After six years in production, Julius Onah’s The Cloverfield Paradox was unleashed upon the world by surprise on the night of the Super Bowl. The film has inspired mixed reviews (our review) and some very wild theories regarding the future of the anthology science fiction franchise. I’m here to introduce a totally fantastical–and maybe ridiculous–theory about The Cloverfield Paradox, its impact on the franchise, and the question of alternate realities within the Cloververse. Grab some snacks and put on your tinfoil hats, because we’re in for a wild ride.
The established world of Cloverfield consists of two films, Cloverfield and 10 Cloverfield Lane, both of which appear to take place on an Earth that looks remarkably similar to ours. We know the world has undergone a drastic alien attack that’s led to giant monsters terrorizing the planet. So, when we enter into the world of The Cloverfield Paradox, the filmmakers expect us to assume we’re still in that world. But as many eagle-eyed fans have noticed, The Cloverfield Paradox actually confirms the existence of another entirely separate universe in the Cloververse canon. Let’s look at where those universes diverge and what that means for the future of the Cloverfield canon.
The Cloverfield Paradox introduces us to Ava and the crew of the Cloverfield space station, an international expedition to try and harness a new source of renewable energy which will hopefully help the Earth’s impending crisis. This is the first point where we get a hint that the world Ava and her husband inhabit isn’t the same world we’ve seen in the previous movies. On Ava’s Earth, there are rolling blackouts and a devastating energy crisis, which has never been referred to in either of the other two films. In fact, in both of the other entries, the characters appeared to be living completely normal lives in a world rather like our own until things were interrupted by the terrifying world-altering events of each film.
After the Shepard particle accelerator aboard the station suffers an unexpected power surge, the team finds themselves flung through space to the other side of the sun, and that’s where stuff really starts to get fun. The premise of the film is built upon the scientific principle of quantum entanglement, focusing on the idea of “molecules from two different realities interacting.” This is where we know for certain that the Cloverfield space station has entered another dimension–though we’re not one hundred percent sure which one.
When we’re violently introduced to Jensen, who’s apparently from the dimension where the station has ended up, we know something is up. Jensen claims to have been a crew member on the same ship in the alternate universe. It’s indisputable Jensen is from this new dimension, but it’s her enigmatic and ultimately dangerous motivations which are another hint her world is actually the one from the first two Cloverfield films. Jensen is convinced the Shepard can save her dimension and tries to convince the crew that they have no idea how bad it was there. Of course, the audience thinks she’s talking about an energy crisis equivalent to the one Ava’s Earth is suffering from, but what if she means the alien invasion from the first two movies? To really explore that notion, let’s jump to the shocking ending of The Cloverfield Paradox.
When the surviving crew members crash to Earth and a huge monster appears through the clouds, our first thought is Ava and Schmidt must be returning to the world we know from the first two Cloverfield movies. It would make sense if we imagine the film is working on a linear timeline, with the end of The Cloverfield Paradox working as a prelude to the beginning of the original Cloverfield. Establishing Paradox as a prequel seems to be a smart and relatively simple way to link it to the existing Cloverfield timeline, but we know Abrams and crew aren’t necessarily about giving easy answers. What if instead of The Cloverfield Paradox ending on the OG world of Cloverfield, it ends on an entirely different one?
Jensen is desperately scared for her world, so much so that she’s willing to commit murder to keep the Shepard particle accelerator in her universe. What could’ve driven her to such extreme measures? When the two dimensions collided due to the energy surge from the Shepard, maybe the aliens that were devastating Jensen’s planet (the planet from the first two movies) disappeared. If the Shepard had that effect, it could leave Jensen desperate and longing to keep the technology that rid her planet of the destructive alien force.
Another theory is that the power surge created multiple monsters on multiple planes of existence. If you go back and look at the monsters from the first movie, they’re sort of similar to the one we see roaring through the clouds at the end of The Cloverfield Paradox. And those both look really different from the ones we see flying over Earth and the end of 10 Cloverfield Lane. There’s always the chance that the power surge from the Shepard was the inciting act that created monsters throughout the multiverse Cloverfield exists within.
If that’s the case, then how many parallel universes have we already seen? At least the three from these films, imagining each is a singular dimension in the multiverse. That opens up the possibility for infinite Cloverfield stories, each taking place in their own universe. It would also explain how the next Cloverfield installment, a World War II-set zombie movie known as Overlord, fits into the canon. It’s simply another world entirely.
Did we just blow your mind with this Clover-spiracy? What are your favorite wild Paradox theories? Let us know below!