Charlie Brooker's Black Mirror is a famously bleak show, which is why many fans are eagerly awaiting what the show will become now that the real world seems to be edging closer to its dystopian vision in some ways. During a panel at the fourth annual Vulture Festival in New York City on May 21, Brooker revealed a few clues about the tone and themes of the upcoming fourth season of Black Mirror on Netflix. (The streaming service has not announced a release date for Season 4 yet.) While the state of reality appears to have affected Brooker, it seems that the fourth season of Black Mirror may still retain some of Season 3's optimism.
"I'm pro-technology," the writer/creator admitted during the panel, "Much of the time I see tech stuff and I'm like 'Oh Goody!' ... I don't believe that [technology is in control of humanity]. I know this show seems that it was written by the Unabomber, but I'm pro-technology."
It's an unexpected statement to hear from the writer of some of the most iconic instances of techno-horror from the 21st century, however it seems that the writer's main focus for the upcoming season is to justify the audience's confusion when it comes to the state of the world. Brooker feels that the purpose of satire in the era of President Trump and Brexit is "reminding everyone 'you're not the only one [who sees what's happening], not everyone is crazy.'"
Brooker and executive producer Annabel Jones held onto specific Season 4 plot details very tightly, beyond confirming that the scripts for the upcoming season are already complete, although it seems that Brooker's fascination with major current events will inspire the new episodes. He even said that he almost wrote a script meant to be an "ultra, ultra topical episode that would've been bananas. "If I had already done it it would've been out of date," he continued. "I might [revisit] it ... It was called 'Snowflake', I can tell you that."
When not worrying over politics, Brooker did manage to drop some clues that Season 4 would feature Black Mirror's shortest and longest episodes yet; that at least one episode will focus on the intersection between technology and education; and that the season would even feature "momentary absences of despair", hinting that Black Mirror may be able to do another "San Junipero"-style story that breaks the mold by being relatively optimistic about the future.
As for what not to expect from Season 4, Brooker warned audiences about getting their hopes up for any sequel episodes — yet. The creators admitted they were "open to the idea of following-up on previous episodes," while also being hesitant to "ruin" any of their character's lives by revisiting their stories. If Black Mirror does return to any of its pre-established worlds, they likely won't be in Season 4 as the season has already been written.
Fans also shouldn't expect the show to become completely positive. When speaking on how episodes of Black Mirror have predicted real technology and politics since its premiere, Brooker said, "I really hope things don't continue to come true [from the show]!" He could have been hinting at the dark and possibly close-to-home nature of Season 4.
While Brooker jumped back and forth from fear and optimism during the panel, possibly matching the tone of the upcoming season, he still left the crowd on a small note of hope. Regarding distressing real-life news, the creator encouraged fans to "imagine how good it'll feel when it's over."
"It'll feel f*cking amazing when it's over," Brooker said. "Like taking off a tight pair of shoes ... the stuff dreams are made of."
And if that's true, audiences will probably still be able to visit a much darker landscape with more self-contained episodes of Black Mirror.