Black Mirror: Bandersnatch might be the most ambitious Black Mirror project to date, but it comes at a cost. Production on Netflix’s interactive sci-fi film was so involved that Black Mirror‘s producers had to delay show’s upcoming fifth season.
Producer Annabel Jones confirmed the delay in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. Netflix currently lists a 2019 premiere date for Black Mirror season 5, but neither Jones, series creator Charlie Brooker, nor the streaming service has offered any more details.
With five official endings (each of which comes in a few different iterations) and thousands of possible story permutations, Bandersnatch “is like taking a whole Black Mirror season with the different genres and experiences, and putting them into one film,” Jones said. The movie-game hybrid, which lets players decide how its story will unfold choose-your-own-adventure style, took as long to produce as a full Black Mirror season, too. According to The New York Times, Bandersnatch consumed all of Brooker and Jones’ energy for a full year.
Black Mirror debuted in 2011 on the United Kingdom’s Channel 4, where it aired for two seasons. In 2016, Netflix brought the satirical sci-fi show to an international audience. Black Mirror won Emmys for Outstanding Television Movie and Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Dramatic Special in 2017 for the episode San Junipero and picked up another writing Emmy for the Star Trek send-up USS Callister a year later.
Bandersnatch is Netflix’s highest-profile foray into the world of interactive storytelling yet, but it’s not the first. A Shrek spinoff called Puss in Book: Trapped in an Epic Tale hit the service in 2017 and was quickly followed by branching episodes of the children’s show Stretch Armstrong and Netflix’s animated Buddy Thunderstruck. A few weeks before Bandersnatch‘s premiere, Telltale Games also brought a special version of Minecraft: Story Mode to Netflix in late 2018, although future collaborations with Netflix seem unlikely; Telltale closed in 2018, canceling its Stranger Things spinoff in the process.
When Black Mirror returns, Brooker claims that the stories will be “more optimistic,” skewing away from the series’ signature dystopian aesthetic. You might be waiting for a while to see that, however, so feel free to revisit the best Black Mirror episodes in the meantime — or just run through Bandersnatch a few more times. Chances are, there is still a lot there to discover.
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