Netflix's latest Black Mirror "event," a film titled Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, launched on the streaming service on Friday. The film has garnered attention for its interactive elements, thus capitalizing on a decision-based system announced in June 2017, and fans of the dark-technology series may very well be excited to tap away and decide the film's fate.
One thing fans may be more confused about, however, is the series' murky fate in the wake of the film's launch. As conflicting reports began to circulate, we reached out to Netflix to confirm some good news: Black Mirror: Bandersnatch is not the only Black Mirror episode in the series' "fifth season" order.
A lengthy New York Times feature about Bandersnatch's creation and production concludes with a particularly vague response to questions about future episodes: "'We're doing more optimistic episodes and stories, rather than just dystopian and negative ones,' Brooker said. 'We want to keep the show interesting for us.' He and Jones were, however, extremely hazy on when the next episodes would arrive. Bandersnatch consumed all their attention for a year."
In an emailed response to Ars, Netflix confirmed the series' future: "Season five will arrive later in 2019, as previously announced."
Can you 'Snatch?
Netflix has confirmed that some streaming devices have been left in the Bandersnatch cold. The interactive film will work fine on smart TVs, game consoles, web browsers, and Android and iOS hardware. The chopping block includes Chromecast, Apple TV, and "some legacy devices."That statement jibes with NYT's indication that future Black Mirror episodes are currently in production. The confusion among other outlets may have been due to Netflix's original announcement of more Black Mirror content, posted in March of this year, which many treated as a formal "fifth season" announcement. A closer look at that March teaser includes no such assurance of how many episodes fans might expect, and as of press time, Netflix has not clarified what we can expect from "season five." (Netflix declined our request to clarify details such as episode count or release dates.)
Confusion may also have stemmed from the fact that Bandersnatch includes so much video content, thanks to branching paths, and could thus be described as an entire "season" worth of content. Bandersnatch allows viewers to make film-altering choices, which range from trivial (pick the protagonist's breakfast) to plot-altering (choose whether to take medication), by using remote controls on most streaming-video devices. These choices lead to a grand total of five "endings," along with a range of critically diverging video sequences along the way.
Listing image by Netflix