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I’m sure you’ve already heard this before, but if there’s any show that has taken the ideas and concepts of The Twilight Zone and thrust them into the 21st century, it’s Black Mirror. The (mostly) anthology series has found a home on Netflix since Season 3 and hopefully won’t be leaving the streaming service anytime soon. But with that in mind, when are we going to get Black Mirror Season 6, and what are the episodes going to be about? Sure, Season 5 wasn’t even that long ago since it came out last June, but that season was only 3 episodes long, and Black Mirror fans are always hungry for more, even if it does mean that we’re going to be depressed almost immediately after watching each episode.
But here’s the thing. Series creator, Charlie Brooker, and producer, Annabel Jones, are very coy when it comes to the series. So much so that the average fan often has no idea what the future of Black Mirror holds. Which is why I’m here to pick apart the interviews and comments and come up with some possible answers. Now, like most of you, I have a lot of questions myself (Like, is Black Mirror REALLY all one shared universe, a la, the MCU?) But certain questions, I just can’t answer. What I can hope to answer though is questions regarding Season 6. So stop pondering the deeper meaning of “White Bear” for just a moment, and come along with me. Maybe we can figure this out together.
I don’t know what stomach there would be for stories about societies falling apart, so I’m not working on any of those. I’m sort of keen to revisit my comic skill set, so I’ve been writing scripts aimed at making myself laugh.
Assuming "any of those" is meant to refer to new episodes of Black Mirror, it sounds like he may not presently be working on the next season, or wasn't as of early May. In the same article, he mentions how he can’t explain what he’s doing and not doing. So, at this point, the fate of Season 6 still hangs in the air, and it's possible it's not even being written right now.
But with Black Mirror being immensely popular on Netflix, we’d like to assume that Season 6 will happen eventually. So, with that in mind, when could Season 6 possibly come out? Well, Season 5 came out in June 2019, and “Bandersnatch” came out in December 2018. Season 4 came out in December 2017, but Season 3 came out in October 2016. So, given that timeline, we would normally expect a Black Mirror season around the fall or Christmas period.
And there is always the chance that we could see another season later this year, but that seems extremely optimistic, as it's looking very uncertain at this point, with very little information to go on.
Charlie Brooker Says He Wants to Go Back to His "Comic Skill Set". What Does That Mean Exactly?
As mentioned earlier, Brooker might not be working on Season 6 at all right now. In the past, he’s written for British comedy shows like Brass Eye, The 11 O’ Clock Show, and the sitcom, Nathan Barley. Brooker has also been working on his “Weekly Wipe” segments for the past few years now. So when he talks about his “comic skill set,” does that mean he’s talking about something un-Black Mirror related?
Because he was reluctant to get into specifics, t’s impossible to say. But humor, albeit dark humor, has appeared on Black Mirror in the past. Episodes like “The Waldo Effect” and “USS Callister”, have proven that the show doesn’t necessarily have to be pitch black to be effective. If Brooker is working on Season 6 scripts for Black Mirror, then maybe the tone will just be a little bit lighter this time around. We don’t know yet.
Who Will Star In Season 6?
This is another good question since very few actors have appeared in multiple episodes, with Hannah John-Kamen, Michaela Coel, and Daniel Lapaine being exceptions. So that means that pretty much anybody could be in Season 6. But there will almost certainly be a mix of British and transatlantic actors. Because ever since Jon Hamm made an appearance in the best episode (yes) “White Christmas,” the doors have been left wide open for American celebrity guests.
And it looks like the series is leaning a lot more toward American actors if Season 5 is any indication. All 3 episodes of Season 5 had at least one American actor, with “Striking Vipers” having Anthony Mackie, “Smithereens” featuring Topher Grace, and “Rachel, Jack and Ashley Too” starring Miley Cyrus. Now that the show has reached mass appeal, could we expect more recognizable faces for Season 6? It’s a big possibility.
How Many Episodes Will There Be in Season 6?
Right now, there’s no way to know how many episodes will be in Season 6 since the episodes have varied from season to season. But in the first season, Black Mirror only had 3 episodes, and they were good. “The National Anthem,” Fifteen Million Merits” and “The Entire History of You” are all considered classics. But when the show came to Netflix for Season 3, we got double that amount, and we got spoiled. Likewise with Season 4, there were six episodes. Then we got “Bandersnatch”, a Choose-Your-Own Adventure-type “episode” that is its own separate thing. In fact, “Bandersnatch” is the reason why Season 5 is so short to begin with. According to an interview with Digital Spy:
Originally, 'Bandersnatch' was part of season five. So 'Striking Vipers', we actually shot before we started shooting 'Bandersnatch'. 'Smithereens', a little bit of that overlapped with 'Bandersnatch.' ... But then as we worked on it more, it became apparent that 'Bandersnatch' was the equivalent of doing a whole season in itself.
But even if Brooker and his producer partner, Annabel Jones, don’t decide to do another “Bandersnatch”-esque episode (more on that in a few), then how many episodes will we likely get for Season 6? Again, it’s impossible to know.
Could We Get Another Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Episode like Bandersnatch?
The one-off, interactive episode, “Bandersnatch” actually won three awards—2019’s Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Creative Achievement in Interactive Media within a Scripted Program (That rolls right off the tongue, doesn’t it?), 2019’s Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Television Movie,” and 2019’s Nebula Award for Game Writing.” So Brooker and Annabel Jones would probably want to follow it up with another interactive movie, right? Well, not so fast.
On the topic of doing another interactive episode, Brooker joked in The New York Times that “Bandersnatch” was very difficult to make and that he isn’t looking forward to making another one anytime soon, advising anyone considering this format to run away:
Run away. It’s harder than you think.
So, yeah. Not the most enjoyable experience to create. That said, Netflix might ask them to do another one anyway since “Bandersnatch” turned out to be so popular. Netflix VP, Todd Yellin says to expect more interactive storytelling in the future. And while he might not be referring to Black Mirror, per se, it is still a possibility. According to an article from Variety, he stated:
It’s [Interactive storytelling] a huge hit here in India, it’s a huge hit around the world, and we realized, wow, interactive storytelling is something we want to bet more on…We’re doubling down on that. So expect over the next year or two to see more interactive storytelling. And it won’t necessarily be science fiction, or it won’t necessarily be dark. It could be a wacky comedy. It could be a romance, where the audience gets to choose – should she go out with him or him.
So again, this might mean a lot of things. There was recently an interactive special on Netflix for Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, so maybe that’s more along the lines of what Todd Yellin is talking about. But the Black Mirror people are so tight-lipped about the future of the series, that who knows whether or not we’ll get another interactive movie from them in the future. Nothing is off the table.
What About That Possible USS Callister Spin-Off? Could That Be Season 6?
In an article from The Wrap back in 2019, Black Mirror star, Jimmi Simpson said that Charlie Brooker has “fucking awesome ideas for USS Callister” spin-off:
He [Brooker] said that it’s his favorite episode and he just wants it to live on.
So, could a USS Callister spin-off be in the cards for Season 6? It's possible, but unknown. While there may be a follow-up episode to award-winning “USS Callister,” which would be a first for the series, there has been no word since 2019 to make us think that this might be the future direction of Black Mirror.
And those are all the questions I currently have for the next season of Black Mirror. There’s probably a lot more questions than answers for Season 6, and with the pandemic, there’s no way of knowing if anything even got started or not in regards to the series. Of course, if a new season does eventually come around (and we’re thinking it will), then we’ll be here to cover it, so stay tuned.