• Let's try to determine what a Bandersnatch is… Netflix
  • Not much of a mystery, actually: it's a fictional sci-fi book… Netflix
  • …that our protagonist is tasked to convert into an '80s computer game.
  • The trailer hints to this book's author (shown here) being a reclusive nutjob attached to things like cutting off his wife's head.
  • Thus, a coworker suggests that "when it's a concept piece, a bit of madness is what you need."
  • That "madness" includes getting rid of prescribed medications, putting together an "evidence wall" on a corkboard, and digging through recorded footage on a delightfully oversized VCR.
  • Oh, and commiserating with people who have sweet '80s new-wave hairdos.
  • Uneven lighting that suggests bad things to come? Yep, it's Black Mirror, alright.
  • Nice way to establish Black Mirror universe continuity with this company's name.

Rumors of an experimental "choose your own adventure" feature on Netflix may have finally found their target film: a one-off Black Mirror "event," dubbed Black Mirror: Bandersnatch.

Netflix announced Bandersnatch with a surprise trailer drop on Thursday, one day before the film's world premiere tomorrow. With that came confirmation on the film's listing page of "multiple endings" as a primary feature. This could play out like in other classic films (Clue, LOTR: Return of the King), in which a series of endings happens in order, or we could finally see the video-streaming service roll out a new feature that lets viewers use their remote controls to decide how the film ends.

Eagle-eyed Netflix users may have already seen hints of such a feature in the form of "watch that again" prompts, which have begun popping up over the past few weeks during select videos. These work a bit differently, in that they let viewers use their remotes to respond to an on-screen prompt, then rewind to a point that Netflix has deemed worthy of rewatching.

Conveniently, Bloomberg's original report pinned such a feature on a new fifth season of Black Mirror, but Netflix has instead unveiled a standalone film with a trailer that asks viewers to "change your past, your present, your future." And in a rare turn for the series, this "event" film sees the show's universe step backward in time, not forward. The trailer employs a decidedly '80s British new-wave aesthetic and introduces an up-and-coming video game company set to capitalize on the nation's early-'80s home-computing boom. (The British flourishes help this trailer look singular, as opposed to seeming like a Stranger Things carbon-copy.)

This new gaming company will make its mark by adapting a notorious sci-fi novel, named Bandersnatch, and the trailer sees an apparent protagonist descend into madness by trying to understand the book's notorious author. Pills, vinyl records, wild hairdos, VCRs, and mysterious figures emerge along the way (as do some not-so-subtle references to other Black Mirror episodes, such as the name of the fictional game company matching that of a robot-dog factory from the series' fourth season).

We'll likely have to wait until 2019 to see how the rest of Black Mirror's announced fifth season unfolds in terms of release dates, number of episodes, and whether any other episodes employ similar choose-the-ending gimmicks. For now, enjoy the trailer, embedded below.

Black Mirror: Bandersnatch trailer.

Listing image by Netflix

Original Article

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Ars Technica

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