“Black Mirror: Bandersnatch” has become one of the franchise’s most polarizing entries since debuting on Netflix at the end of December. The project is the first “Black Mirror” movie and the first “Black Mirror” entry to adopt an interactive choose-your-own-adventure narrative, which has sent fans down a rabbit hole where there are five different endings and over one trillion possible story combinations. In an interview with HuffPo, creators Charlie Brooker and Annabel Jones reacted to the fans seemingly upset with the latest “Black Mirror” offering.
“There are some people that are like, ‘I don’t wanna make decisions,’ ‘I don’t want to do any of it.’ Well fuck off, then,” Brooker said. “Do something else! And then there’s some people who think, ‘Oh, it’s too simple as a game’ or ‘games have done this before’ – well this isn’t on a gaming platform, it’s on Netflix. I’m well aware of what a computer game is, thanks.”
Some “Black Mirror” fans have said they prefer when the series does not give the viewer options to control the narrative, to which Brooker reacted, “This is designed where you’re going to experience more than one ending to get a sense of the whole. We don’t expect you to do all of them, it’s just the more you do, hopefully the more fun an experience you’ll have.”
Brooker and Jones are aware some fans are upset with “Bandersnatch,” but they both feel gratitude that so many people are just experiencing “Bandersnatch,” whether they like it or not.
“It’s just so satisfying that so many people have engaged with it,” Jones said. “It’s very difficult because obviously it’s interactive, and you don’t know the order in which people have played or watched it, but it’s quite daunting letting it go out there and letting people have their own experiences.”
Generally speaking, it’s been the reaction that you would want,” Brooker added. “More people have done all of it than I would have possibly thought, because I thought most people would do about 20%. That’s what I kept saying [in grumpy voice], ‘People aren’t even going to see most of this.'”
The multiple endings have also thrown some viewers for a loop. None of the five potential endings to “Bandersnatch” are too optimistic, but “Black Mirror” is a show that has never offered viewers an easy way out. No wonder Brooker and Jones don’t understand some criticisms complaining about “Bandersnatch” being too much of a downer.
“We didn’t want to do an ending where [Stefan gets a five star review] and he’s happy, because that would be the most fucking boring ending there is,” Brooker said. In a way, that’s a traditional game. If you watched a film like that you might think it’s a little saccharine by the end.”
“Bandersnatch” stars Will Poulter and Fionn Whitehead recently got lost in their own debates about the endings during an interview with The Wrap. One ending fans are considering to be “the best” is where Whitehead’s Stefan gets a five star review for his game, but it comes at the expense of him having to kill his father and chop him to bits.
“Do you think that’s the best ending just because he’s successful in his career?” Whitehead asked. “Does that kind of correlate directly to success within ‘Bandersnatch?’ For me, one of the most successful endings for Stefan is when you get two-and-a-half stars and ends up on his sofa in the same house with his dad at Christmas, and he still has his whole life ahead of him.”
Whitehead concluded, “Everyone automatically goes to the fact that the most successful ending is when you get the highest rating on the game, as opposed to looking at the mental health and the sort of quality of life of the character itself.”
“Black Mirror: Bandersnatch” is now streaming on Netflix.