Black Mirror: Bandersnatch – What’s it about, who’s in the cast and can I watch it on Netflix?

Will you go through the looking glass with Charlie Brooker's sci-fi horror on Netflix?

Black Mirror: Bandersnatch

Charlie Brooker and David Slade expand the Black Mirror-Verse with the feature-length Black Mirror: Bandersnatch.

Advertisement

Netflix’s interactive special is one of Black Mirror’s most out-there concepts, as the dystopian sci-fi horror delves into the psyche of a tormented video game developer and the warped world around him.

How can I watch and stream Black Mirror: Bandersnatch?

Black Mirror: Bandersnatch is available to stream on Netflix in the UK.

Netflix continues its exclusive partnership with Black Mirror to bring new episodes of the series to the streaming giant.

Who is in Black Mirror: Bandersnatch?

The cast of Black Mirror: Bandersnatch is led by Dunkirk’s Fionn Whitehead as Stefan Butler, the young developer who tries to adapt a forgotten choose-your-own-adventure novel into a modern video game experience. Stefan is hired by Tuckersoft boss Mohan Thakur (Asim Chaudhry) to develop Bandersnatch.

While at Tuckersoft, Stefan meets video game guru Colin Ritman (Will Poulter) who he learns not to trust. The episode unfolds, giving viewers a variety of different options from which to choose. The episode also includes Craig Parkinson as Stefan’s father, Tallulah Haddon as Colin’s girlfriend, and Alice Lowe as Dr. R. Haynes. Real-life video game developer Jeff Minter appears in flashback as Jerome F. Davis.

How do I play Bandersnatch?

A clever twist on the old choose-your-own-adventure books, Black Mirror: Bandersnatch is an interactive special that plays out as a feature-length episode of the show. Using their remotes, viewers choose either the “left” or “right” options and are given a 10-second time limit to make their decision. Brooker chose the “default” path system himself, saying it would provide “the most basic version of the story.”

Bandersnatch also explains how the Black Mirror symbol is a visual representation of your branching choices. Typically, viewers are given the chance to go back and change their last critical choice or finish their experience and view Bandersnatch’s credits.

What is Black Mirror: Bandersnatch about?

Set in the 1980s, Bandersnatch tells the tale of fantasy author Jerome F. Davis: a man who “went cuckoo and cut his wife’s head off.” The main narrative follows Stefan as he tries to turn Davis’ book into a bestselling game. Stefan clearly has issues and has to decide whether the medication he takes is helping or hindering Bandersnatch’s development. He’s advised by Dr. R Haynes, a possible nod to “Black Museum” character Rolo Haynes.

Stefan’s reality begins to slip away as he continuously runs into the monstrous creature known as Pax. Added to this is the shady backstory of what happened to Stefan’s mother, Colin’s rocky relationship with his girlfriend, and Tuckersoft’s looming deadline. Viewers frequently choose the wrong path and are sent back to the beginning to start the whole nightmare all over again.

The idea was originally envisioned in 2016 when Brooker was developing season 4’s “Playtest”. Netflix asked for an interactive element, and while Brooker didn’t put into “Playtest”, he transformed the idea into Bandersnatch. In fact, Bandersnatch was first mentioned on the front cover of a magazine in “Playtest.”

What does Bandersnatch mean?

The first reference to the Bandersnatch appears in Lewis Carroll’s “Jabberwocky” poem from Alice Through The Looking-Glass in  1871. Carroll refers to a vicious creature known as the Bandersnatch, with the poem’s narrator warning his son to “shun / The frumious Bandersnatch”.

Bandersnatch includes more references to Alice in Wonderland thanks to Stefan’s ties to a white stuffed rabbit toy. Colin’s girlfriend Kitty bears an uncanny resemblance to the Mad Hatter, and the scene of taking drugs in their flat is reminiscent of the Hatter’s tea party.

In reality, Bandersnatch was a planned game from Imagine Software that never saw the light of day. The company went bankrupt in 1984 and was widely criticised for never releasing Bandersnatch. Bandersnatch ironically opens on 9 July 1984, the actual day Imagine Software went bump. Imagine’s Bandersnatch was nothing like Stefan’s and instead centred around a retired police officer in a futuristic city full of doomed buildings.

Bandersnatch has been used several times in popular culture. Enemies called Bandersnatch have appeared in both the Resident Evil and Final Fantasy franchises. Elsewhere, the Bandersnatch appeared in Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland from 2010.

How long is Bandersnatch?

Black Mirror: Bandersnatch has no set viewing time, but the average length is 90 minutes. The shortest route sees the credits roll after just 40 minutes.

150 minutes of unique footage is split into 250 different segments, meaning there are a variety of different endings and no two experiences are the same. The longest viewing experience can take up to two and a half hours.

How many endings are there?

Netflix originally claimed there are five main endings, however, producer Russell McLean says there are up to twelve endings. In keeping with the sombre tone of Black Mirror, most of Bandersnatch’s endings include horrible consequences for Stefan and those around him.

The easiest ending to reach is the Pearl Ritman ending. Jumping to the present, the daughter of Colin Ritman works for Netflix and explains how she wants to turn Bandersnatch into an interactive Netflix special. Cut to the infamous branching symbol that has become synonymous with Black Mirror.

Advertisement

There was also a secret Bandersnatch ending that remained hidden for a while, but in reality, no one will ever know how many endings there actually are. The creators admit one ending was lost in the code so can’t be found, while others are so well hidden, viewers will never be able to see them. It’s a typically Black Mirror scenario for Bandersnatch.