It’s fair to say that Black Mirror’s choose-your-own-adventure movie Bandersnatch is pretty dark, with viewers made to put poor game designer Stefan (Fionn Whitehead) through hell as they navigate the bleak choices on offer to him throughout the game.
When you get to the point where you’re asked to decide between burying or chopping up Stefan’s murdered father, you might have thought that things couldn’t get any darker – but according to Black Mirror showrunners Charlie Brooker and Annabel Jones, a few scenes were shot then cut from the film that would have made for an even grimmer story.
“There’s a scene we cut out,” Brooker said, “from when he’s cutting up his dad with the hacksaw.”
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“Do you remember,” he asked Jones, “there’s a version of that where he’s whistling happily to himself, where if it’s like the second or third time you’ve done it he’s like whistling happily? And we didn’t get a chance to put that in.”
Apparently, the idea was that for players who’d run through Bandersnatch more than once, and chosen to chop up Stefan’s dad more than once, would be gifted a version of the scene where Stefan cheerily submitted to the request, having become used to it over multiple playthroughs.
“It’s the point where you tell him to chop it up, and if it’s like the second or third time, I can’t remember, he goes ‘Oh alright then!’ and gets going,” Brooker laughed.
“At that point he’s embraced the fact that he’s being told what to do, and it gives him that detachment,” Jones explained.
“It’s like a job,” and it was quite funny – the absurdity of it all.”
“It’s a pity we didn’t use it, because we shot it,” added Brooker.
And in another deleted scene, we would have also apparently seen Stefan take an extra revenge on his murdered father post-mortem, suggested by Brooker to be in a timeline where he and his father had developed a particularly difficult relationship.
“There was one where he pisses on his dad’s grave, do you remember that?” Brooker asked Jones.
“That was in one where he was really angry with him.”
“Did we actually shoot that one?” Jones asked, faintly horrified.
“We did,” affirmed Brooker.
And when both those slightly horrific deleted scenes are added to Brooker’s original plans to have a truly horrific pay-off to Bandersnatch’s cereal choice, it begins to look more and more like we actually got off pretty lightly in terms of the finished film’s grimness.
Somewhere, in a parallel universe controlled by an unthinking streaming service user, there’s an even darker version of Bandersnatch…
Black Mirror: Bandersnatch is streaming on Netflix now