Satirist and showrunner Charlie Brooker has dreamed up countless nightmarish visions of the future for his award-winning hit series Black Mirror, illuminating the dark potentialities we create for ourselves that quietly threaten to undo us as a society. With just under two months to go until Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump face off for the U.S. presidency, the master of our millennial dystopian nightmares fears a reality more horrifying than the darkest episodes of Black Mirror: President Donald Trump.
Brooker is on the verge of debuting the highly anticipated third season of Black Mirror with Netflix, which will release six new episodes on Oct. 21. But real life has lately brought more immediate concerns to bear for the Brit, bleaker than the alternate futures he warns of on his show. “I find it fucking terrifying,” he said, “because I think Trump’s going to win.
“I’m working on whether I need to build a bunker or not,” he quipped to The Daily Beast at the Toronto International Film Festival, where he’s premiering two episodes starring Mackenzie Davis, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, and Bryce Dallas Howard. “Hello, we just went through Brexit! Of course Trump’s going to win.
“I’m having to imagine he’s already won and that he can’t quite achieve all of the fucking horrible things that he wants to do,” Brooker added. Like many Brits and onlookers around the globe, the Brexit decision took Brooker by surprise—and now makes him think Trump’s White House prospects should not be underestimated.
“By no stretch was everyone who voted to leave a racist, but there were some people that were,” he said. “And it became this referendum on immigration, which it shouldn’t have been, and that was a topic that the newspapers and everyone had been banging on and demonizing people over for years. It was basically a lot of disenfranchised people who had been left behind by the system—partly a protest vote, and partly a conservative political agenda. And the Remain camp just didn’t have a coherent argument to put across.
“As soon as the vote was announced you had the losing 48 percent, of which I was one, going, ‘But… but…,’ horrified that half the country didn’t see things the same way,” he lamented. “And only then really were people putting together a coherent pro-Europe argument. But it was too late.”
Brooker is still tempted to work Trump’s incendiary ascent through the presidential race into Black Mirror, but he also realizes he already did it—back in 2013. In the Season 2 episode “The Waldo Moment,” ratings-hungry television producers campaign a cartoon bear named Waldo for political office as a joke, only to see the public latch onto the gimmicky stunt.
“At the time I thought that was one I didn’t nail, I didn’t get the stakes right,” Brooker admitted. “I thought it should have been a separate thing, like it should have been a two-part miniseries. And then you look at it now and go, ‘Fuck me—that’s Trump.’
“Originally it was based on Boris Johnson in the U.K., who also fucked the country up,” he added. “It’s less funny now.”