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How THE CLOVERFIELD PARADOX Opened Up Unlimited Possibilities for CLOVERFIELD’s Future

Whether you liked The Cloverfield Paradox or not, what it pulled off should have you excited about future sequels. Thanks to the movie, which surprise-released on Netflix on Sunday, the “Clover-verse” can now go in any direction, to any location and time, that it wants. Its sequels can be entirely independent of previous installments while still remaining intimately connected to them. In other words, the Cloverfield franchise can now incorporate any script it finds interesting (or horrifying) into its world. An interesting opportunity for us, for screenwriters, and for Bad Robot Productions.

For a quick refresher on how and where Paradox fits in with the first two films: the happenings on the Shephard revealed that the events of all three movies take place at different times in different universes across a multiverse, even if they did all occur because of the same event. As Donal Logue’s Mark Stambler explains in the movie, the successful firing of the particle accelerator ripped “open the membrane of space-time, smashing together multiple dimensions, shattering reality—and not just on that station, [but] everywhere,” unleashing “chaos, the likes of which we have never seen: monsters, demons, beasts from the sea.”

And that “everywhere” isn’t limited to the “where” of the present. This chaos extends “in the past, in the future, in other dimensions.”

Three separate Earths, three sets of monsters, three timelines, all tied together by one event. This means the plot of a possible fourth, fifth, or 50th Cloverfield doesn’t have to look anything like its predecessors. The rules of the multiverse tell us they don’t follow a linear chronology and therefore don’t have to be aware of anything that happened previously, and are not even bound by the same set of facts as another dimension.

No future filmmaker in this universe will have to retcon a previous movie to ensure that their script “makes sense,” or omit something they’d otherwise deem important to fit the canon. They can simply create the story they want to tell, whenever and wherever it’s most appropriate to set it. And while it will certainly be feasible to make direct sequels to existing Cloverfield movies, every single movie could take place on its own version of Earth without having to deal with continuity or logic holes.

It also means the franchise won’t deal with the struggle faced by almost every other giant creature series about how to keep its concept fresh. You can keep making your monsters, robots, or explosions bigger and bigger, but that’s how you eventually end up with something like StarKiller Base, if not a pure reboot. That limited scope is how a franchise like Transformers ended up using King Arthur’s knights as a major plot point in its fifth film, or how Godzilla movies have remained basically the same (despite varying greatly in quality) over the span of decades.

On the other hand, Cloverfield never has to repeat the same type of story twice; it can now introduce new monsters and scenarios, new settings and time periods, new characters and villains every time they want.

(This approach also means you can watch a monster movie without having to ask obvious questions like, “If monsters keep coming out of the sea and attacking cities on the coast, why do millions of people still live on the coast?” and “Why do they keep building skyscrapers in Tokyo?” Characters can act like normal people experiencing a terrible new event in a world that is logical.)

It looks like Cloverfield isn’t going to waste anytime taking advantage of these endless possibilities either. At the end of January, when we were unaware we were days away from Paradox getting a surprise release, we told you about the rumored fourth film in the franchise, Overlord, which is reportedly already completed and set for an October release.

It’s set over six decades before the 2008 events of the original Cloverfield, the night before the Allied Forces invasion of Normandy, when American soldiers discover that Hitler is using supernatural forces and monsters to stop D-Day. We have no idea if the movie will be any good, but we know we won’t have to worry about how it will fit with the first three movies: It won’t… and will.

The real Cloverfield Paradox was finding a way to make none of your movies connected, while making sure all of them are. The results of that won’t be limitless energy, but rather limitless possibilities for making great movies.

What do you think? Will we be getting Cloverfield films forever now? Where (and when) would you like to see future movies go? Tell us what you think this means for the franchise moving forward?

Images: Bad Robot Productions

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