The fifth cycle of Charlie Brooker’s sci-fi anthology will release June 5 on Netflix, the streaming giant revealed Wednesday along with a trailer (watch below). Though recent Black Mirror seasons have comprised six stand-alone episodes, the fifth season has been trimmed down to three. The runtime of the new stories, however, have yet to be revealed. The episode titles also have yet to be released. (They were later released, here.)
The announcement from Netflix teases three stories and “one future we should have seen coming.” And the high-octane trailer weaves together the stories in such an action-packed and artful way that, as is typical to any Black Mirror teaser, viewers will certainly be left wanting more.
The cast for season five includes Anthony Mackie, Miley Cyrus, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Topher Grace, Damson Idris, Andrew Scott, Nicole Beharie, Pom Klementieff, Angourie Rice, Madison Davenport and Ludi Lin.
All of the actors can be spotted in the trailer, which hints that the episodes will be tackling technology’s impact on marriage, self-esteem, fame, social media and mental health. The first look at the season reveals an Alexa-like doll from the future, a cellphone-induced assault and a VR escape for Cyrus. “Love, privacy, connection, sex, family, work and afterlife” are the words that flash among the clips.
Black Mirror is an Emmy-winning anthology series that taps into the collective unease with the modern world through often-unsettling tales that explore techno-paranoia. The acclaimed series is created and written by Brooker, who executive produces with Annabel Jones.
The fourth season of Black Mirror released late 2017. One year later, Brooker and Jones released Netflix’s first interactive film with the Black Mirror stand-alone event Bandersnatch in late 2018. The complex two-year process to bring Bandersnatch to life delayed the release of season five and the pair have stayed relatively mum about what they have in store for the new stories in the franchise.
“We knew going into Bandersnatch that it would be difficult and challenging and more complicated than a normal film that we would do. Even then, we underestimated,” Brooker had told The Hollywood Reporter of the immersive non-linear film. He and Jones went into Bandersnatch assuming it would require twice the amount of effort as a typical Black Mirror episode. After, they now liken it to doing four episodes at the same time.
All of the episodes in the Black Mirror franchise are stand-alones that live within a larger universe, thanks to connecting Easter eggs for discerning viewers. Bandersnatch, though it was billed as a stand-alone film, continued that trend, even serving as a prequel to the entire universe by revealing the backstory to Tuckersoft, the company responsible for much of the technology seen across the series.
Black Mirror, a U.K. Channel 4 import in 2015, also aired a stand-alone event with a holiday special, “White Christmas,” in 2014. Since the runtime of the Black Mirror stories vary in length — with the longest, “Hated in the Nation,” clocking in at 89 minutes — the episodes are referred to as films by the Black Mirror team. Bandersnatch — given its branching-narrative story, thousands of permutations and multiple endings — blew that runtime out of the water: a satisfying experience can last anywhere from 90 minutes to 2.5 hours.
Watch the trailer below.