Netflix surprised-released the “Choose Your Own Adventure” episode of Black Mirror, called Bandersnatch, just in time for the holiday season, but it came at a cost. You’ll recall that right after Christmas in 2017, Netflix released Black Mirror Season 4 to ring in the new year. It sounds like a similar plan was eyed for 2018, but developing and executing the technologically intricate Bandersnatch caused the Black Mirror team to shuffle their plans a bit.
Speaking with THR, Black Mirror creator Charlie Brooker reveals that Bandersnatch came about while brainstorming new ideas for Black Mirror Season 5, but the choose your own adventure episode took more time than they expected:
“We knew going into it that this would impact our time, but it hasn’t stopped us from doing other films,” Brooker says of working on other episodes simultaneously. “I think it’s fair to say that it took us more time and effort than we had initially anticipated.’”
Netflix has yet to announce a Black Mirror Season 5 release date beyond confirming it’ll be sometime in 2019, and co-showrunner Annabel Jones elaborated a bit on why Bandersnatch took so long to make—and why the Season 5 delay was ultimately not a huge concern:
“There’s so much content and not reflected in the content is the craftsmanship, and what you have to take out to make the world exist — or feel as if it does exist in one cohesive world. So it did take an enormous amount of time and as a result, then season five sort of gets shifted back a little bit. But this is such a huge, interesting new opportunity for Netflix that we’re a part of. And there is so much fun to be had with it. That’s one thing that I hope people take away from it: I hope that you just enjoy the experience.”
Indeed, as I wrote previously Bandersnatch works a bit better as a game than as a cohesive episode of Black Mirror, but it’s still pretty fun. Moreover, while the episode is jam-packed with Black Mirror Easter Eggs, Brooker tells THR that Will Poulter’s Colin Ritman could conceivably reappear in other Black Mirror episodes, offering even more connective tissue for the series:
“Ostensibly, he could go on forever, because he’s both dead and not dead. I like the idea that he could show up anywhere. I could see him popping up in ‘San Junipero’ or running around in ‘White Bear.’”
That would certainly make sense, as the Black Mirror Season 4 finale “Black Museum” once and for all confirmed that these episodes all exist within the same universe. Casting for Black Mirror Season 5 is under lock and key, but don’t be surprised if Poulter makes a cameo somewhere.
As for the Black Mirror Season 5 release date, stay tuned. Now that Bandersnatch is out in the world, Brooker and Jones can turn their attention to finishing up the rest of the new episodes.