Back in 2008, when the first Cloverfield film was released, J.J. Abrams had only dabbled in “Franchise Land” with Mission: Impossible III. Shortly after that, he rebooted Star Trek and his career exploded. It became even more legendary when he brought another franchise into the present day when directing Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Meanwhile, Paramount followed the Hollywood trends and went into franchise mode, making a second loosely connected film to the original Cloverfield called 10 Cloverfield Lane, which originally was a standalone movie called The Cellar. They did the same thing when Bad Robot, Abram’s production company, bought up a script called The God Particle, which eventually became The Cloverfield Paradox.
Abrams, who had produced the original film and its follow up had plans to work on the post-production of The Cloverfield Paradox before it was released in theaters by Paramount.
Then things changed. Abrams was lured back to a galaxy far, far away to finish what he started and write and direct Star Wars: Episode IX. He no longer had time to work on The Cloverfield Paradox. Paramount took a long look at their properties and gauged what was theatrical and what wasn’t in this day and age of streaming. They deemed that Paradox was not, and sold it to Netflix, who surprised everyone and released it on their platform mere hours after the first ever trailer during Super Bowl LII.
The gimmick of the release didn’t seem to last long, and the film was panned by critics. Having the “Cloverfield” name in the title seems to have hurt the brand in the long run. Audiences are used to tightly interconnected universes now, and expect more from movies that say they are intertwined. There are already plans for a fourth movie in the franchise, but again, that was a script that was something else called Overlord first, then adapted to fit this universe. What we need is a tried and true genuine Cloverfield sequel that binds all of these films together to make the universe a little more cohesive. I am curious as to how different The Cloverfield Paradox would have been with Abrams’s involvement. Would it be better, worse, or just a bit different? We will probably never know.