Black Mirror’s Bandersnatch: What are viewers choosing?


The minds behind Black Mirror provide some insight into their latest release, Bandersnatch, and the choice viewers are missing throughout the interactive movie.

Netflix has been dropping a handful of eye-catching and nail-biting movies and shows this winter  — movies like Bird Box and shows like Tidying Up With Marie Kondo have proven to be real crowd-pleasers by viewers. Yet, if there’s one movie that has topped them all it’s Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, the mind-boggling “choose-your-own-adventure” movie.

The Hollywood Reporter sat down with executive producer Annabel Jones to hear more about how the videogame-like movie has sat with viewers since its release. Evidently, the most “poignant” of all potential endings is also the one path that still has not been revealed to most people who have sat down and committed to watching all of Bandersnatch. Well, tried to watch all of it, that is. This is what Jones had to say about this particular ending:

"There’s a truthfulness in his longing to go back and be reunited with his mother…[b]ecause Stefan is so consumed by guilt over his influence or what he perceives to be his hand in his mother’s untimely death, he’s obsessed with branching narratives because he wishes he could go back and change things."

Not only does Jones’ insight help us to understand Bandersnatch, but it also gives a look inside how the creators behind Black Mirror construct each of their mind-blowing plots. Bandersnatch itself is meta, which Black Mirror has a penchant for doing as well by referencing episodes within episodes. Yet, Netflix’s first-ever-interactive-movie takes it to a whole new level with the choices available for viewers to pick from, like Stefan discovering Netflix to choices that also allow Stefan to realize he’s being watched (both literally and figuratively). Ultimately, it seems like the creators really want the viewers to feel what the main protagonist, Stefan, feels: a longing to control the plot. Viewers will never seem to be in complete control, much like Stefan, since Netflix has revealed that there are more Bandersnatch scenes to be seen.  

According to THR, Netflix has been revealing statistics on viewer ratings for some of its shows and movies lately. Discussion over whether to share the viewer statistics on Bandersnatch have been on the table, although that excludes sharing the names of viewers who chose certain choices throughout the movie, since some of the options (if you know, you know) are pretty dire. THR interviewed Carla Engelbrecht, the director of product innovation at Netflix, who revealed just how much the streaming service is learning about viewers. “We’re Netflix, we know what percent [sic] of folks are taking one path or another,” Engelbrecht explained, also elaborating on how Netflix could predict what viewers would pick in certain situations based on the situation presented.

Next. Shadow and Bone is coming to Netflix: 5 things we can’t wait to see. dark

If there’s one thing that the creators of Black Mirror have done, it’s create a fascination between the general public and their relationships they form with technology that otherwise would go unnoticed. To the point of almost creating paranoia over how much information people are sharing and time spent on different devices, Jones and Brooker have a knack for telling stories that intertwine the present day and the future nobody wants.