J.J. Abrams has been at the pioneering head of many high yielding properties in Hollywood, but the one among them that especially caught my eye is the ‘Cloververse’ or the ‘Cloverfield’ franchise, and to say that it literally has infinite possibilities as a way forward is an understatement. Unlike other franchises, the Cloververse is able to exercise that freedom by virtue of being an anthology franchise, with both ’10 Cloverfield Lane’ and ‘The Cloverfield Paradox’ being standalone stories but only remotely linking to the first ‘Cloverfield’ film that kicked off this shared universe in 2008, as a somewhat groundbreaking monster/disaster film. In that, it would seem paradoxical in itself that the next film announced in the franchise is supposed to be a direct “true” sequel to the first ‘Cloverfield’ film, touted to go back to the ways of the first in more ways than one.
Listening to that does surely put me in a bit of a bittersweet predicament: sweet because, well, there are exceedingly few science fiction/thriller/monster/disaster films and franchises that I put my faith in, and this one, especially after ’10 Cloverfield Lane’ took the route of a suspense thriller to tie up marvelously with ‘Cloverfield’ in its final scene, showed a genuine glimmer of hope. Imagine a series of films that explore a variety of themes and genres, all tying up to that one fateful event which is at the centre of the first film. Then of course it’s bitter because the next film in the franchise, as disclosed by producer J.J. Abrams, is going to be a direct sequel, something that is absolutely conventional to say the least. While we keep our eyes peeled for any new developments on the project, here is everything that we currently know about the direct sequel to ‘Cloverfield’.
Cloverfield Sequel Plot: What is it about?
Interestingly enough, I will have you know that none of the two “sequels” that the franchise has received so far, ‘10 Cloverfield Lane’ and ‘The Cloverfield Paradox’ that released on Netflix, initially started out as films part of the franchise. They were both proposed as standalone independent ideas, and for a majority of their runtime would seem like such, until the one big twist towards the end would link them with the 2008 cult film.
The idea that I am trying to drive home here is the modularity of the franchise: stories that started off as something entirely different: possibly one about paranoia and the other about a space time paradox, inevitably became linked as part of a larger picture through a mere 5-10 minutes of additional scenes and writing. What’s to stop the franchise from going in completely unexplored directions and be a part of a larger, shared universe? I guess we will have to hold this on until the next one since it has been announced as a direct sequel and that brings us to the most obvious lanes it could take. We’ll take this film by film.
Coming back to the first film that literally ended in a flash, just as the “hammer down” protocol was enacted and put into motion, Rob and Beth take refuge under a bridge at the Central Park that collapses over them as the bombings begin, and the camcorder in which they record their final testimonies becomes the source of all found footage of the day’s fateful events. Moments later, another piece of found footage very barely hints at what awoke the ‘Clover’ monster, just as we see an unknown object far into the distance crash into the ocean from the sky. It’s hard to catch given that the footage immediately shifts back to Rob and Beth, but a curious being would even catch the monsters squeal in all that noise. Now while this sequence of events hints at where the monster came from, ‘The Cloverfield Paradox’ expands upon its origins and ties into the first film through this very scene.
After the credits have rolled on the first film, the makers intentionally leave some room for a sequel when an unknown voice says “help us”, while the backmasked audio reveals what it actually saying is “it’s still alive”. That right there is the first course or heading that we have for the direct sequel: what happened to Manhattan after the “hammer down” protocol? Who survived? More importantly, did the monster survive? The clue from the audio segment would tell that it did. Expect the sequel to delve into finding the answers for these questions and more.
The talks of a sequel would also seem interesting since ’10 Cloverfield Lane’ happened at roughly the same time as the invasion in a completely different place, and ‘The Cloverfield Paradox’ served as a prequel of sorts. Also, while the first one ended with virtually all the main players dying, there is still a lot more that was left unanswered, even if the third film did attempt to give some. That is where the story of the direct sequel would come in: filling in some gaps, answering some questions, resolving loose threads and linking to all the three movies in *Eureka* moments.
Perhaps the story could be presented from the perspective of a group that survived these attacks, and what they have to deal with next, especially since the “clover” monster is very much alive. However, one has to be careful that the sequel doesn’t prove to be rehashing of the first one, of which Matt Reeves, the director of the first one had this to say: “You see, that’s a difficult part: we want it to be shot like the first but how can you continue that idea successfully for a second time? We have a lot of affection for the original and the sequel can’t just be the same thing. But that is tricky when you need to have a monster destroying stuff once again”.
So, there it is. While it would seem prudent for a ‘Cloverfield’ sequel to have the same monster wreaking havoc, it becomes increasingly essential not to tell the same story again. “There’s a moment on the Brooklyn Bridge, and there was a guy filming something on the side of the bridge, and Hud sees him filming and he turns over and he sees the ship that’s been capsized and sees the headless Statue of Liberty, and then he turns back and this guy’s briefly filming him. In my mind that was two movies intersecting for a brief moment, and I thought there was something interesting in the idea that this incident happened and there are so many different points of view, and there are several different movies at least happening that evening and we just saw one piece of another.” There have also been talks of merging the survivors from the latter two ‘Cloverfield’ films, namely Ava from ‘Paradox’ and Michelle from ‘Lane’ and that too would definitely seem like an explosive idea at the outset.
Cloverfield Sequel Cast: Who is in it?
Not much to go on here, but you can definitely expect some new casting and fresh faces as has been the case with every ‘Cloverfield’ film until now, and also depending on the direction the sequel ends up taking. Speaking of which, if it is the last one that I just spoke of in the previous section, we can most definitely expect Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Michelle and Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Ava Hamilton to return to their respective roles from their respective films to take the story of the first one forward. That’d definitely be something worth seeing.
Cloverfield Sequel Crew: Who is behind it?
I would hardly think that Matt Reeves, the director of the first one, would be in a position to return for the sequel, especially given that in the years separating the two films, Reeves has seen some major success, and is currently also roped in to direct a trilogy of Batman films starring Robert Pattinson. My guess is that Dan Trachtenberg, director of ’10 Cloverfield Lane’, might be the franchise’s best shot. The good news is that Drew Goddard will in all probability be attached to the project as writer, and J.J. Abrams will definitely be producing and writing, something that is absolutely essential to regain some lost faith after the critical panning of ‘The Cloverfield Paradox’.
Cloverfield Sequel Release Date: When will it premiere?
Bit of a stretch really, because everything that you just read is an expansion on interviews and bits of news that we have heard. While Abrams has officially confirmed it, little else is known about the ‘Cloverfield’ sequel that could begin production any time between early next year and the year after that, depending on whether the writers are able to finalize even a draft script for the project by later this year. Keeping all of that in mind, I expect Cloverfield 2 to release sometime in 2021.
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