In Season 4, Episode 1 of Black Mirror, "USS Callister" we see the main character taking people's DNA to make AI copies of them in his virtual reality game.

It is later revealed that he made these copies without including their genitals.

Why would he have done this?

It doesn't make sense, especially considering that it was obvious he made a copy of the protagonist Nanette because he was attracted to her.

4 Answers 4


There's a conversation which reflects the fact that he wants to keep the Space Fleet universe PG (or "wholesome") to maintain the illusion of the original series.


This could have gone even more dark, as there’s a funny sequence where it’s revealed no one kisses with tongue and no one even has genitals in the sim because Plemons wants to keep it PG like the original production.

"There's no tongues."

"If that's any consolation, there's never any tongues. - Doing tongues is not Space Fleet way."


There's no genitals in Space Fleet. This is a wholesome universe.

Also this conversation on Reddit


The main character is terrified about physical interactions.

In the first place he already struggles so much with verbal-only interactions and feels so frustrated by not being able to master them in the real world, that he creates a virtual world populated by copies of his acquaintances, where he is all-powerful and can control every aspect of the discussions and events that happen there.

His obsession with an old-time sci-fi series from his childhood, tends to suggest that he has issues accepting behaviors commonly associated with adulthood such as responsibilities (he is always late and does a poor job in preserving deadlines for his team), or sexuality.

He also is dominated by a sense of (illusory) duty and self-censorship that we can witness when he expresses his reluctance to join his new ship crew member for a swim during their last exploration trip to an exotic planet.
The episode does not give hints about the origin of this trait, but we can imagine that a particularly strict education could have impressed it on him.

Since he can control every aspect of his modified virtual microcosm, he chooses the configuration most comfortable to him, which includes a total denial of the existence of sexuality.


Perhaps to emphasize the character's infantilism. Dolls usually or traditionally have no genitalia.

This was his playground, these were his dolls. Being a doll isn't always so cool.

IRL he seems to have been shoved around a bit, needs to project.

Earlier treatments on similar themes:

  • Attack of the puppet people (John Hoyt)
  • TZ: Stopover in a Quiet Town
  • TZ: Five Characters in Search of an Exit
  • TZ: The Lateness of the Hour (also w/ John Hoyt)

Because the main character wants to have power over his co-workers who always slight him or ignore him, but it isn't intended to be about sexual power over them. That of course could have been the story, but that would have been a much heavier, serious story to tell, and I imagine that the writers felt that a Black Mirror TV episode was not the place to tell that story.

Of course it can be argued that he has sexual power over them, but the writers likely didn't want to full-on go in that direction.

There are several reviews / articles on the episode bringing up Me Too, and labeling the main character as a misogynist, but he tends to hate, and to want to avenge both males and females. He started the game / simulation with torturing and playing out his power fantasy with his fellow boss, (and the son). So I'm not sure that his actions against the characters are specifically motivated because they are a woman, or more because each of the characters slighted him (though of course Nanette's slight was that she showed no romantic interest in him). And when Nanette was manipulating him, she was the person using sexual power, and he strongly and consistently resisted it. He did not take advantage of the situation and his power to act sexually or even romantically with her, even when given the opportunity by Nanette.

So it seems to me that the writers wanted to try to avoid the sexual power aspect or the character, as best they could.

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