It’s a good thing the Black Mirror choose-your-own-adventure movie, Bandersnatch, was released on a Friday, because it might take you a while to watch the whole thing. The ’80s-set film, starring Fionn Whitehead, Will Poulter, Craig Parkinson, Alice Lowe, and Asim Chaudhry, is about a computer programmer who’s turning his favorite fantasy novel into a video game where players are allowed to select different endings. The same is true of Bandersnatch; Netflix gives viewers 10 seconds to choose between, for instance, “Thompson Twins” or “Now, Vol. 2” and “Sugar Puffs” or “Frosties” (to say nothing of the most violent choices to come). “There are over a trillion unique permutations of the story,” according to Variety, with an average viewing time of 90 minutes (although it’s possible to see the whole thing in 40 minutes).
[Netflix’s script-writing tool for narratives Branch Manager] allows creatives to build complex narratives that include loops, guiding viewers back to the main story when they strayed too far, giving them a chance of a do-over, if you will — something that [creators Charlie Brooker and Annabel Jones] artfully incorporated into the story. At one point, one of the key characters even tells Stefan that he chose the wrong path, leading him to realize: “I should try again!” (Via)
There are five possible endings, with Jones noting that there “are lots of potential paths that Stefan’s journey could take and it’s up to you for when you feel sated. Going down various branches opens up other potentials, so you may not reach certain things depending on the decisions you make. It’s not a simple branching narrative with lots of binary choices — they are all changing your state and what’s open to you.” The first time I watched (Team Frosties!), I got the ending where Stefan tries to jump out a window, only it’s not a real window; it’s the set of a Netflix show. Meta! Here are other endings and reactions.