Netflix lifted the veil of secrecy surrounding the new “Black Mirror” film “Bandersnatch” by dropping a trailer in the wee small hours on Thursday, revealing that the widely-speculated-about standalone installment centers around a young man in the ’80s who unravels while working on a video game inspired by a fantasy novel. The promo also confirmed that (surprise!) the movie is launching Friday — as in tomorrow — on Netflix.
The streamer provided this brief synopsis for the project: “In 1984, a young programmer begins to question reality as he adapts a sprawling fantasy novel into a video game and soon faces a mind-mangling challenge. Welcome back.”
“[I] keep having these vivid dreams, like thinking weird things,” our hero Stefan (“Dunkirk” alum Fionn Whitehead) says at the start of the trailer, as he pops red-and-yellow capsules.
A boss-type at the video game company explains, “We’re gonna be a hit factory! Like Motown, but for video games.”
One of these projects is called “Bandersnatch,” an adventure game based on the book by (fictitious) author Jerome F. Davies, who “went cuckoo and cut his wife’s head off.” (Because “Black Mirror.”)
Soon things become disorienting, as Stefan decides to flush his pills to hit a “bit of madness” while working on adapting “Bandersnatch.” Then we get another song to add to our “Black Mirror” ’80s soundtrack, as the Frankie Goes to Hollywood hit “Relax” takes us out and a woman on TV declares, “You’re not in control.”
The 90-second trailer (which reveals the film also stars Will Poulter and Asim Chaudhry) concludes by saying “Black Mirror: Bandersnatch” will drop Friday — just as a now-deleted Netflix tweet promised in November. That gives you less than 24 hours to watch the trailer 300 times and try to pick up on all the clues, just like we’ll be doing.
Though we didn’t get confirmation that this “Black Mirror event” (as the trailer puts it) is the reported choose-your-own-adventure installment of the Charlie Brooker-created anthology series, the promo heavily implied that’s what you’ll find when you check it out tomorrow, with title cards that read: “Change your mind… Change your life… Change your past… Your present… Your future.”
TheWrap has learned that “Bandersnatch” is not considered part of “Black Mirror” Season 5, which is expected to launch on Netflix later in 2019, and is definitely considered a standalone film.
Up until this point, Netflix has declined to comment on or confirm any details about the new “Black Mirror” project, which has made piecing together details about the movie a real Bandersnatch. (Sorry, here’s what a Bandersnatch is.)
Bloomberg first reported a “Choose Your Own Adventure”-style episode was coming back in October, though Netflix never confirmed the news.
In November, an official Netflix Twitter account revealed a project called “Black Mirror: Bandersnatch” would hit Dec. 28, though that tweet was deleted and many fans believed the possible leak pointed to a premiere date for the upcoming fifth season of “Black Mirror” as a whole. And some took the “Bandersnatch” title clue and connected it with the interactive narrative episode report from Bloomberg, as the Bandersnatch is a character in Lewis Carroll’s 1872 novel “Through the Looking-Glass.” Obviously that gave everyone plenty of literary material to nerd-out on.
Then last week, a landing page for “Black Mirror: Bandersnatch” quietly went live on Netflix, with the service labeling the project “A Netflix Film.” But representatives for Netflix still declined to provide any details about the movie, including if it’s the “Choose Your Own Adventure” installment.
According to the Korean Media Rating Board via the Independent (because that’s how deep this rabbit hole has gone in looking for clues about this film), “Bandersnatch” is directed by David Slade, who previously helmed the “Black Mirror” Season 4 episode “Metalhead.”
“Black Mirror: Bandersnatch” launches Friday on Netflix.