at the Kahnwald family home, and Michael starts crying tears of joy. The two hug each other and begin their new lives.
During the seven months
Michael and Ines lived as a happy family, and she enrolled him into the Winden school. However, Michael has been struggling to move on from his former family (the Nielsens), which is causing him anxiety. Ines tries her best to help him move away from the past. Unbeknownst to him, Ines has been drugging him in order to calm him down.
1987 (time travel)
Michael wakes up from another distressing sleep, and takes a glance around his new room in the 80s. He begins experiencing another anxiety attack. He walks downstairs to see his new mother preparing his breakfast and packing his bag. Michael says that it was his mother's (Katharina) birthday, so Ines leans forward and reminds him that the past is past and now is now.
At school, Michael was perplexed and takes a long gander at the school, until he was shoved by a disgruntled Katharina. He makes a decision to walk away from the school. He sprinted through the forest and arrives at the caves entrance, wanting to try and leave again. He was shocked by Noah, sitting on a nearby log, asking if he should be at school. Michael recognizes Noah from the hospital. Noah pretends to assume that Michael doesn't know where he would go yet, and advises him not to go in the caves. Before leaving, Michael asks him about how God has a plan for everything: What if he doesn't know what he's doing? Noah responds that God is not wrong, and they just need faith. He leaves Michael to contemplate at the entrance.
Later that night he returns home, where Ines has worried about him since the school said he wasn't present. She asks if something happened, but he remains silent. She tells him that there are days that would need to be forgotten and that she'll make him Toast Hawaii to cheer him up. It was her childhood comfort food, with cherries on top, and her father would dance like Elvis. He asks her whether she believes in God and if he has a plan. She says she does and that God planned for her to take care of him. He then goes to her and hugs her.
Michael was sitting outside in the picnic table, playing with his rubiks cube. He then notices an old man approaching the house. He asks the man if he was alright, but that man was overcome with emotion. Michael brings out two glasses of juice, and tells the silent man that he looks familiar. The man replies that he has waited 33 years for this moment. He flips his glass upside down and quoted "The question isn't how, it is when", and that's what Michael told him before. He finally understands that the man is Ulrich Nielsen, so they embrace into a hug, weeping into each other's shoulders.
Michael and Ulrich run through the forest as police cars arrive, sirens wailing. They reach the entrance to the cave just as the police do, with Egon and Ines close behind. The police fire warning shots and tell Ulrich to let go of the boy. He tries to tell them he is his son. Michael is lifted by an officer as Ulrich was being arrested, vowing to come back and take him home. Ines runs to him and hugs him, though he is more focused on his father. Seeing Egon, Ulrich says it is all his fault, and next time he will kill him.
Michael is carried home, and later drugged again in order to sleep.
2019 (alternate version)
In an alternate world, Mikkel is playing a videogame, which Katharina tells him to turn off. Martha asks Katharina what's wrong with him, and Katharina tells her he had been having the same nightmares. Martha tells Mikkel that maybe it wasn't a dream, and that maybe the here and now was one, and none of them were real. Mikkel laughs sarcastically and the lights in the house start flickering, as Katharina confiscates his videogame away.
Later, Jonas visits his home, and finds Mikkel asleep in his room.
Michael spent his life growing with Ines, and later forgot about the question of why Jonas would abandon him in 1986. He eventually quit being a magician, and developed the desire to become a painter. At some point, he also learned to believe in God, understanding that he really does have a plan for everyone.
He gets married to Hannah, and they both conceived Jonas Kahnwald in 2002 or 2003. His family of three resided at his childhood home, while Ines moved to an apartment. He grew a close relationship with his son, as they love each other dearly. The Kahnwald family remained friends with the Nielsens, a friendship which discomforts Michael, since they were his long-lost family. He experienced major anxiety attacks, due to the reformation of his former life, so Michael has been refusing to leave the house or change his clothes. His distressing behavior has been a concern for Hannah.
2019 (time travel)
He spooks Jonas from behind while the latter was making breakfast. Jonas tells him that he's going to the lake with his friends, and Michael warns him about an upcoming storm. This day was Ulrich and Katharina's anniversary party, so Jonas and Hannah ask him if he was sure he didn't want to go. Michael ignores their concerns. Before Jonas left, he grabbed his raincoat and says that he needs to leave. Michael drops his cup from the sight of the raincoat, undergoing déjà vu from the coat Jonas wore at the time he traveled all those decades ago.
Michael was breathing heavily, and Hannah caressed him from behind. She whispers her worries to him, but he dismisses them and claims he needed to finish his painting. Later that day, Michael was looking out the window of his studio room, over-viewing a conversation between Hannah and his former parents. He steps backward with shock at the sight of his younger self, Mikkel, stepping out of the car. Michael slowly descends his stairs, puts his ear on the bathroom door, hearing Mikkel urinating. When the boy steps out, Michael backs against his wall, but Mikkel turned around to notice him. The eye contact emotionally disturbs both of them, so Mikkel runs away while Michael gasps for air.
In the evening, he refuses to go to the party, so he's left alone. He hears some footsteps and notices a slightly older Jonas in the present Jonas' bedroom. Michael notices the gloomy expression on his son, so the latter goes to embrace him tightly. Michael acted cheerful to him, and Jonas tells him that he "knows everything". Michael was confused, until Jonas performed "ultimate fist bump". Michael was emotionally blown back by his identity reveal, so he cries into Jonas' shoulder.
At the dinner table, Jonas reveals that he is from the future. Michael asks as to why he traveled. His son responds that he doesn't want him to "do it". Michael was confused to Jonas' request, who kept saying that he should've known something was wrong. Jonas tearfully tells him not to hang himself in his attic art studio, which completely shocks Michael. Jonas shows him his suicide letter, and continues to beg him not to kill himself, since it would initiate an endless cycle. Jonas implores him to promise.
Jonas asks him how exactly he traveled back in time, and Michael reveals that it was him who took him to the cave in the first place. He narrates that he always wondered why Jonas did that to him, but eventually forgot about the mystery like a dream. Jonas clarified that he never did that. Michael says that he is starting to remember everything, and that maybe Jonas wasn't here to stop him but rather inform him on what to do. Maybe Jonas showed him the letter so that he can know what to write to younger Jonas after Michael passes. Jonas breaks down at the fact that he's meant to stop him, but Michael tells him that his role might be bigger than expected, and that maybe Michael is just a tiny sector of a huge tumor that is much bigger than imagined.
Jonas gloomily replies that his older self told him those words already. Michael caresses Jonas's head, whispering that God always has a plan. Just then, elderly Claudia Tiedemann arrives, saying that she has waited for their conversation. Claudia explains that there are two sides, Adam is the darkness, and Claudia is the light. She clarifies that Adam sent him here to ensure the cycle happens exactly as it always has. Jonas claims that this is something that Adam wants as well, but Claudia explains that he doesn't want to fix things, but rather destroy them forever. Claudia says that Jonas alone can stop all this by defeating himself. Jonas responds that if he didn't exist then Adam wouldn't, but according to her, the world without Jonas is much worse. She tells him that he needs to know that the decisions they make can't only influence their own fates. It's not only about Jonas and Mikkel.
Michael understands that he needs to sacrifice himself, so he tells the sobbing Jonas that it was going to be alright. The two have a final hug together, emotionally expressing their goodbyes to each other. Michael goes upstairs to write his suicide note to younger Jonas.
June 21 (Death)
Michael finishes sealing his letter in his attic. On the envelope, he wrote "Do not open before November 4, 10:13 PM". He places it on a bench next to a photo of his family. He stands on a stool, wears a noose around his neck, and hangs himself to death for the sacrifice.
Mikkel was a cheeky yet timid boy with big dreams. He had the desire to become a magician like Harry Houdini, however, the magic he wants to act upon are beyond logic. He isn't bothered about the fact that his family jokingly picks on him, since it was an inside joke. He would also brag about his dream, which is why Elisabeth Doppler referred to him as a "show-off".
Whenever he's afraid, he wouldn't have the correct ideas in mind, since the pressure is pushing hard against him. This is shown when the roar emitted from the cave in November 4, 2019, he stood in place until Jonas dragged him away. When he was first stuck in 1986, he couldn't calculate his situation, since it was the most abnormal thing to have ever happened to him. He feared for so long that he would never be able to return home and see his former life. Ines' heartfelt attitude brought him sustenance, feeling as if being with her was the key to escape his fear.
After being adopted, he started suffering anxiety over how much he misses his old family. There are points in time where he tried to time travel forward, but times where he decides to accept his new and unexpected life. Initially, Mikkel was raised by Ulrich to not believe in God, that religion was supposedly brainwashing the masses. Ines then turned his beliefs around, making him understand that there is a God who plans everything for everyone. However, he has been struggling to understand where he truly belonged.
He grew up witnessing the formation of his former environment, which gave him supplemental amounts of anxiety. He refused to witness the outside world, which he mourned for throughout the years. After meeting the slightly older Jonas from the future, he understood his true purpose was to commit suicide and begin the journey of his own son, and he was willing to enact his ultimate fate.
- Episode 1 "Secrets" (2019; young and adult)
- Episode 2 "Lies" (hallucination, 1986; time travel)
- Episode 3 "Past and Present" (1986; time travel)
- Episode 5 "Truths" (1986; time travel)
- Episode 7 "Crossroads" (1986; time travel)
- Episode 9 "Everything Is Now" (1986; young, 2019; adult)
- Episode 10 "Alpha and Omega" (1986; time travel)
- Episode 2 "Dark Matter" (1987; time travel)
- Episode 5 "Lost and Found" (1987; time travel)
- Episode 6 "An Endless Cycle" (2019; young and adult)
- Episode 7 "The White Devil" (hallucination)
- Episode 1 "Deja-vu" (2019; young alternate)
- Episode 5 "Life and Death" (1987; time travel)
- Episode 6 "Light and Shadow" (2019; young alternate)
- Episode 8 "The Paradise" (adult)
Before young Mikkel disappeared, he knew that Michael and Hannah were Jonas's parents and that Michael committed suicide the summer before. So on some level even with forgetting or repressing this, adult Michael knew these things too. He knew enough to be uncomfortable around his former family the Nielsen's developing in the 2000s, especially his younger self Mikkel in 2019.
Michael's behavior became more unstable the closer he came to the date of Mikkel's disappearance. This is the period which Jonas asks Hannah what his father was like earlier or before he got sick. She says he was different and you never knew if he was serious or not.
Mikkel/Michael knew he would eventually marry Hannah and have their son Jonas, who would betray and lead him through the cave, and eventually hang himself.
14 year old Hannah met 11 year old Mikkel (not yet Michael) at the hospital with a broken leg days after his arrival in 1986. He had attempted to go back through the cave once he saw the lights flickering just after telling Ines he was from the future.  They have an exchange over magic being an illusion that you have to make things change skillfully and in secret. He is talking about Houdini's magic but she ends up taking it to mean manipulation of people and ends up reporting Ulrich as raping Katharina. At the end of their conversation he says his name is Mikkel and he is from the future. She says it is nice to meet you Mikkel, boy from the future, I'm Hannah". 
Hannah must have realized at some point, perhaps even prior to her recognition or déjà vu moment on June 20, 2019 . that the Nielsen boy Mikkel was a magician too. Her son, Jonas and Mikkel shared a common greeting the "ultimate fist bump". She would have witnessed this especially while she was trying to remain close to Ulrich, her teenage obsession and affair that started the day before Michael's suicide.
Hannah knew that Mikkel was Michael at some point, perhaps this spurred her affair with Ulrich and possibly her stealing the time machine or apparatus. She may have know time travel was possible even prior to The Stranger taking her back to see Mikkel turning into Michael by eating Toast Hawaii.  To what end she may have done this is unknown, except to spurn Ulrich in 1954. Hannah is smart and cunning. She would have had to use the apparatus twice to get from 2020 to 1954 due to the 33 year limit; once from 2020 -> 1987 then again from 1987 -> 1954. 
- Mikkel was enrolled in class 6b in 1987.
- Michael's true reason for committing suicide wasn't revealed until "An Endless Cycle".
Notes and references
- → See 55 images of Michael Kahnwald at Images of Michael Kahnwald.