Netflix's Black Mirror: Bandersnatch has been a big hit for the streaming service with its groundbreaking interactive format getting viewers genuinely involved in the story and its outcomes. But, as most people who have experienced the movie know, things get very meta very quickly including a stunning reference to Netflix itself.
As it turns out, that shout out wasn't Netflix's idea at all. Instead, it was the brainchild of Black Mirror creator Charlie Brooker and executive producer Annabel Jones -- and it was something he was a little embarrassed to present to Netflix itself.
It was our idea," Brooker explained to The Wrap. "And it came about genuinely as a consequence of us talking it all through."
The moment comes about at a point in the story where Stefan (Fionn Whitehead) is starting to become deeply unraveled by his attempts to adapt the fantasy novel "Bandersnatch" into an interactive video game in the early 1980s. He's already started to feel like he's not exactly in control of his actions and, after a glitch in his programming causes much of what he's been working on to fail, viewers are presented with a choice. When Stefan resists the choice, recognizing that he's not in control he asks for a sign of sorts. That's when viewers are given the option to reveal who is controlling him -- and that includes telling him that he's being watched as a movie on Netflix.
"As we were working out ways the story could go, we thought, 'Well, you know, this is about somebody who becomes aware that there is somebody there controlling them,'" Brooker said. "So there's going to be a moment where he turns around and goes, 'Who is it? Who is there?' And we thought, well, it would be funny -- 'cause we wanted some branches to be funny, some to be horrifying, some to be dramatic -- we thought it'd be funny if you just told him the truth. If you just said, 'I'm watching you on the television and it's Netflix and I'm from the 21st century.' The more you try and explain it to him, the more crazy it sounds, and the more crazy he sounds trying to explain it to anyone else in 1984. So, it literally just came as a consequence of that."
While it the idea was amusing for Brooker and makes for a nice fit with some of the themes of Black Mirror overall, Brooker went on to explain that he wasn't exactly sure how Netflix would react to the idea.
"And I remember writing it into the outline and almost being embarrassed to show it to Netflix and go, 'Is that all right to do that?'" he said. "And they just thought it was quite funny."
While Brooker envisioned the meta Netflix reference as funny, the result in the story may end up as part of one of the more chilling "endings" of the whole film. All paths of the Netflix option lead Stefan to his therapist's office where he either ends up fighting the therapist (and is subsequently dragged away by his father) or has him attempt to leap out a window which leads to an ending which reveals a confused Stefan is actually "Mike" and an actor in a movie where, much to his horror, nothing he's experienced is real.0comments
Did you choose the Netflix option in your viewings of Black Mirror: Bandersnatch? Let us know in the comments below.
Black Mirror: Bandersnatch is now streaming on Netflix.