It’s been almost a month since the release of Black Mirror: Bandersnatch and fans, including myself, are still obsessing over it. Netflix’s feature length choose-your-own-adventure style installment follows the story of aspiring game developer Stefan Butler (Fionn Whitehead) who slowly descends into madness while creating a brand new game called Bandersnatch. Giving the audience a chance to choose the fate of the story line is some serious next level entertainment to get lost in for hours. Again, this includes myself. If you haven’t watched/played this masterpiece then I strongly urge you to. People new to Black Mirror and fans of the show alike agree that it is totally worth some of the frustrations that you’ll face.
To make things more interesting, over the last few weeks fans on social media have pointed out plenty of cleverly placed Easter Eggs that nod to past Black Mirror episodes. Which isn’t a total surprise from such a popular show with a cult following. Check out the trailer below and consider this your major spoiler warning for everything below that.
In 1984, a young programmer begins to question reality as he adapts a sprawling fantasy novel into a video game and soon faces a mind-mangling challenge. Welcome back. (Official Synopsis)
A possible inspiration for the movie’s title comes from a fictional creature from Lewis Carroll’s 1872 novel Through the Looking-Glass and his 1874 poem The Hunting of the Snark. A Bandersnatch is described as a cruel and gigantic canine like beast with grey fur, black mouth gums, sharp teeth and claws. It’s also very, very fast.
Bandersnatch the Video Game
Believe it or not, at one point a video game by the name of Bandersnatch was being developed back in the 80’s! The project was taken on by a company called Imagine Software but, due to the company folding- like Tuckersoft did in a couple endings- it was never released. However, whatever work was completed on the game was bought out and finished by a new company. They went on to release Bandersnatch under a new name, Brataccas, in 1986. Another fun reference to the real-life Bandersnatch is that the first day in the film is July 9th, 1984. That happens to be the same day that Imagine Sofware folded!
We see advertisements for Tuckersoft’s latest game, Metl Hedd, a few times. This is not only a reference to the episode Metalhead (season 4, episode 5) but to the episode’s director, David Slade, who also is the director of Bandersnatch.
White Bear Symbol
Time and time again on posters, Stefan’s wall, screens and in a documentary on Jerome F. Davies (Jeff Minter) viewers constantly see the symbol known as the White Bear. If you play your cards right, you’ll even see it on Stefan’s jail cell wall. The symbol (that looks like the structure from a flowchart) is a reference to Black Mirror’s White Bear episode (season 2, episode 2) where this same symbol is constantly seen throughout the episode. White Bear is also referenced on the official Tuckersoft website-another cool Easter Egg- with the game also called White Bear.
Another game referencing an episode is a game called Valadack’s Revenge, where you are on the USS Callister (season 4, episode 1) where you get to call all the shots as Captain Robert Daly. Sound familiar? A Valadack’s Revenge poster can also be seen in Stefan’s room, near the book shelf where the family photo is.
Also on the Tuckersoft website is the ability to download and play Colin Ritman’s (Will Poulter) latest game, Nohzdyve. This is another call back to yet another Black Mirror episode, season 3’s Nosedive.
Stefan’s therapist Dr. Haynes (Alice Lowe) works in an office in St. Juniper’s Medical Practice. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a Dr. Haynes work at St. Juniper’s. In the episode San Junipero (season 3, episode 4) we see a character named Rolo Haynes who worked at a Saint Juniper Hospital before opening up the Black Museum.
In certain endings, the viewer sees Stefan killing his father (Craig Parkinson) then getting shipped off to jail. In the article released about the murder you can see three mini “exclusive stories”, all referencing more past episodes. The Love Machine (Hang the DJ), Space Fleet (USS Callister) and 15 Million Talent Team (15 Million Merits).
Jerome F. Davies
The actor who plays Jerome F. Davies, Jeff Minter, is actually a game designer in real life. His impressive resume includes tons of fun games such as Tempest 2000, Gridrunner and Revenge of the Mutant Camels.
After getting hired at Tuckersoft, Stefan goes to a music shop to buy a new record under Colin’s recommendation to “get in the flow”. On his way to the counter he sees a bookcase. This is where he picks up a biography on Jerome F. Davies, one of the books beside it provides even more episode references. Surprise, surprise. We see one book called The Dr. H.H Holmes Horror House by Kabir Dudani. Dudani (played by Paul G. Raymond) was also the diagnostics officer on the USS Callister.
The News Ticker
Many years after the release of Bandersnatch we see Kitty (Tallulah Haddon) and Colin’s daughter, Pearl (Laura Evelyn) featured in a interview for the local news. Like her father, Pearl is a game programmer who is working on a modern reboot of Stefan’s Bandersnatch for a major streaming service. This may or may not be Netflix. She isn’t allowed to say. Even more Easter Eggs can be found in the news ticker, the horizontal text display, below Pearls name. All of the feature stories are references to more episodes. Hated in the Nation is mentioned in “granular to unveil prototype pollinator drone.”
This continues with “…cast of Space Fleet reunite at Emmys” for USS Callister, “Liam Monroe enters Buckingham Palace” is for The Waldo Moment, “UK police test groundbreaking memory recall” is for Crocodile, “former Prime Minister Michael Callow wins bake-off” is for The National Anthem.