(Warning: This post contains spoilers for “Black Mirror: Bandersnatch” that you may be exposed to even if you’ve watched it, due to its different versions.)
Netflix’s new interactive “Black Mirror” film, “Bandersnatch,” has been dissected, analyzed and commentated on from every possible angle by fans, the press (including members of TheWrap staff)… and Netflix itself.
Yes, the streamer has had quite a bit of fun joining the social media conversation about its first “Choose Your Own Adventure”-style project for an adult audience. “Black Mirror” creator Charlie Brooker told TheWrap he remembers “almost being embarrassed” to let Netflix know how he planned to reference the platform in the movie itself.
The decision to have a few of its possible plots include direct shout-outs to Netflix came early on and not from the streaming giant, but rather from Brooker and executive producer Annabel Jones. “It was our idea,” he said. “And it came about genuinely as a consequence of us talking it all through.”
The interactive story follows ’80s programmer Stefan (Fionn Whitehead) and his attempts to adapt the fantasy novel “Bandersnatch” into a video game. It has five possible main endings, two of which get very meta when they allow the viewer to tell Stefan they are watching him on Netflix.
“As we were working out ways the story could go, we thought, ‘Well, you know, this is about somebody who becomes aware that there is somebody there controlling them.’ So there’s going to be a moment where he turns around and goes, ‘Who is it? Who is there?'” Brooker said.
“And we thought, well, it would be funny — ’cause we wanted some branches to be funny, some to be horrifying, some to be dramatic — we thought it’d be funny if you just told him the truth. If you just said, ‘I’m watching you on the television and it’s Netflix and I’m from the 21st century.’ The more you try and explain it to him, the more crazy it sounds, and the more crazy he sounds trying to explain it to anyone else in 1984. So it literally just came as a consequence of that.”
All that said, Brooker was worried about presenting the idea to Netflix, adding: “And I remember writing it into the outline and almost being embarrassed to show it to Netflix and go, ‘Is that all right to do that?’ And they just thought it was quite funny.”
Brooker also tells TheWrap that, at first, he had made it more difficult to even get to the Netflix parts.
“Originally that prompt was a little more hidden away, and we sort of opened it up, and you had to have gone around the whole thing at least once, I think, to get to,” Brooker said. “And it was proving weirdly too difficult to get to, so we opened it up earlier along. Because, apart from anything else, it does guarantee that a lot of people are going to have a very different experience the first time around.”
You can read more from our interview with Brooker (about how he doesn’t remember how to get to the secret ending) here and (about why there are scenes you can’t access) here, and check out our chat with “Bandersnatch” stars Whitehead and Will Poulter here.