How Netflix Pulled Off the Complicated Storytelling of 'Black Mirror: Bandersnatch'

Its creator describes the process as “trying to do a Rubik's cube in your head.”
IMAGE Netflix

How did you find your experience of watching Blackmirror: Bandersnatch, the interactive choose-your-own-adventure movie by Netflix? 

Was it thrilling, confusing, tiring, mind-blowing, or was it all of the above? 

How many of the more than a trillion permutations did you come across? And which of the five main endings did you arrive at first? (We got the grimmest conclusion because our hearts are black.)

If your brain has turned into mush, like so many others who have seen and then reflected upon the film, you'd be happy to know that its creators suffered the same fate.

In two behind-the-scenes featurettes, Netflix and the Black Mirror team reveal how they had to come up with new ways of doing things, from technology to editing to acting, in order to accommodate the complicated storytelling of Bandersnatch. The butterfly effect of the choosing this or that was just too much. 

“Part of the excitement of working in Netflix is constantly inventing what is Internet TV,” says Netflix vice president of product Todd Yellin, who adds that Black Mirror is the perfect vehicle to do just this. 

Meanwhile, Charles Brooker, creator of the series, describes the production as akin to figuring out a Rubik's cube in his head. Interestingly, he also reveals that when Netflix approached him about doing an interactive film he initially said no. 

But leave it to the mind, the ultimate trickster, to put a spotlight on a suggestion until you finally give in. Brooker found a plot that would work, and so we now have a fresh way to view stories on a screen.


That makes us wonder about what permutation of Internet consumption we'd have had he refused to do the interactive Bandersnatch—but we don't want to break our brains on a Monday. 

For now, choose the data you want to chew on: See below if you want to learn more about the technology of Bandersnatch. Scroll further down for a peek into filming. 



Watch Blackmiror: Bandersnatch on Netflix.

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Clifford Olanday
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