Just before 2017 came to an end, Netflix managed to rescue the year from just a tiny bit of its bleakness by dropping the fourth season of its appropriately disquieting show Black Mirror. And, now that viewers are just starting to emerge the from the existential bender that is binging its latest episodes, it’s time to focus on the show’s details—ones much subtler than, say, the fact that Jodie Foster actually directed one of the episodes.
The season begins with “USS Calister,” an episode named after a virtual reality, Star Trek-esque ship run by a captain who, back on earth, is actually an oft-teased start-up employee named Robert Daley, who’s wont to board the Callister and live out a much glossier and more exciting version of his real life. In actual real life, both the captain and the real-life version of captain is played by Jesse Plemons, an actor whom you may know from shows like Fargo, Friday Night Lights, and Breaking Bad—the latter of which actually happens to be relevant in this mind-bending episode, as its end brings a voiceover that’s unmistakably the work of Aaron Paul, who was of course Plemons’s co-star on Breaking Bad, along with Bryan Cranston.
Much more subtle than Paul’s distinctive slacker tone, though, is another real-life connection to Plemons in the episode: a two-second long appearance from his fiancée Kirsten Dunst, whose A-list name doesn’t even make it onto the episode’s main IMDb page. Her cameo as a Callister employee is also uncredited on Netflix, and rightfully so: it’s so quick that you could literally blink and miss it.
According to the episode’s director, Toby Haynes, that’s because her role as a guest star was much, much less planned out than Paul’s. “She was sitting on set with Jesse and was like, ‘Can I play?'” Haynes recalled to the Hollywood Reporter on Tuesday. “I said, ‘sure,’ and we placed her in the background.”
Like many more of the show’s so-called “easter eggs,” though, the benevolent Haynes actually had to fight to keep Dunst in the final cut. “When I watched the first take she wasn’t there—continuity had taken her out because she wouldn’t be in any of the other shots that day,” Haynes said. He, quite understandably, “went crazy! I told them, ‘Come on! I only need one shot!'” Come to think of it, though, it is quite fitting for a show about alternate realities to reveal that somehow, somewhere in this world, there exists a reality in which editors aren’t interested in a completely free cameo from Kiki. (Even when she’s buzzier than ever, thanks to her reported pregnancy.)
See Kirsten Dunst Take W’s Screen Test: