There are hundreds of different journeys that Black Mirror viewers can take through the narrative of its interactive Netflix movie Bandersnatch – and now show creator Charlie Brooker has revealed there could have been even more.
Speaking at the BFI and Radio Times Television Festival, Brooker and co-showrunner Annabel Jones spoke about the number of scenes and ideas they eventually had to cut from Bandersnatch, as they attempted to build the paths through the drama.
Back in January Brooker and Jones revealed some of the grisly deleted scenes from Bandersnatch – find out more about what else was left on the cutting room floor below…
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Charlie Brooker said his initial idea involved leaning even more heavily in to the video game concept, saying that he thought about ways that viewers/players could unlock special bonus features by completing tasks in the show.
“I wanted it to unlock achievements like an Xbox does,” he said of Bandersnatch, adding that he maintains that “it would have been a good idea” despite co-showrunner Annabel Jones not being so keen.
While Brooker didn’t go into detail about exactly what the rewards for viewers could be, but we’re kinda happy we don’t have to spend hours and hours exploring every corner of Stefan’s bleak, doom-laden world.
The very first choice that viewers make in Bandersnatch is whether protagonist Stefan eats Frosties or Sugar Puffs for breakfast. It sounds like a fairly benign choice, considering viewers are later asked to choose between cutting up a body or burying it, but it turns out Brooker wanted to bring back the cereals in a gruesome scene later on in the film.
“The pay-off for choosing the cereal later on,” explains Brooker, “when you hit Dad with the ash tray and kill him, was going to be cutting to a shot of Frosties or Sugar Puffs being splattered with blood, depending on what you’d chosen.
“But it turns out Kellogg’s aren’t keen on having their product associated with patricide.”
A film within a film
Perhaps the most meta idea that Brooker had for Bandersnatch which didn’t make the cut was his plan to sandwich an entire 90-minute movie in the middle of the film.
“There’s a bit where Stefan gets a VHS of a documentary and puts it on and watches it, and I wanted to make it so you had an option to put two tapes in, and one of them has got a film on it so you can watch the whole film.
“I wanted to license a 90-minute film so you could watch the whole thing or back out at any time. We’d have shot Fionn [Whitehead] sitting there watching the whole film – I really liked the idea of that.”