Black Mirror's USS Callister episode from season 4.


‘Black Mirror’ director says he wants a spinoff series for ‘USS Callister’

The possibilities are endless.


Christine Friar

Internet Culture

Posted on Jan 16, 2018   Updated on May 22, 2021, 4:33 am CDT

Fans of “USS Callister,” the season 4 Black Mirror episode that served as an homage to Star Trek, might get to revisit that universe in the future. The episode’s director is reportedly ready for a spinoff series.

“USS Callister” centers on the abusive spacecraft captain (played by Fargo‘s Jesse Plemons) who turns out to actually be a tech guy at a video game company digitally cloning his IRL coworkers to serve as his virtual ship’s crew. The episode touches on ethical quandaries you’d expect from Black Mirror—like cloning, slavery, and digital personhood—all within the aesthetic of a throwback Star Trek world.

When Plemons’ digital crew eventually stages a mutiny, they effectively open their fake Star Trek universe up as a space-themed online role-playing game. It’s an implication that the show doesn’t have time to tackle within the framework of one episode but leaves an endless amount of possibilities when it comes to potential future “episodes.” In other words, now that the captain who tethered them to the human world is incapacitated, these characters are hypothetically free to simply explore space and fight bad guys now. To modify the meme: The crew is the captain now.

The potential is so huge that the episode’s director, Toby Haynes, is saying he’s ready for a spinoff series. In conversation with the Hollywood Reporter recently, Haynes said, “’USS Callister’ is probably one of the best pilots for a space show ever.”

“I was talking with Louise Sutton, who produced [‘USS Callister’] and [season four episode] ‘Metalhead,’ and she cooked up a brilliant idea of spinning it off into a TV series,” Haynes told the Reporter. Haynes said he is “keen to see it as a TV series.”

Meanwhile, actress Cristin Milioti (who plays the episode’s eventual captain), has also said she’d be onboard for reprising her role, and actor Jimmi Smith said he would “love” to return to his character. Throw in one or two more returning co-stars—like Plemons or Michaela Coel—and it sounds like a reunion.

Haynes speculated the new show could follow “this brilliant idea that [Plemons’ character] is still alive and his attempted murder gets pinned on someone. Whose fingerprints do they find in the apartment? There’s so much you could do.”

As far as spinoffs go, this one’s got more reasons than most to get made.

Share this article
*First Published: Jan 16, 2018, 3:00 pm CST