Unus Annus: The End of an Era



What would you do if you only had a year left to live? Would you squander the time you were given? Or would you make every second count?


November 15, 2019, at 12 am PST, the start of the now-deleted YouTube channel of Unus Annus (oo·nus a·nus). 

Unus Annus, meaning “one year” in Latin, was a collaborative project by Mark Fischbach, from the YouTube channel Markiplier, and Ethan Nestor, from CrankGameplays. Starting on November 15, Mark and Ethan would upload one video consecutively every day for one year, 365 days. At the end of this one year, on November 14, 2020, at 12 am PST, Mark and Ethan would delete the channel. Thus, deleting all the content from the channel with only its memory remaining.

Having proper ends for things on YouTube, or whatever internet platform you have, is important. Because so many things end without a proper end, and it’s sad to see things fade away.”

— Mark Fischbach

The internet is a place where one can post virtually anything and it will stand the test of time. Mark noticed this and believed that people, including himself, have become too attached to internet content unwilling to let it go. He wished to create something that would have a specific lifespan and that he could eventually let go of. Mark then asked Ethan, and various editors and crew, to join him on this journey. 

On their first video, Unus Annus had taken YouTube’s #1 trending spot for several hours. As Unus Annus progressed, the cult-like following grew. Discord servers were made. Fanarts were posted. Inside jokes and references were created. Memes were spread all around social media. Every day before 12 pm PST, thousands of people would wait in anticipation for Unus Annus’ daily upload. Every video would begin and end with a ticking sound of a clock. A timer would countdown with the remaining time until the deletion of the channel– A constant reminder for how much time remains.

I feel like if you exist in a world where you can never let go of what you make, you will never move on as a creator or as a creative person. I wanted to make something that had a finite end date that people knew about from the start.”

— Mark Fischbach

On the final day of Unus Annus, Mark and Ethan did a 12-hour livestream where it would end with the deletion of the channel. In the final hour of the livestream, over one million people had tuned in garnering over one million likes. Everyone was watching at home on their own screens in vastly different places around the world, the atmosphere thick with a sense of tensing anticipation for the timer to finally hit zero. Mark, Ethan, and the rest of the team of Unus Annus all actively collaborated in this big finale that was the death of Unus Annus, but so did the people watching at home. 

On that night, the timer had stopped ticking. Unus Annus had come to an end. Everyone knew that the channel would be deleted. Yet, many had still wished it never would.

Memento Mori, “Remember Death:” The slogan of Unus Annus. 

For the following days, many had mourned the end of an era, but it also marked the beginning of a new one. After the death of Unus Annus, many took it upon themselves to create their own one-year project sequaling Unus Annus. The channel will forever be gone, but the memory will always be with the ones that had been along for the journey.

A year after the death of Unus Annus, Mark and Ethan each posted a video on their own channels in remembrance of this massive project they did together. Each standing in front of a coffin, alone, speaking to the other similar to how one would speak to a loved one’s grave: reminiscing about their memories together, talking about what they’ve done since then, pondering the future.

I don’t think that anyone will ever know what it’s actually like [creating Unus Annus]. Because what we made was really special. And I don’t think that anyone will ever be able to do that again.”

— Ethan Nestor

You can still find many reupload channels of Unus Annus videos, but simply watching the content isn’t what made Unus Annus so special. It was the community and the fans that truly brought Unus Annus to life. Sure, you can rewatch the content all you like, but you will never get the same feeling as watching the content at the same time as the rest of the community. Because, in the end, it was the community of Unus Annus that made it the legacy it is now.

Death is inevitable. Nothing can change that. But we can change how we are remembered.

So, what would you do if you only had a year left to live? Would you squander the time you were given? Or would you make every second count?



Mark’s interview about Unus Annus: https://www.newsweek.com/markiplier-youtube-end-unus-annus-have-courage-let-go-interview-1556047

Unus Annus channel: [redacted]

Memento Mori: Mark, Ethan