It's December again, which means Black Mirror fans are impatiently awaiting the return of their beloved dystopian sci-fi series. The show, which first aired in 2011 under the UK's Channel 4, quickly cemented itself as an American classic — and Netflix bought the series four years later in 2015 to put it under its "Original Series" banner.
Since then, Charlie Brooker's creation has expanded in myriad ways. Black Mirror garnered two Emmys for the timeless and instant-lesbian-classic "San Junipero," and four Emmys for its feature-length Star Trek homage, "USS Calister," as well as countless other nominations.
The show has also attracted incredible talent, such as Get Out's Daniel Kaluuya, Black Panther star Letitia Wright, and who can forget the Christmas episode starring Jon Hamm. With all of the acclaim and cult-like following around Black Mirror, here's everything we know about Season 5 ahead of its release later this month.
When is 'Black Mirror' Season 5 coming out?
This timeline would make sense given Season 4 was also released mere days before the new year, last December 29.
It's unclear whether the entire series will drop on that day the way previous seasons have, or whether December 28 will only see the release of "Bandersnatch," which fans predict will be this year's Christmas episode. More on that in a second.
What will happen in Season 5?
Netflix's Black Mirror must have one hell of an NDA, because for as long as the show's existed, the people behind it have been notoriously tight-lipped. But we do have some hints as to the upcoming season, which creator Charlie Booker called “the most complicated thing we’ve ever done.”
Earlier this year, Netflix announced it would be trying out a choose-your-own-adventure storyline with one of its upcoming Black Mirror episodes, per Bloomberg. Remember those books from when we were kids, where the plot shifts depending on which chapter you advance to? The idea would be something like that.
Netflix has already tried this model with one of its children shows, "Puss in Boots," and Black Mirror fans speculate "Bandersnatch" will allow interactive viewers to choose how the episode ends.
"Bandersnatch," a possible allusion to an ill-fated computer game from 1984 that never saw the light of day, is set to take place in the same year, according to this brilliant fan's observations. We know this because a "set photo shows Bob Marley’s ‘Legend’ at #1 on the charts inside a record store," she writes.
There's more evidence to support the theory that "Bandersnatch" will be set in 1980s Britain, thanks to Black Mirror fans in Croydon who were quick to share location pics.
Bandersnatch was also "referenced all the way back in Season 3 on the front cover of the gaming magazine in Playtest," as another fan adds. If the episode is indeed alluding to this old-school computer game, it would make sense to try the choose-your-own adventure format here.
We also know that at least one episode of the upcoming season was shot at a medical school in the suburban town of Tygerberg, South Africa, thanks to one student who documented the set that day. "An episode is being filmed on our medical campus in South Africa," they wrote on reddit alongside some photos, before adding that the episode is being set "in 2023 apparently!"
Another die-hard fan took to reddit to reveal the entire season's storylines, which they claim they received from an unnamed source who may or may not work on the show. Take this fan's theories with a grain of salt, but they're definitely fascinating to read.
Who is in the cast?
Black Mirror has seen many talented actors throughout the course of its four seasons, and we can expect Season 5 will deliver nothing short of award-worthy excellence.
So far, two names have been thrown around: The Revenant's Will Poulter and "Wrecking Ball" artist herself, Miley Cyrus.
Miley opened up about her role in the upcoming season in an interview with Howard Stern. "It was the first time I've left somewhere feeling really proud of my work," she said about her return to acting.
Filming in South Africa took a toll on the "Bangerz" babe, who said the shoot coincided with the devastating fires in Malibu: "It was a really weird learning experience for me, because I was so far from home and the show is already really dark, and it's already kind of eerie when you're there the whole time." "I learned a lot about myself and I think I was able to kind of use that and put that into it," she continued. I cannot wait to see what her episode has in store.
Brandi Cyrus, Miley's older sister, recently confirmed on her podcast "Your Favorite Thing with Wells and Brandi" that she went to South Africa to visit Miley while she was shooting for Black Mirror's Season 5.
"I flew into visit Miley ... because they're working," she said on the podcast. Given the extensive spoilers revealed by the fan above, and the futuristic South African set corroborations, people are guessing she might be set to portray Marilyn Monroe in an ep where "The 48th POTUS has just one deathbed wish... to meet Marilyn Monroe. (Set in the future)."
According to another expert sleuth who dug up Will Poulter's agent's page, the young British star is set to appear in the much anticipated "Bandersnatch." The information has since been removed from Hamilton Hodell's official page, but we're buying it.
Are there any trailers for Season 5?
Unfortunately, unlike with some previous seasons, Black Mirror isn't giving us much to work with in the way of teasers. The show's official Twitter account released a "be right back" message along with 17 seconds worth of clips from some of their best episodes, including "Playtest," my personal fave "San Junipero," and the aptly titled "Be Right Back." They captioned this trailer "The future will be brighter than ever," which is pretty promising.
No new footage or information has been released from the source itself, but I'm marking my calendar for December 28th's "Bandersnatch." That much, I know for certain.
Check back for updates on Black Mirror and don't miss out on the Christmas special on Netflix later this month.