‘Black Mirror’ Bosses ‘Couldn’t Do’ Original ‘San Junipero’ Idea Because of ‘Westworld’

Sounds like Heaven was going to be a place on Earth

Last Updated: November 26, 2018 @ 10:04 PM

“Black Mirror’s” universal fan-favorite installment (and Emmy-winning episode) “San Junipero” could have been a different story if it wasn’t for “Westworld.”

In an excerpt from their new book, “Inside Black Mirror,” published as an oral history by Vulture Monday, “Black Mirror” creator Charlie Brooker and executive producer Annabel Jones — among others — discuss the making of the sci-fi anthology series’ beloved tale of Yorkie (Mackenzie Davis) and Kelly (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), two women who fall in love in the eponymous virtual town where it’s always the ’80s and everyone is dying or already dead and enjoying a digital afterlife.

And what the Netflix series’ showrunners revealed, among many other things, is that the original idea they had had to be altered because of Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy’s HBO series, which debuted in the fall of 2016 (right before “Black Mirror”s third season dropped) with a very similar concept.

“Something else that we’d discussed was a way of expanding the world of ‘Be Right Back,'” Brooker said, referencing a Season 2 episode where loved ones can use a service to stay in touch with the deceased. “We couldn’t do this now because of ‘Westworld,’ but we had the idea of a theme park you went to that was essentially Heaven. All your dead relatives and friends would be there, and you’d pay to go and visit them. So that thought stayed around for a while — this notion of Heaven that you go to as a holiday.”

Brooker added that sometimes the writers start by thinking of what genres they haven’t hit with the tech-centric show yet: “Partly because we were doing six films now, we wondered about a retro episode. How could we do one set in the past?”

And, obviously, they figured it out, and landed on the story that featured one of the happiest “Black Mirror” endings to date, set to Belinda Carlisle’s “Heaven is a Place on Earth.”

Still no word on when “Black Mirror” Season 5 will launch on Netflix, but Brooker has teased the next few episodes a bit, which you can read about here.