What Is B6 In Spiderhead? Netflix's Movie That Took 10 Years To Make
SPIDERHEAD. Chris Hemsworth as Abnesti in Spiderhead. Cr. Netflix © 2022

What Is B6 In Spiderhead? Netflix's Movie That Took 10 Years To Make

Rachael Grealish June 18, 2022

Netflix’s movie Spiderhead starring Chris Hemsworth has been ten years in the making, but now everyone wants to know what is B6 and if the drug is real?

The movie, which is directed by Top Gun: Maverick‘s Joseph Kosinski and stars Miles Teller and Jurnee Smollett, only dropped on June 17 but already has fans asking questions.

WARNING: Spiderhead spoilers ahead

What is Netflix’s Spiderhead?

For those who haven’t had the chance to watch it yet, the movie follows the story of two inmates who form a connection while grappling with their pasts in a state-of-the-art penitentiary run by a brilliant visionary who experiments on his subjects with mind-altering drugs – the whole thing is actually based on The New Yorker short story, Escape From Spiderhead, by George Saunders.

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SPIDERHEAD. (L to R) Chris Hemsworth as Abnesti and Miles Teller as Jeff in Spiderhead. Netflix © 2022

In the movie, inmates wear a surgically attached device that administers dosages of mind-altering drugs in exchange for commuted sentences. There are no bars, no cells, or orange jumpsuits.

The synopsis reads: ‘In Spiderhead, incarcerated volunteers are free to be themselves. Until they’re not. At times, they’re a better version. Need to lighten up? There’s a drug for that. At a loss for words? There’s a drug for that, too. But when two subjects.’

One day when an experiment by Hemsworth’s character, Steve Abnesti, goes wrong Teller’s character Jeff becomes suspicious so he does the only logical thing and goes through the scientist’s notes. This is when Jeff comes across the mention of a drug named B6 and a small notebook page with “O-B-D-X” written on it.

What is B6 in Spiderhead?

In our world B6 is one of the B vitamins and its roles include turning food into energy and helping to create neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and dopamine – so it’s pretty important.

However, in Spiderhead, according to Steve, B6 is a drug that will make inmates do anything they’re told to. Steve names it “O-B-D-X,” a shortened form of “Obediex”, indicating its purpose of obedience.

Because the inmates are being given the drug they can’t say no to any of Steve’s mad experiments – including ones that could put them in genuinely life-threatening situations or even hurt their own loved ones.

Fortunately for all of us, B6 isn’t a real drug it’s simply one based on the drug Docilryde™ from the original story. However, fans of classic dystopian novels will probably see similarities in B6 and “Soma” from Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World.

Spiderhead took 10 years to make

After hearing all that we know what you’re thinking: how come this movie wasn’t made before? That’s because making the movie was ‘about a 10-year process’, according to its screenwriters.

In an interview with Den of Geek Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick explained making the movie took a long time from when it first appeared in the New Yorker.

‘This was about a 10-year process,’ Reese said, ‘It took almost 10 years to get when that thing was brought to us until the movie was on the screen.’

SPIDERHEAD. (L to R) Jurnee Smollett as Lizzy and Miles Teller as Jeff in SPIDERHEAD. Netflix © 2022

The pair first saw the short story back in 2010 and made their intentions clear they wanted to write a script for the movie, but ‘life got in the way a little bit’ they said. Basically, the pair attached themselves as directors to the project but then working on the likes of Deadpool and its sequel became a priority. Eventually they got Kosinski on board to direct which they said was the best move for the movie.

‘We ultimately had to decide to step away as directors and go find a director and that became the great Joe Kosinski,’ Reese said.

‘Thank God we didn’t direct it, it would have been like watching a hand puppet show or something. It would have been terrible. But in any case, we wrote it on spec and then ultimately sold it to Netflix. Once Joe was attached, and we started to get a path toward a cast, that’s when Netflix finally bought the script.’

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Rachael is the Senior Content Editor at Freshered. She is NCTJ qualified with an MA in journalism. Rachael has almost ten years experience as a journalist in regional, national and international press and is passionate about creating engaging content.