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Puny human!!! Will you worship me?
~ Pax, in the Bandersnatch video game

Pax, also known as the Thief of Destiny, is one of the possible villains of the 2018 interactive Netflix film Black Mirror: Bandersnatch. The villain of Jerome F. Davies' legendary choose-your-own adventure novel Bandersnatch, Pax is also being incorporated into Stefan Butler's videogame adaptation of the book; however, as time goes on, Pax's apparent role in the downfall of his original creator becomes a frequent topic of discussion, and soon begins to feature as a central figure in Stefan's apparent descent into insanity. However, whether Pax is real, metaphorical or simply a product of mental illness is dependent on the player's decisions - and ultimately their interpretation of the entire narrative.

In his appearances in the "real" world, he was portrayed by Jon-Jo Inkpen.


Described in a documentary as a "lion-creature," Pax is depicted in Jerome F. Davies' sketches as little more than a nightmarish skull-like face haloed in a mane of wild hair. This remains the basis of its depiction in modern media, with the cadaverous faces and wreaths of bestial hair appearing in designs, in the game adaptation, and even on tabs of LSD handed out by Colin Ritman. Stefan Butler's game expands on the rest of his body - presumably based on descriptions from the original novel - providing Pax with a relatively humanoid body.

However, it is not until later in the story that Stefan himself actually meets Pax in the flesh, either encountering him in the aftermath of a bad acid trip in Colin's flat, or during an attempt to unlock his father's safe. Here, Pax appears as snarling monstrosity layered in dark, leathery skin and shrouded in thick, yellowish fur; his body is hunched, primal, and often obscured by shadows or the surrounding environment, though the encounter at the safe reveals that he sports clawlike fingers. In all cases, it's made apparent that his face is once again grotesquely skeletal, sporting colorless black eyes, a lipless mouth lined with sharp yellow teeth, and an empty cavity instead of a nose.

Though the game features dialog attributed to him and though he was presumably able to speak in the book (and in Davie's hallucinations), Pax never speaks in anything other than animalistic snarls and roars.



At some point likely during the early 1960s, author Jerome F. Davies began work on what was to become his masterpiece: an interactive reading experience, the novel Bandersnatch was to allow the reader a true range of choices on how to proceed through the narrative, and leading them into encounters with government agents, enchanted daggers, and much more. However, the process of charting out such a massive branching story began to wear on Davies over time, and he soon became obsessed with the limitations of choice granted to the reader, apparently unable to properly account for all the variables of free will he could allow.

In a search for inspiration, he began taking hallucinogenic drugs, which only exacerbated his breakdown as he upped his dosage. Eventually, began to believe he was the victim of a conspiracy in which a demon known as Pax was convincing his wife to poison him with psychoactive drugs. Soon, this demon became both the villain of Bandersnatch and the emblem of everything wrong in Davies' life: called "the Thief of Destiny," Davies believed it to be responsible for his inability to control his life, and even responsible for his purported ability to perceive multiple iterations of reality at once.

In the novel, the path to a happy ending can only occur if the reader refuses to worship Pax, allowing them to eventually defeat him. Unfortunately, Davies' method of denying Pax in the real world ended with him decapitating his wife and daubing esoteric symbols on the wall in her blood, before apparently going on to finish his work. Though he was soon arrested and spent the remainder of his life in prison, Bandersnatch became an immense success; thanks to a mixture of quality writing and controversy, the book became famous, even regarded as a classic.

Possible Events Of The Film

When Stefan Butler sets out to adapt the book into a video game in 1984, an encounter Pax is the very first event featured in the demo provided to TuckerSoft president Mohan Thakur and programmer Colin Ritman. With this in mind, PAX at first appears to be little more than a character in the game, and later, as more knowledge of Davies' mental breakdown is provided, as a possible sign of mental illness haunting creators of the Bandersnatch experience. However, as the narrative begins to branch, Pax takes on a more involved role.

In the event that the viewer decides to make Stefan abandon an appointment with his therapist in favor of walking home with Colin Writman, the game designer guru decides to demonstrate the true nature of the universe to Stefan by taking him back to his flat and dosing him - first with a hit of cannabis, then with a tab of LSD (one that just so happens to be marked with a crude representation of Pax's distinctive face). Over the course of the drug trip that follows, Colin claims that it's possible to traverse multiple realities in order to redo past decisions, that the government is monitoring people by people pretending to be friends and relatives, and that Pac-Man is actually a sinister metaphor for government control - the "Pac" in Pac-Man being an anagram for Program And Control. The entire experience ends with Colin illustrating the point of multiple reality do-overs by leading Stefan onto the balcony and asking him to choose which of them will jump to their deaths: if Stefan chooses his co-worker, Colin will happily fling himself off the balcony, prompting a grief-stricken reaction from his wife, Kitty. However, when Stefan looks again, Kitty has transformed into Pax and charges at him - only for him to suddenly wake up en route to the therapist's office. Regardless of whether this was a dream or an alternate universe, regardless of the viewer's choices, Stefan will need to attend the session eventually.

After being given a prescription for a higher dose of medication (which Stefan must flush down the toilet if he wants the game to be finished on time), he returns to work, aided by a taped documentary on Jerome F. Davies. However, upon realizing the similarities to him and Davies, he soon begins to panic as the failures of implementing Bandersnatch's code begin to uncomfortably coincide with the original author's difficulty of plotting the novel. If the viewer chooses to follow this up by having Stefan read his book on game design before he goes to bed, he will get up in the middle of the night, steal his father's keys, and break into his study in an attempt to access his safe. Depending on the viewer's choices up until now, they will have multiple options on what three-letter password to enter. Here, he can enter "Pax," but it will turn out to be an incorrect password and result in Pax himself reappearing and attacking once again, causing Stefan to awaken from a nightmare the following morning. As always, whether this was just a dream or another apparent experience with parallel realities is left deliberately ambiguous.

One possible conclusion to the story involves Stefan deciding to forgo entering Pax as a password and instead enter PAC, remembering Colin's lecture on Program And Control: inside the safe, he will find evidence that he has been monitored, controlled and experimented on for his entire life by his father and his therapist - suggesting that Pax was actually a mangling of PAC all along, and that Davies might have actually become aware of a genuine conspiracy. One way or the other, this plotline ends with Stefan killing his father - first in his dream, then in the dream world, following some prompting from the viewer. After burying the body in the back garden and sending a threatening phone call to his therapist, he is arrested and jailed for the murder, and the game is released incomplete with a rating of two and a half stars out of five.

Role In The Story

Pax's true nature and role in the story is ultimately dependent on what path the viewer chooses, as well as the personal interpretations of the viewers themselves. For example, some have argued that Pax was just a symptom of Davies' mental breakdown that Stefan "inherited" after obsessive over the adaptation of the book for so long and so stressfully.

Others, having followed the P.A.C. path, believe that the Pax demon is simply a manifestation of the PAC Program's control over both Davies and Stefan: in his LSD-fueled lecture, Colin claims that Pac-Man is an illustration of modern life, the title character being secretly controlled to wander down a maze, unable to do anything but consume, doomed to begin the maze again if he somehow manages to escape and - most prominently of all - pursued by demons that probably exist only in his mind (the ghosts). As such, Pax is one of these imaginary demons, a side-effect of the programming only experienced by a few.

Some have even argued that, given that the suggested travel between alternate universes actually appears to exist in the film, it is possible that Pax is a manifestation of the space-time maze that Stefan has become trapped in, one that can only be escaped through a sacrifice of blood - or perhaps a manifestation of the meta narrative itself, one that ultimately allows Stefan to communicate with the viewer at one point. Whatever the case, given the inclusive nature of the multiple realities explored, it's even possible that every version of events depicted in the film is real, making all interpretations potentially correct.



           Black Mirror.jpegVillains

Arquette | Baxter | Carlton Bloom | Catherine Ortiz | Dogs | Dr. Haynes | Garrett Scholes | Hector | Iain Rannoch | Jerome F. Davies | Joe Potter | Kenny | Marie | Mia Nolan | Matthew Trent | Pax | Peter Butler | Robert Daly | Rolo Haynes | Saito Geimu | Stefan Butler | The Hackers | Trick | Victoria Skillane | Waldo | White Bear Visitors

           Netflix logo.pngVillains

The Little Prince (2015): The Businessman | The Conceited Man | Academy Teacher
Sahara (2017): Omar
Duck, Duck, Goose (2018): Banzou the Cat
White Fang (2018): Beauty Smith
Next Gen (2018): Ares
Rocko’s Modern Life: Static Cling (2019): Mr. Dupette | Ed Bighead
Invader Zim: Enter the Florpus (2019): Zim | GIR | Mini Moose | Gaz Membrane | Almighty Tallests | Irken Empire
Klaus (2019): Mrs. Krum | Mr. Ellingboe | Olaf | Pumpkin | The Krum Clan | The Ellingboe Clan
Farmageddon: A Shaun the Sheep Movie (2020): Agent Red | Mugg-1N5 | The Hazmats
The Willoughbys (2020): Father and Mother
A Whisker Away (2020): Cat Mask Seller
Animal Crackers (2020): Horatio P. Huntington | Zucchini | Samson | Stabby | El Diablo
Bigfoot Family (2020): Arlo Woodstock | Connor Mandrake
The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge On the Run (2020): King Poseidon | El Diablo | Plankton | Karen Plankton | Mr. Krabs
Barbie: Princess Adventure (2020): Prince Johan | Reggie | Rose Ross
Barbie & Chelsea: The Lost Birthday (2021): Don | Tiki the Statue
Arlo the Alligator Boy (2021): Ruff and Stucky
The Mitchells vs. the Machines (2021): PAL Labs (PAL, PAL Max, Glaxxon 5000 and PAL Max Prime)
Wish Dragon (2021): Pockets
America: The Motion Picture (2021): Benedict Arnold | King James
Trollhunters: Rise of the Titans (2021): Bellroc | Skrael | Zong-Shi
Vivo (2021): Lutador
The Loud House Movie (2021): Morag | Aggie
My Little Pony: A New Generation (2021): Sprout Cloverleaf

More to be added

Beasts of No Nation (2015): The Commandant
The Ridiculous 6 (2015): Frank Stockburn | Cicero
Hush (2016): The Man
The Do-Over (2016): Heather Fishman
Spectral (2016): The apparitions
Clinical (2017): Alex Green
Okja (2017): Nancy Mirando | Lucy Mirando | Frank Dawson | Johnny Wilcox | Mirando Corporation
You Get Me (2017): Holly Viola
Naked (2017): Vicky | Cody Favors
Death Note (2017): Light Turner | Mia Sutton | L | Ryuk | Antony Skomal | James Brode | Kenny Doyle
Little Evil (2017): Reverend Gospel | Lucas | Miss Shaylock | Satan
Gerald's Game (2017): Raymond Andrew Joubert | Gerald Burlingame | Tom
The Babysitter (2017): Bee | Max | Allison | John | Sonya | Satanic Cult | Melanie
1922 (2017): Wilfred James
Annihilation (2018): The Shimmer
Cam (2018): Lola Lola
22 July (2018): Anders Behring Breivik
Christmas Chronicles (2018): Charlie Plummer | Vincent | Vincent's Goons
Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle (2018): Shere Khan | Tabaqui | Bandar Log
Bird Box (2018): Creatures | Gary
Black Mirror: Bandersnatch (2018): Stefan Butler | Pax | Jerome F. Davies | Peter Butler | Dr. Haynes
Polar (2019): Mr. Blut | Vivian | A-Team
I Am Mother (2019): Mother
The Highwaymen (2019): Bonnie and Clyde
Malibu Rescue: The Movie (2019): Brody | Logan | Spencer | Garvin Cross
The Silence (2019): Reverend | The Hushed | Vesps
Murder Mystery (2019): Grace Ballard | Juan Carlos Rivera
Secret Obsession (2019): Ryan Gaerity
In The Tall Grass (2019): Ross Humboldt
Eli (2019): Eli Miller | Dr. Isabella Horn | Paul Miller
Rattlesnake (2019): The Woman | Billy
The Irishman (2019): Frank Sheeran | Jimmy Hoffa | Tony Provenzano | Russell Bufalino | Tony Salerno | Joe Gallo | Sally Bugs | Whispers DiTullio
I See You (2019): Greg Harper | Alec
6 Underground (2019): Rovach Alimov | Four Horsemen | Baasha Zia
The Social Dilemma (2020): A.I.
Nobody Sleeps in the Woods Tonight (2020): The Twins
Extraction (2020): Amir Asif | Farhad | Colonel Bajlur Rashid | Saju Rav | Gaspar | Ovi Mahajan Sr. | Shadek
The Old Guard (2020): Steven Merrick | Booker | Copley
Malibu Rescue: The Next Wave (2020): Wayno | Kezza | Team Aussie | Brody | Spencer
Freaks: You're One of Us (2020): Dr. Stern | Elmar Mund/Electro Man
The Babysitter: Killer Queen (2020): Melanie | Max | Allison | Sonya | John | Bee | Diego | Jimmy | Satan
Hubie Halloween (2020): Mrs. Dubois | Hal
Run (2020): Diane Sherman
A Babysitter's Guide to Monster Hunting (2020): The Grand Guignol | Peggy Drood | Toadies | Shadow creature
Love and Monsters (2020): Cap | Dana | Rocko | Monsters
The Strange House (2020): Gerold Röckl | Mrs. Röckl
Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey (2020): Don Juan Diego | Gustafson
Christmas Chronicles 2 (2020): Belsnickel | Speck
We Can Be Heroes (2020): Ojo | Ms. Granada
Major Grom: Plague Doctor (2021): The Plague Doctor | Evgeny Strelkov | Kirill Grechkin
Army of the Dead (2021): Zeus | Martin | Zombie Queen | Bly Tanaka | Burt Cummings | Zombies
Fear Street series (2021): Nick Goode | Satan | Skull Mask | Camp Nightwing Killer | Ruby Lane | Billy Barker | The Milkman | Pastor Miller | The Shame Killer | Goode Family (Solomon Goode)
Black Island (2021): Helena Jung
Nightbooks (2021): Natacha
Army of Thieves (2021): TBA

More to be added

Black Mirror: Carlton Bloom | Iain Rannoch | Victoria Skillane | White Bear Visitors | Baxter | Waldo | Matthew Trent | Joe Potter | Jennifer | Saito Geimu | Kenny | Hector | The Hackers | Arquette | Garrett Scholes | Robert Daly | Marie | Trick | Mia Nolan | Dogs | Rolo Haynes | Catherine Ortiz | Dr. Munk
House of Cards: Frank Underwood | Claire Underwood | Doug Stamper
Orange Is the New Black: Piper Chapman | Linda Ferguson | Pornstache | Natalie Figueroa | Desi Piscatella | Thomas Humphrey | Artesian McCullough | Aydin Bayat | Pennsatucky | Yvonne Parker | Stella Carlin | Maria Ruiz | Galina Reznikov | Denning Sisters | Madison Murphy | Dayanara Diaz | Carlos Litvak | Kubra Balik
Better Call Saul: Saul Goodman | Mike Ehrmantraut | Charles McGill | Juárez Cartel (Hector Salamanca, Lalo Salamanca, Nacho Varga, Tuco Salamanca, Marco and Leonel Salamanca, Juan Bolsa, Krazy-8, Arturo Colon, Gonzo & Don Eladio) | Los Pollos Hermanos (Gustavo Fring, Victor, Tyrus Kitt, Lydia Rodarte-Quayle & Gale Boetticher) | Huell Babineoux | Ed Galbraith
Scream (2015): Ghostface (Piper Shaw, Kieran Wilcox, Third Killer, Beth & Jamal Elliot) | Brandon James | Haley Meyers | Tom Martin | Becca | Tommy Jenkins | Luther Thompson | Avery Collins | Nina Patterson
Stranger Things: Mind Flayer | Billy Hargrove | Demogorgon | Martin Brenner | Connie Frazier | Lonnie Byers | Troy and James | Tommy H. and Carol | D'Artagnan | Neil Hargrove | Grigori | Larry Kline | General Ozerov | Heather Holloway | Tom Holloway | Bruce Lowe | Hospital Creature
The Good Place: Shawn | Michael
A Series of Unfortunate Events (2017): Count Olaf | Esmé Squalor | Hook-Handed Man | Henchperson of Indeterminate Gender | White-Faced Women | Bald Man | Carmelita Spats | Hugo, Colette & Kevin | The Man With a Beard But No Hair | The Woman With Hair But No Beard | Dr. Georgina Orwell | Sir | Vice Principal Nero | Ernest Denouement | Ishmael | Bombinating Beast
Money Heist: The Professor | Berlin | Arturo Roman | Alicia Sierra | Cesar Gandia | Palermo
Dark: Adam | Eva | Noah | Sic Mundus
Elite: Carla Rosón | Lucrecia Montesinos | Polo Benavent | Cayetana Grajera | Teodoro Rosón | Begoña Benavent | Andrea Villada | Armando
The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: Father Blackwood | Madame Satan | Weird Sisters (Prudence Blackwood & Agatha Night) | Batibat | Plague Kings (Beelzebub, Asmodeus & Purson) | The Pagans (Pan, Circe & Nagaina) | Green Man | Caliban | Jimmy Platt | Dorian Gray | Bartel | Jerathmiel | Mehitable | Satan
Sex Education: Michael Groff | Adam Groff | Ruby Matthews | Anwar Bakshi | Olivia Hanan | Hope Haddon
Malibu Rescue: The Series: Thornton Pavey | Garvin Cross | Brody | Spencer | Logan | Craig
Control Z: Raúl León | Gerry Granda | Pablo García | Darío | Ernesto | Bruno | Alex
Dark Desire: Esteban Solares | Darío Guerra | Antonio Guerra
Lupin: Hubert Pellegrini | Leonard Kone
Snabba Cash: Ravy
Sweet Home: Security Guard | Glutton Monster | Blind Monster | Spider Monster | Tongue Monster | Eyeball Monster | Protein Monster | Reach Monster | Speed Monster | Outlaws | Ui-myeong
Squid Game: Oh Il-nam | Front Man | The VIPs | Masked Men (Masked Supervisors | Masked Soldiers | Masked Workers) | Cho Sang-woo | Jang Deok-su | Byeong-gi | Player 278

Turbo Fast: Hardcase | Dirtbeard's Crew (Dirtbeard) | Hayaku | Clip and Clap | Queen Invicta | S.E.C.R.E.T. | Chef Lombardo | Wendell | Ace Gecko | Breakneck | Cajun Cliche | Dean Cuizeen | F.A.J.I.T.A | Broaches | Baron Von Schwarzhosen | Gigundus | Barth | Crowzilla | Guy Gagné
The Adventures of Puss In Boots: Bloodwolf | Duchess | Scimitar | El Moco | Beast | Evil Dulcinea
Dragons: Race to the Edge: Johann | Dragon Flyers (Krogan, Mr. Murderous Pile of Yak Dung, Flyer Leader) | Dragon Hunters (Viggo Grimborn, Ryker Grimborn, Cleve, Ingar Ingerman, Dragon Hunter Commander, Fight Master) | Dagur the Deranged | Amos | Gruffnut Thorston | Slitherwings | Firecomb Crasher | Hookfang's Nemesis
Dinotrux: D-Structs | Skrap-It | Splitter | Blayde | Pounder | D-Stroy | Goldtrux
Magi: Adventure of Sinbad: Barbarossa | Falan | Memphis | Shaka | Zayzafon | Rotter | Gyokuen Ren | Matal Mogamett
Voltron: Legendary Defender: Emperor Zarkon | Lotor | Haggar
Trollhunters: Gunmar the Black | Bular the Butcher | Gumm-Gumms | Angor Rot | Queen Usurna | Dictatious Maximus Galadrigal | Stricklander | Otto Scaarbach | Nomura | Krax | Morgana
Castlevania: Dracula | Isaac | Hector | Blue Fangs | Carmilla | Death | Bishop
Kakegurui: Yumeko Jabami | Mary Saotome | Hyakkaou Private Academy Student Council (Kirari Momobami, Vice-president, Itsuki Sumeragi, Yuriko Nishinotouin, Midari Ikishima, Yumemi Yumemite, Kaede Manyuda, Runa Yomozuki & Sayaka Igarashi)
Devilman Crybaby: Ryo Asuka/Satan | Demons (Zennon, Psycho Jenny, Sirene, Medoc, Kaim, Vegard & Jinmen) | Moyuru Koda | Babo | Hie | Angels | God
B The Beginning: Gilbert Ross | Minatsuki | Laica | Kamui | Quinn | Izanami | Takeru and Kukuri | Market Maker | Red | Blue | Yellow | Richard Crouse | Henry Crouse | Julian Crouse | Jean Henry Richard | Dead Kyle
Barbie: Dreamhouse Adventures: Poppy Reardon | Tammy | Whittaker Reardon | Gloria Vaughan | Cameron Vaughan | Mr. Pearlman | Vladimir Borislav
Harvey Girls Forever!: Zoe, Stu, Maria, Patty Pupé
Hilda: Kelly | Trevor
The Epic Tales of Captain Underpants: Melvin Sneedly | Benjamin Krupp | The Splotch | Socktopus | Theodore Murdsly | Smartsy Fartsy | Melvinborg | Teachertrons | Croco-bats | Butt-erflies | Dr. Disgruntled
She-Ra and the Princesses of Power: Hordak | The Horde (Catra, Shadow Weaver, Scorpia & Double Trouble) | Horde Prime | Galactic Horde | Light Hope | First Ones
3Below: General Morando | OMENs | Zeron Brotherhood | Halcon | Magmatron | Tronos Madu | Gwendolyn | Colonel Kubritz | Gaylen
Carmen Sandiego (2019): Professor Maelstrom | Coach Brunt | Countess Cleo | Dr. Saira Bellum | V.I.L.E. (The Cleaners | Roundabout | Cookie Booker | Tigress | Le Chevre | El Topo | Paper Star | Mime Bomb | Neal the Eel | The Mechanic | The Driver | Lady Dokuso | Otter Man and Moose Boy | Spinkick and Flytrap | The Troll | Madame Goldlove | Dash Haber)
Seis Manos: El Balde | El Balde’s Jefes
Green Eggs and Ham (2019): Hervnick Z. Snerz | Goat
Dragons: Rescue Riders: Magnus Finke | Slinkwing Trio (Lurke) | Waldondo del Mundo | Erik the Wretched | Svetlana the Sly
Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts: Scarlemagne | Mod Frogs (Jamack & Mrs. Satori) | Newton Wolves (Bad Billions and Good Billions) | Scooter Skunks | Humming Bombers | Tad Mulholand | Fun Gus | Human Resistance (Dr. Emilia, Greta & Zane)
Wizards: Bellroc | Skrael | King Arthur | Morgana | AAARRRGGHH!!!
Blood of Zeus: Hera | Seraphim
Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous: Scorpios rex | Henry Wu | Toro | Indominus rex | Eddie | Mantah Corp | Mitch & Tiff | Hawkes | Reed | Eli Mills
Kid Cosmic: Fantos the Amassor | Stuck Chuck | Biker in Black | Krosh | Erodious the Planet Killer
Go, Dog, Go!: Frank and Beans
I Heart Arlo: The Bog Lady
Centaurworld: The Nowhere King