The post-Super Bowl release of “The Cloverfield Paradox” was a huge surprise for fans of the series, and this third installment offered plenty of easter eggs and callbacks to the original “Cloverfield” and “10 Cloverfield Lane.” Producer J. J. Abrams loves placing puzzles and clues into his work, and there’s plenty to unpack after seeing the new film. Here are some of the key connections “Paradox” makes to the other films in the series. Spoilers ahead for all three “Cloverfield” films.
Please note that given the multiverse-heavy, time-shifting nature of this film, many of the ideas below are up for argument or interpretation.
First, a quick refresher on the series. 2008’s “Cloverfield” was a found footage monster movie, where a group of hipsters, including Lizzy Caplan and T.J. Miller, must race across a mangled NYC to rescue their friend, without getting stomped on or eaten. 2016’s “Lane” ditches the handheld camera as a woman named Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) is held captive in a bunker by a doomsday prepper (John Goodman), who swears that the world is ending outside their sealed door. “Paradox” is a space thriller in the spirit of “Event Horizon,” following a team of astronauts trying to find an alternative fuel resource that will keep the Earth from a permanent blackout, but unknowingly risk destroying the universe in the process.
The WBC news anchor is also in “Lane.”
“Paradox” has one non-monster cameo from another installment: actress Suzanne Cryer, who appears as a TV journalist interviewing Mark Stambler (Donal Logue), the author of “The Cloverfield Paradox,” on a TV feed that goes into the Cloverfield Station. In “10 Cloverfield Lane,” she was decidedly less composed as a woman who was desperately trying to find shelter in the bunker. Watch part of the scene below:
Slusho! makes an appearance.
One quick shot that made it in the “Paradox” trailer was a bobbling figurine in the spaceship advertising the frozen drink Slusho! First appearing in J. J. Abrams’ series “Alias,” and figuring into the viral marketing of the first “Cloverfield,” the brand nod was a wink to fans obsessed with the online conspiracy mythology behind the series.
Celebrity voice cameos.
Both “Lane” and “Paradox” have famous voices on the other end of telephone lines. Bradley Cooper is heard in “Lane” talking to his ex, Michelle. Meanwhile, “Paradox” features Abrams’ friends Simon Pegg as Radio Voice and Greg Grunberg as Joe.
The name Cloverfield itself.
Originally used as a placeholder title (named after the exit Abrams takes to get to his office in Santa Monica), “Cloverfield” cemented itself as the official title of the first movie after the production team decided that Cloverfield would refer to the government case file on the monster containment project. The sequel built on this by also naming the address where the action took place as 10 Cloverfield Lane, thanks to a mailbox seen at the end of the film. In addition to being the title of the third film, “The Cloverfield Paradox” is the name of the book written about the Cloverfield Station. Given that, logic would dictate that the ship was launched with that name, and then the government designation had to quickly shift from the space project to the terrestrial monster issue that came after. That case file must be big.
Lights and power.
There are some interesting connections between “Lane” and “Paradox” when it comes to energy. At the beginning of “Lane,” there is chatter on the radio regarding a massive east coast blackout — similar to the rolling waves of blackouts happening at the beginning of “Paradox.” Similarly, Emmett (John Gallagher Jr.) describes a red flash of light in “Lane” that is very reminiscent of the experiment that first zips the Cloverfield Station to another dimension. Could that light have been seen from earth?
One of the most intriguing retcons of “Paradox” was the understanding that in the original universe, the Cloverfield station had crashed into the Atlantic Ocean, killing all crew members. Given that time is malleable after the use of the Shepard particle accelerator, it seems as though it could explain the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it spacecraft splashdown from the last scene of the original “Cloverfield” (starting at the 1:39 minute mark in the clip below):
The “Cloverfield” series is best known for showing a human-level perspective of giant monsters roaming around the globe, and that often involves brief glimpses over lengthy sequences. In the original “Cloverfield,” the main beast was skyscraper-sized, with smaller parasite critters running around terrorizing New Yorkers. “10 Cloverfield Lane” was largely alien-free, save for the epic ending battle with a huge spaceship and a bear-sized beast. Meanwhile, “Paradox” ups the ante with two moments. One shadowy view of the beast first comes to Michael (Roger Davies), who is spooked out enough to head to a shelter. But the clearest view is the final seconds of the film, where after successfully piloting their ship to earth, Ava (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) and Schmidt (Daniel Brühl) descend through the clouds, which are immediately parted by an enormous monster bursting through. There are countless theories as to how this monster came to be (It came through a tear in the fabric of another dimension! Bombs from the first “Cloverfield” made it grow! It’s from another time!), but suffice to say that the stakes are much bigger with a monster of that size.
Watch the “Paradox” trailer below, and watch the full film on Netflix now.