The Star Trek homage “USS Callister” from Black Mirror’s newest season has been a critical and fan favorite with plenty of references and secrets jammed into its relatively compact runtime. But its potential is even larger than its episodic origin, with a vast world introduced and unexplored - like many of the anthology entries in the series. In fact, its director has a few ideas.
[Spoilers from the season four Black Mirror episode "USS Callister" are ahead]
The Trek parody, centered on its abusive and cruel captain, is purely a virtual creation by a creepy tech guy at a video game company. It tackles cloning, slavery, and digital personhood all while staying within the boundaries of a Star Trek: The Original Series aesthetic. When his captive crew mutinies in the most satisfying way possible, leaving their Kirk-like captain trapped a vegetative coma, and escapes to the wide open world of a space MMORPG, the world of possibilities is endless.
So endless, in fact, that episode director Toby Haynes (the episode was written by Charlie Brooker and William Bridges) is ready to branch it off on its own. In conversation with The Hollywood Reporter, Haynes said “'USS Callister' is probably one of the best pilots for a space show ever.”
Aside from Jesse Plemons’ offer to shave a bald spot on his head, the interview has plenty of details from the episode. But its most exciting revelation was the tentative talks about more. “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 THR. Haynes is “keen to see it as a TV series” while episode star Cristin Milioti, who plays the episode’s true hero and eventual captain, is also onboard for more.
Haynes speculated the series 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.” Reuniting the cast would be the tricky part, but with the creative team in line and the fans and critics behind them, this potential Black Mirror spin-off could take flight.