Netflix has pioneered the age of cord-cutting and become synonymous with streaming. And Netflix is now producing more original content than ever. The latest, called Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, is an interactive film that shows the power of streaming media.
Bandersnatch is the latest installment of Black Mirror, one of Netflix’s most popular titles. But what is Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, and why is everybody talking about it? Here are the answers to the questions you’re asking about Black Mirror: Bandersnatch.
What Is Black Mirror: Bandersnatch?
Black Mirror has been a favorite among viewers since it first premiered in 2011. It’s a science fiction anthology series that focuses on a future where the technological advancements bring out the dark side of humans.
The show didn’t start as a Netflix Original but was instead bought over by Netflix after two seasons on the British TV network, Channel 4. Bandersnatch is a standalone “interactive” film in the Black Mirror series.
“Interactive” is the keyword here. Interactive means that the viewer gets to make choices in the film and these choices affect the flow and the ending of the story. Think of it like this—Black Mirror: Bandersnatch is a movie that you can play like a game.
The story revolves around a young video game developer named Stefan as he tries to complete a choose your own adventure game called Bandersnatch. This is just one of the many “meta” references in the film.
Which Platforms Does Bandersnatch Run On?
While Netflix limits its content by region, content usually plays on any platform. So one would assume that Black Mirror: Bandersnatch runs on any device that runs Netflix. Unfortunately that isn’t the case.
Netflix states that Bandersnatch is available on newer platforms that are capable enough to run the interactive experience, like smart TVs, most modern browsers, Android and iOS devices, and games consoles.
It also said that the film wouldn’t be available on Apple TV, Chromecast, and specific older hardware that doesn’t support Netflix software updates. Bandersnatch also doesn’t work with Silverlight browsers, so you might want to look into Silverlight workarounds for Netflix.
The reason for this is that Bandersnatch isn’t a video file just available to stream on Netflix like most of its regular content. It’s a program written in a programming language called Twine.
You can best experience Black Mirror: Bandersnatch on a games console. The controller even gives you vibration feedback when presented with a choice, which is both cool and creepy.
How Long Does It Take to Watch Bandersnatch?
Netflix lists the official runtime of the film as 1 hour and 30 minutes. However, since this is an interactive film, there is no set time.
The shortest way through Bandersnatch will take you 40 minutes, and the longest can take you over 2 hours. The film does not let you rewind as typical video content does. However, you can sometimes loop back to the last choice and choose a different path.
The makers filmed over 5 hours of footage for Bandersnatch. And you’ll be able to watch most of it by choosing different paths through the story.
How Many Endings Does Bandersnatch Have?
There is no official count of the total number of endings to Bandersnatch. The most commonly accepted figure right now is five. However, some fans of Bandersnatch have found up to 10 different endings. And it’s almost certain that there are even more endings programmed in.
Some of the more dedicated fans have made detailed flow charts mapping the different endings and how to reach them, like the one below. Beware: Spoilers below!
Even the makers of Bandersnatch don’t agree on the number of endings it has. The Hollywood Reporter asked Black Mirror creator Charlie Brooker how many endings Bandersnatch has, and his reply was: “All of them.”
So it looks like this question may never have a definitive answer, and is yet another thing for the viewer to figure out by themselves.
Are There Secret Endings and Easter Eggs?
As previously mentioned, Bandersnatch has a lot of underlying “meta” themes. That means that things can get creepily self-aware. Spoiler alert! At one point, you even get the option to tell the protagonist, Stefan, that we are watching and controlling him on Netflix.
There are multiple references to Netflix in the film. One of the references cycles after an ending, as a mid-credits scene. There’s also one that will take you beyond the camera, to the set of Bandersnatch.
Creator Charlie Brooker had revealed that there is a secret ending that even the creators themselves cannot access. Another secret ending can lead you to the download link for one of the games mentioned in the film.
There is a good chance that there are more secret endings that even the most ardent fans have yet to discover.
Why Exactly Is Bandersnatch So Special?
Bandersnatch is a milestone in Netflix’s attempt at making interactive content and a glimpse at what the future holds for streamers. However, that is not the reason that makes it so unique.
The main thing that makes Bandersnatch special is that it gives Netflix an insight into its users like never before. Every way you play Bandersnatch helps Netflix better understand what you want from its content.
Think of your choices in Bandersnatch as live feedback to Netflix. Data like this is an excellent tool for Netflix to improve its content, interactive or otherwise. This is important, especially since Netflix is set to face some tough competition from Disney’s streaming service.
The Future of Interactive Content
With Netflix’s big experiment creating such a buzz, the competition is bound to try and emulate this new model. This is not because regular content is boring, but streaming media companies are always looking for more and more ways to get people to cut the cord, and interactive content serves that purpose.
Netflix currently has a few other interactive titles, many of which they have designed for kids. Popular titles include Puss in Book: Trapped in an Epic Tale, and Minecraft: Story Mode, and more are likely to be released in the future.
Bandersnatch itself might not be the last interactive installment in the Black Mirror series. A Black Mirror interactive film that is designed to collect data about user behavior flies in the face of the show’s premise, and that is an irony that Netflix is likely to milk to the fullest.
If you’re looking for more interactive content right now, you might want to check out these interactive stories for your Amazon Echo.