If there’s one thing fans of Black Mirror—the technology-meets-sci-fi anthology series that has led millions of viewers to cover up their laptop webcams with tape—know, it’s to expect the unexpected from the show. Over the past three seasons, the British series-turned-Netflix Original has delved into the darkest corners of technology to present what some might consider a very possible, and very dystopian, future. And they can’t get enough of it. Here’s everything we know about the show’s highly anticipated fourth season, which is expected to drop later this year.
1. THE NEW SEASON IS SHOOTING RIGHT NOW.
Earlier this week, The Telegraph ran an interview with Black Mirror creator Charlie Brooker, who shared that he and his team are in the midst of shooting season four right now. And that one of the challenges they face is in trying to “predict” what will be happening in the world by the time the episodes air. “We're working on the new season at the moment—we're about to start filming the third episode in Iceland—so if we were trying to predict the real world, we'd have to think about where the real world's going to be in another six months or so,” Brooker said.
2. AS WITH PREVIOUS SEASONS, EACH EPISODE WILL HAVE A DISTINCT TONE.
"When we did previous seasons, we realized after we'd done the first two that basically each one was a slightly different genre, and we actively approached the first Netflix season like that,” Brooker told The Telegraph. “And we're carrying that forward , so we've got some strikingly different tones and looks.”
3. IT WILL TAKE A STAB AT COMEDY.
Though he’s tight-lipped about the plot lines the fourth season will delve into, Brooker has confirmed that one episode will go in a comedic direction. “We've got one that's overtly comic, much more overtly comic than anything we've done,” Brooker said. “It's got fairly mainstream comic elements, but also some really unpleasant stuff that happens.”
4. JODIE FOSTER WILL DIRECT AN EPISODE.
Though Black Mirror is hardly lacking in star power, the next season will see two-time Oscar winner Jodie Foster step behind the camera to direct an episode. Foster’s attachment to the show was reported back in October. Brooker says that the episode, which will focus on a mother-daughter relationship and star Rosemarie DeWitt, will have an indie movie tone.
"Netflix got in touch with her,” Brooker explained of how Foster came to the series. “She's done episodes of Orange Is The New Black before, and they spoke to her and sent her our script, and within a week of that we were Skyping. It was a bit odd, to be Skyping with Jodie Foster—but I did a good job of hiding my delight that I was Skyping with Jodie Foster.”
5. A COUPLE OF EPISODES ARE STILL UP IN THE AIR.
Yes, season four is already in production. But Brooker’s still got two episodes left to write, and says the tone of those episodes is “still slightly up for grabs.”
6. SEASON FOUR MAY NOT BE AS BLEAK AS PREVIOUS SEASONS.
In addition to being one of Black Mirror’s most universally acclaimed episodes, season three’s “San Junipero” installment is also notable for being one of the hit series’ most uplifting episodes ... well, as “uplifting” as a show about the many ways technology can be terrifying can be. But the success of the episode has posed some challenges for Brooker going into season four.
"I'm terrified of ‘San Junipero’ in a way, because I think we sort of captured lightning in a bottle there,” Brooker admitted. “You try and think, okay, that went really well, what else can we do? But you've got to then immediately put everything you think of out of your mind, because you can't really do the same thing again.”
In addition to making sure that each episode is unique, it’s important to Brooker—and his sanity—that he not be constantly immersed in dark themes. "I do think that at the moment, as we're doing new episodes, there's a limit to how much constant nihilistic bleakness I can take,” Brooker continued. “And the world is in a place at the moment where I think maybe people appreciate things that aren't so unremittingly horrible. But you also don't want to short-change people on the unremitting horribleness.”