Viewers are given multiple options to decide the fate of the lead character, Stefan, as he attempts to finish his video game based on a book by a controversial author.
Upon the film’s release, Netflix revealed that there were five main alternative endings, leading fans to believe they might have to watch it five times to see them all. Due to the different paths the story can take, the film can last between 40 to 90 minutes.
If you don’t have the time (or patience) to watch the film multiple times, however, you can pick the option that appears as the credits begin to roll, to loop back to a crucial moment in the story and change your choices, to see if they cause a different ending.
This means that you can see most of the possible variants without having to start from the very beginning.
These are the endings fans have discovered so far:
1) The very quick one, where the user accepts an offer to join Thakur's team and develop his video game in the office, instead of refusing. Bandersnatch then flashes to an ending in which a rushed version of his game gets zero stars from a critic, as Stefan decides to “try again” — inviting the viewer to go back and make him develop the game on his own.
2) In another, Stefan's widower father comes into his room after weeks of Stefan working alone on the game. You can either force Stefan to shout at his dad or make him throw his tea over his computer. Destroying Stefan’s computer ends the story. In a similar moment, when Stefan becomes frustrated with the game's progress you can either make him destroy his computer or bang his fist on the desk. Destroying the computer ends the game, again.
3) The balcony ending happens when Stefan is taken to see Dr Haynes by his father, where he spots Colin walking down the street. If Stefan follows Colin instead of attending therapy, the pair embark on a night of drugs and philosophy, which then leads to a moment where Colin claims it doesn't matter if one of them jumps from his balcony. The viewer is told to either force Stefan to jump, or make him tell Colin to do it. The former choice ends the story with Stefan’s suicide, and his game is finished “abruptly” without him, to negative reviews.
4) Bandersnatch pushes the story forward so that Stefan has to visit Dr Haynes for a session and get a prescription for pills. If you do choose to make Stefan see Dr Haynes instead of following Colin, she’ll give him the pills and you’ll have to decide whether he should flush them or take them. Once you make Stefan take his medication, the story jumps to Christmas, where Stefan has been taking his pills for months. His game is released, but the critic only gives it two-and-a-half stars and criticises it for feeling as though it were made on “autopilot”.
5) In the most meta ending of the film, Stefan demands to know the truth: Who is controlling him? If you decide to tell him that his life is actually entertainment on “a streaming platform from the early 21st century” (Netflix), he returns to Dr Haynes’s office to tell her about it.
The doctor points out that if Stefan’s story was true, surely this scenario of him at a therapist's office would be too boring for such an advanced form of entertainment. Things then take a bizarre turn as she leaps out of her chair and challenges him to a brawl, complete with swords. You have to decide whether Stefan should fight her or flee by jumping through a window, and if you choose the latter, the fourth wall breaks completely, revealing Stefan is actually an actor standing on the Black Mirror set. A director then storms over to tell him that he’s “not scripted to jump out, it’s the fight scene now.". The story ends after the actor asserts that his real name is Stefan, marking his final break with reality, and the production team calls a medic.
6) There are several endings where Stefan goes to prison for murdering his father. (Depending on the route, he also ends up killing Thakur, Colin, or Colin’s wife, Kitty) In all these versions of the story, you're essentially forced to make Stefan kill his father if you didn’t choose to already. Then you have to decide between burying or chopping up his body. All the ways of burying the body lead to Stefan in jail and "Bandersnatch" getting trashed by the critic, if it gets released at all.
7) Arguably the most sinister ending is when you make Stefan chop up his dead father's body, and he finally gets time to finish the game, which gets five stars from the critic when it’s released — although the game is pulled from sale after Stefan gets caught and sent to jail. From there, Bandersnatch flashes forward to the present day, where Colin's daughter Pearl is shown to be working on an archive version of the game for a new generation. When she encounters the same bugs that Stefan did, the old question returns: should she throw tea her computer, or destroy it?
8) A few people worked out that “TOY” is the password that Stefan needs to recover his favourite stuffed bunny from his father’s safe, he then travels back to that moment in his past and places it under his childhood bed. His mother still misses her train while the young Stefan looks for his toy, but this time the viewer is given more than one choice when she asks if he wants to go with her. If Stefan says “yes,” he dies in the train crash with his mum, after which the teenage Stefan is shown suddenly dying in his therapist's office.
One fan went the extra mile and made a graph of all the alternatives in the same style as the game map itself:
Reviews for the new film have been mixed, but mostly positive. The Independent praised it for being “innovative” with the interactive elements, adding: ”What saves the film from pure gimmickry is the way in which its mechanism is bound up with the plot.
“As Stefan writes the game for software company owner Mohan Tucker (Asim Chaudhry), with guidance from star designer Colin Ritman (Will Poulter), he is drawn into the darkest crannies of his own mind. The script alludes often to ideas about authorial control, free will and fate, as well as referencing other Black Mirror episodes.
“This kind of interactive storytelling has been tried before, but never in such a visible, sophisticated and mature way.”
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