Does it all make sense?
On the night of the 2018 Super Bowl (February 4) Netflix went Beyoncé and surprise-released a film for the first time. The eagerly anticipated follow-up to 10 Cloverfield Lane – a project previously known as God Particle, in fact called The Cloverfield Paradox – is a space-set sci-fi horror, which appears to have answered some long-held questions about the Cloverfield universe while raising a whole load more. Here’s what we learned from the film – and what there is to look forward to in the forthcoming Overlord.
The Cloverfield films occur in a multiverse
The Cloverfield Paradox suggests that the Cloverfield films all take place across several alternate timelines. The space crew in The Cloverfield Paradox are responsible for bringing monsters and aliens into all of the separate timelines (and therefore, all the separate films).
They do this with their spaceship, which is kitted out with a particle accelerator, like a small version of the Large Hadron Collider. The world they are living in is suffering an energy crisis and the scientific team are using the particle accelerator to – ignore the ‘science’ – find an infinite source of energy.
Towards the start of the film, a news broadcast about the particle accelerator shows a character called Mark Stambler – author of a book called The Cloverfield Paradox – expressing severe doubts about the project that the team in space are carrying out. He says: “That accelerator is 1000 times more powerful than any ever built. Every time they test it, they risk ripping open the membrane of space-time, smashing together multiple dimensions, shattering reality, and not just on that station – everywhere. This experiment could unleash chaos, the likes of which we have never seen. Monsters, demons, beasts from the sea… And not just here and now… In the past. In the future. In other dimensions.”
As we see in the film, Stambler’s theory is correct: the crew aboard the Shepard satellite get ripped into another strand of the multiverse – one where Ava’s children aren’t dead, and where World War 3 is kicking off – and at the end of the film they travel back to their home universe again, proving that there are multiple dimensions in this film, and therefore in all Cloverfield films.
All the films to date have occurred in separate strands of the multiverse, as the below fan-made illustration from Reddit shows. Cloverfield occurred in 2008, and its enormous monster – singular – came from underneath the ocean. From the technology in 10 Cloverfield Lane, it appears to take place around the year it was released – 2016 – and its monsters are aliens in UFOs. It’s tempting to read the final shot of the monster in The Cloverfield Paradox as proof that it’s in the same timeline as Cloverfield, but that’s not necessarily true: Ava’s husband Michael says in The Cloverfield Paradox that there are several of “those things” – unlike the singular monster in Cloverfield – and there’s no mention of The Cloverfield Paradox‘s energy crisis in Cloverfield, not to mention the fact that The Cloverfield Paradox is, unlike Cloverfield, set years in the future. There are little connections between the films – the Mark Stambler of this film recalls 10 Cloverfield Lane‘s Howard Stambler, and satellites crash in all three films – but it’s likely that these are just Easter Eggs.
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How the crew of the Shepard are responsible for all the other films
The Cloverfield Paradox is set at some point in the future, but as Stambler says the particle accelerator of the film is capable of “ripping open the membrane of space-time”, smashing together multiple dimensions “in the past” and “in the future” as well as in their own time. This explains how the film interacts with the other two to date. The ‘bleeding’ effect we see – the arrival of Jensen, the disappearance of Mundy’s arm – has taken place on a massive scale at random points in different years and across multiple universes. This means the Cloverfield franchise is capable of crossing into practically any setting or time, and any genre of horror, with any kind of monster or threat its creators can think of.
What does JJ Abrams have to say about it?
NME caught up with Abrams and he told us: “Now that we’ve done this crazy movie, it opens up the possibility of alternate everythings. But obviously if you say there are no rules then that’s not good either. So you want to figure out what it means. What I liked about the future story affecting the past is it does allow for things to – including 10 Cloverfield Lane – for things to be explained because of this even that happened. But I think every movie itself needs to have its own set of rules within it.”
The next film in the franchise, Overlord, is set during World War II: it’s about a group of American paratroopers on D-Day, who encounter supernatural forces that are part of a Nazi experiment. And we can assume this experiment has something to do with the events caused by The Cloverfield Paradox.
The new film began shooting in May 2017, so it could already be finished – and it might even be released in 2018, like The Cloverfield Paradox. Watch this space…