“You’re not in control.” That’s the promise from Bandersnatch, Black Mirror’s new feature film, which is set to release on Friday 28th December.
Yes, Charlie Brooker’s tech anthology has finally confirmed, after months of speculation, that its first movie will arrive tomorrow on Netflix, and the first trailer playfully appears to confirm that it will be the much anticipated interactive special that has been in the works for some time.
Change your mind. Change your life. Change your past, your present, your future. That’s the offer on the table, as the film sees a young programmer adapts a sprawling fantasy novel into a video game. An adventure game based on the book Bandersnatch by “Jerome F. Davies”, the job soon leaves the programmer facing a mind-mangling challenge.
Bandersnatch stars Fionn Whitehead, with support from People Just Do Nothing’s Asim Chaudhry as the computer games company owner and Will Poulter. Filmed in Croydon earlier this year, complete with retro shopfronts, the period thriller is directed by Hard Candy’s David Slade, who previously helmed the black-and-white, stripped-down survival thriller episode of Black Mirror, Metalhead.
Black Mirror: Bandersnatch premieres on Friday 28th December on Netflix worldwide.
Here’s the trailer:
Black Mirror: Bandersnatch is available on Netflix UK, as part of an £8.99 monthly subscription.
Bandersnatch: Black Mirror movie is heading to Netflix
20th December 2018
Black Mirror is thinking big for its next outing, with a film officially on the way to Netflix in the very near future – possibly as soon as this month.
Charlie Brooker’s anthology series for the digital age has tackled pertinent issues ranging from star ratings and blocking people to toxic fandom and the terror of the infinite abyss that is the online ether. With its topics and bleak tone resonating with audiences on both sides of the Atlantic, Netflix has wasted no time in ordering more episodes, with Season 4 premiering last year and a fifth season swiftly ordered. In more recent months, the exact nature of Season 5 has come to light through various reports, and the understand is now that an interactive special has been penned and produced for the streaming service – the show’s most fitting use of modern technology yet.
Now, Netflix has updated its library to list a new entry for Black Mirror: not Season 5, but a single Black Mirror film called Bandersnatch. This feature-length outing seems extremely likely to be the interactive special: users on social media have reported the running time on the site as being displayed at several hours long as well as around 90 minutes. Currently, it’s showing up as 2 minutes, suggesting that these times are, at different times, reflecting the individual or combined length of each segment that would be required for a multi-branched narrative.
Otherwise, we know that Black Mirror has been filming earlier this year for something based in the 1980s, and that Bandersnatch is the name of a never-released Spectrum video game from the computing company Imagine, which closed due to mounting debts in 1984.
Netflix are filming Black Mirror in Croydon! They're building 1980s replicas of WH Smith, Wimpy, Pizza Hut and FADS. Who wants some Opal Fruits? pic.twitter.com/uo1Pjlbw2u
The other question for Black Mirror fans has been when the show will return. With Netflix’s page for the Bandersnatch film now live, the date of release looks to be drawing closer. Indeed, earlier this month, a tweet by sci-fi social media account NXOnNetflix listed “Black Mirror: Bandersnatch” as being released on 28th December.
That has now been deleted, but the reveal that Bandersnatch is the official name of Black Mirror’s feature-length outing chimes in with that air date – with no comment from Netflix about when an announcement will be made regarding Black Mirror, we only have 8 days until we know for sure either way.
Until then, you can see Banderstnatch’s listing on Netflix (and add it to your watchlist) by clicking on the button below).
Interactive Black Mirror episode reportedly on the way this year
2nd October 2018
The next season of Netflix’s Black Mirror will reportedly include an interactive episode.
Netflix has been increasingly experimenting with the idea of choose-your-own-adventure stories. The streaming landscape ideal for user selections, without ads or other people’s choices impacting an individual’s experience. A Puss in Boots interactive special, Puss in Book, was released last year, alongside another for stop-motion show Buddy Thunderstruck. HBO, on the other hand, has taken the concept into the adult entertainment arena, with Steven Soderbergh’s thriller Mosaic released on a stand-alone app in the USA. The Walking Dead, meanwhile, has been turned into similarly structured video games by Telltale Games, a company that laid off almost all of its staff last month – but is retaining a skeleton staff to complete a Minecraft project for Netflix.
As technology develops and the line between video games and other forms of entertainment blurs, the idea of an interactive Black Mirror episode feels particularly apt; Charlie Brooker’s anthology for a digital age has tackled pertinent issues ranging from star ratings and blocking people to toxic fandom and the terror of the infinite abyss that is the online ether. Last season saw the show become more experimental, toying with having actual happy endings, as well as broadening the show’s genres to include comedy and romance. The notion of being able to pick how happy an ending you want your depiction of reality to have is exactly the kind of subject suited to a Black Mirror story, in form as well as content.
According to Bloomberg, anonymous sources “familiar with the matter” have revealed a choose-your-own-adventure story is in the works for Black Mirror Season 5. Bloomberg says its sources report a slate of specials are in development that will let viewers choose the storyline as it goes, with a deal signed for at least one other live-action interactive project. It’s not an easy undertaking, though, requiring longer scripts to cover each variation and more production time, both of which will impact wages and contract agreements with writers, producers and other talent.
While interactive telly is therefore still a long way off becoming mainstream, Bloomberg reports that it won’t be a long wait for Black Mirror’s effort: Season 5, according to its sources, will be released this year, most likely in December, following 2017’s release of Season 4 two days before the year was out.
The Verge asked Netflix for an official comment and received a suitably playful response: “Thanks for reaching out! You have the ability to choose your own response from Netflix: this or this.”
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