There's no denying that the latest episode of Black Mirror has been a huge hit - not least becuase it puts the ending in the hands of the viewers. How many hours have you sat in front of your computer trying to get all the endings in Black Mirror: Bandersnatch? By now you probably feel as though you can recite the script by heart and know every choice that gets to every ending. But how much do you really know about Bandersnatch? If you think it’s the first interactive film on Netflix, or think over there is over 5 hours of footage, you may want to check out the below 10 things you didn’t know about Black Mirror: Bandersnatch.
While making Stefan Butler (played by Fionn Whitehead) dance for you like the puppet he is, you may have recognized the actor. While he doesn’t have much professional acting experiences under his belt, what he does have is a doozy. Fionn’s first major film role was the protagonist Tommy in Dunkirk, a young British private who is the sole survivor of a German ambush.
While Black Mirror: Bandersnatch is the first adult Netflix show with multiple endings, it was almost the second. According to an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, series creator Charlie Brooker had previously conceived of multiple endings for the episode "Playtest". He originally envisioned a “nightmare” version of the episode, played when the viewer had seen the episode once before, which would have ended with a much darker resolution.
8. “Probably Going To Be Complicated”
When Netflix first pitched the idea of a “choose your own adventure” episode of Black Mirror to Charlie Brooker, he dismissed it outright. Brooker felt it was a cheap gimmick and couldn’t see a story that would work. A few weeks later, Brooker changed his mind. In an interview with WIRED UK, he said, “This idea popped up that would only work as an interactive. It was a moment where we went, ‘Oh great that’s exciting, it’s a story that would only work in this way.’ Five minutes later we thought, ‘Oh shit, now we’ve got to do that, and it’s probably going to be complicated."
7. What’s a Bandersnatch?
In the film, Bandersnatch is the name of the fictional “choose your own adventure” novel by fictional writer Jerome F. Davies. The villain of the book is called Pax, so what’s a Bandersnatch? A little bit of digging through history reveals that a Bandersnatch comes from Lewis Carroll’s 1872 novel Through the Looking-Glass and his 1874 poem The Hunting of the Snark. Although neither work describes the appearance of a Bandersnatch in great detail, in The Hunting of the Snark, it is said to have a long neck and snapping jaws, and both works describe it as ferocious and extraordinarily fast.
Even seen a fictional game played in a movie or TV show and wished you could play it yourself? Well, now you can. In the film, Colin is seen playtesting his newest creation called Nohzdyze, an 8-bit game where the player falls down the screen collecting eyeballs and avoiding hazards. In one of the many endings in Bandersnatch, the sound of a computer data tape recording is heard. If you take that sound and load it into a ZX Spectrum, it produces a QR code with the White Bear glyph in the middle that leads to the fictional Tuckersoft website, where a playable copy of the ZX Spectrum game Nohzdyve can be downloaded.
5. The Game Was Almost Real
In 1984, there was a “choose your own adventure” game in development called Bandersnatch. It was one of several purported “mega-games” which Imagine Software worked on. However, Bandersnatch was never released as the company went bankrupt in 1984. Imagine's closure was widely publicized as the events leading to it occurred at the time the BBC was featuring the company in its 1984 “Commercial Breaks”. The film Bandersnatch, however, opens on 9 July 1984, the day Imagine Software was closed, and the cover of Crash with this news can also be seen.
4. Not Available To All
In order to provide a seamless transition at choice junctures, Netflix has to create software to manage all of the choice branches and pre-load both options in a cache as the timer counts down. As such, viewing Bandersnatch is not possible on all platforms. Attempting to watch Bandersnatch on an unsupported platform will result in a short video message using clips from earlier episodes of Black Mirror informing the viewer that their platform does not currently support interactive content on Netflix.
3. 2.5 Hours of Footage
When it was announced that Black Mirror: Bandersnatch was going to be an interactive episode, it was rumored to have over five hours of footage. However, several sources have stated that the film’s script has 170 pages and equates to roughly two and a half hours and is divided into 250 segments. It’s still a large undertaking, seeing that most two and half hour movies have a script of around 150 pages.
2. How Many Endings Are There, Really?
After hours of viewings and re-watches, many viewers and analysts have concluded there are five endings. With millions of choice combinations, what do the creators have to say? In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the people behind the scenes couldn’t actually agree. “I don’t know how many endings there actually are — I think I’ve forgotten,” Brooker said. When his producing partner, Annabel Jones, suggested there are five “definitive” endings, Brooker interrupts: “No. There are more than that.” If you ask producer Russell McLean, he said there are 10 to 12 endings because some are less definitive. How many have you seen?
1. The Secret Ending(s)
In the same interview, director David Slade said there are even “golden eggs” that are so difficult to reach, they may never be unlocked. “There are scenes that some people just will never see and we had to make sure that we were OK with that. We actually shot a scene that we can’t access”. Only have the internet nerds have extracted and sorted through the full file will we ever get the full picture.