Fans of Black Mirror have learned to expect the unexpected after four full seasons so far, and Black Mirror: Bandersnatch was full of so many unexpected twists and turns that you literally couldn't just watch once and see everything there is to see. The standalone installment of Black Mirror was a choose-your-own-adventure experience of unprecedented complexity, with many variables leading to different endings. According to Bandersnatch director David Slade, there is some footage that even he can't access. Here's how he put it:
There are scenes that some people just will never see and we had to make sure that we were OK with that. We actually shot a scene that we can't access.
Bandersnatch requires viewers to make decisions that range from the mundane, like what to have for breakfast, to the much more significant, like how to dispose of a body. Each choice can change the course of the story, and there are five major endings that are possible to reach, although there are slight variations among them that arguably means upward of five. I personally only got to four distinct endings, but I have no trouble believing that I missed more than one.
David Slade's comments indicate that Bandersnatch is more complicated than even those who compiled flowcharts of all the ways to choose your own adventure could have guessed. Apparently, more footage was filmed than can be reached no matter what decisions you make for Stefan in Bandersnatch.
This news may only frustrate some viewers even more, as not everybody was thrilled with the wide variety of options that led to endings that all have a similar tone to them. Even the creative team behind Bandersnatch disagrees about the endings.
In the chat with THR where David Slade revealed that there's footage he can't access, Black Mirror producer Annabel Jones suggested that there are five "definitive" ends, while creator Charlie Brooker opined that there are even more. Producer Russell McLean said that there are 10 to 12 endings because of small variations. For its part, Netflix says that there are five "main" endings.
Basically, viewers may need to watch Bandersnatch more than just a few times if they want to see all the content that is accessible, never mind the footage that even the director can't watch! Charlie Brooker went on in the interview to say this about the endings:
There were quite heated debates about what constitutes an 'ending.' There's a school of thought that says any time it stops and you go back, that's an ending. In Bandersnatch, there are endings that are really abrupt that are still endings, in my mind.
If you haven't watched Black Mirror: Bandersnatch just yet, you can find it streaming on Netflix now. I made it through my first complete viewing in about 90 minutes, so you should probably block out an hour and a half at least to watch. If you want to experiment with different choices and different endings, you'll need more time. I'd say that it's worth playing around to see what decisions result in certain changes.
The downside of the complexity of Bandersnatch is that it kept the Black Mirror team so busy that the original intended release of Season 5 in 2018 couldn't happen. Focus had to be put on Bandersnatch, and even that only barely made it in before the end of 2018. For now, the fifth season of Black Mirror is expected at some point in 2019. There are plenty of other streaming series that have already gotten release dates, and you can find them out our 2019 Netflix premiere schedule.