The trailer gives little away, being a fairly conventional affair of quick cuts interspersed with text on a black background. It does give away some of the people who’ll be starring in the upcoming season – Andrew Scott (Sherlock), Anthony Mackie (Avengers: Endgame), Topher Grace (That ‘70s Show), and Miley Cyrus. However, from the limited material available, it’s harder to say just what they’ll be getting up to. Andrew Scott appears to be somewhat troubled, while Miley Cyrus seems to be playing a pop star of some sort, just like in Hannah Montana.
Anthony Mackie’s plotline, it’s been revealed via a publicity still, will involve some kind of faceoff with Yahya Abdul-Mateen. With Mackie a recurrent star in the MCU, while Abdul-Mateen appeared in the 2018 adaptation of Aquaman, Charlie Brooker has joked that this is “the Marvel-DC crossover no one saw coming” – and, being Black Mirror, it’s not impossible they’re fighting over which comic fandom is the best.
As for the techno-fear, the trailer features a very brief shot of a mobile app with the suitably ominous name ‘Smithereen’, and some kind of unsettling doll-like device, which the voiceover immediately clarifies isn’t a doll. We also hear Andrew Scott raging about people being ‘hooked on the things’, presumably a reference to his story’s given terrifying speculative technology, whatever it turns out to be.
Most notably, the trailer reveals that this season will be only 3 episodes, rather than the 6 Netflix gave us for the third and fourth seasons, returning to the original format from its BBC days. Call me a patriot, call me a snob, but this brevity probably isn’t a bad thing. Netflix’s desire for greater output did, fairly indisputably, make Black Mirror a bit more hit-and-miss – as well as Hollywoodising it just a bit, though that may just be a fault of circumstance. The obvious hope is that they’re aiming for quality over quantity – and in less than a month, we’ll know whether this worked.