USS Callister: How Black Mirror’s Star Trek Spoof Could Spin-Off Beyond the Stars
(Spoiler Alert for Episode 1 of Black Mirror Season 4- USS Callister)
On December 29th, 2017, Netflix released the latest season of Black Mirror, an acclaimed sci-fi anthology show featuring a Twilight Zone-esque tone of technoparanoia.
Fans who began the six-episode season were greeted by a super-sized opener, USS Callister, clocking in at about 76 minutes of what seemed on the surface to be a rollicking space opera- but what they got was so much more.
At first glance, the season opened up to a classic spacefaring crew praising their fearless leader after another successful voyage beyond the stars. As it turns out, the candy-colored Star Trek spoof (known here as Space Fleet) was merely a modification of a much more sinister simulation created by an antisocial programmer to exact revenge on his callous coworkers.
Where most episodes of the bleak Black Mirror save their major twists for the final gotcha! moment, USS Callister turns the tables within the first few minutes and flips the script on what many assumed to be rather straightforward parody. With Black Mirror, it’s never that simple, and as real-world VR technology progresses, the show warns viewers of the dangers of becoming too immersed in the fantasy world.
Now, the episode’s director Toby Haynes suggests there is spin-off potential for USS Callister within the Black Mirror universe, leaving fans hopeful to see more of the intrepid Callister crew, the ramifications of their real-world actions, and the procedurally generated world of Infinity, the episode’s simulation game setting.
According to an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Haynes revealed that Louise Sutton, who produced Callister and Metalhead for Black Mirror Season 4, has discussed the potential for a television series continuation. Black Mirror creator Charlie Brooker may even choose to revisit this setting in a future episode, territory rarely trod by the forward-thinking show. While many episodes include sly nods to the technology or characters of previous installments, there has yet to be an episode that is a direct sequel to another.
Apart from the obvious Trek appeal, USS Callister is filled with homages to Star Wars moments and even the iconic Twilight Zone episode “It’s a Good Life” in which an omnipotent, overbearing child forces others to play along with his deranged fantasies. The episode offers a genuine appreciation for the space opera genre mixed with scathing indictments of toxicity in fan culture and workplace harassment.
With an entirely infinite digital world at their disposal, we hope the episode’s creative team will make the trek back into USS Callister territory in the new future.
What do you think of a potential spin-off within the Black Mirror universe? Where does USS Callister rank in your Black Mirror episode list? Let Your Geek SideShow and tell us in the comments below!