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J.J. Abrams: Yes, Paradox really does link the whole Cloverfield universe

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Feb 26, 2018, 3:26 PM EST

Whatever The Cloverfield Paradox did or didn’t manage to achieve, one thing it did do was to invite fans to presume, at long last, that the events of all the Cloverfield films are linked together in a single, explainable universe. Sure, the rules may allow for multiple timelines, breaks in continuity, and, well, paradoxes — but it’s all supposed to fit…somehow.

Now, J.J. Abrams has pretty much confirmed what most viewers already had pieced together after trying to make sense of Paradox — especially the ending: the things that take place in one film don’t happen in a vacuum that separates them from the others.

“On the one hand, you can say, ‘Well, then anything anywhere could be a Cloverfield movie,’” said Abrams, speaking on The Empire Film Podcast, of Paradox’s controversial alternate-timeline plot. 

“But the intention has never been to take a movie and then slap Cloverfield on it,” he assured. “The idea was to say Cloverfield is a kind of umbrella, you know, under which all of sorts of genres and thrill rides can take place.”

That may sound like a purely thematic take, but add it up with director Julius Onah’s explanation, given in the same podcast, and it’s clear that Abrams and the creative team churning out these increasingly trippy Cloverfield plotlines want everything to fit together. But they really like the whole split-reality idea for its usefulness in justifying even the most far-fetched of scenarios for existing and future films alike.

“There was a real fine connection to make with things dropping into the ocean that you see in the [original] movie, when they first realize [in Paradox] they’ve landed in this other dimension,” Onah said. "There’re still more possibilities that will come with more strands of the story,” he promised.

Knowing all these stories are supposed to communicate through time — from the original Cloverfield, to 10 Cloverfield Lane, to Paradox, and on through to the upcoming Overlord movie (its working title) — that's one thing. But knowing how exactly these dots all connect, in terms of explainable events and timelines, is still mystery enough that we’re hoping Overlord and future films address it in more plausible detail. 

For now, we can keep firing up Netflix to analyze and re-analyze The Cloverfield Paradox. The direct-to-streaming movie remains available at the streaming service, where it launched with plenty of fanfare back on Super Bowl Sunday. And be sure to catch our own take on how Paradox tries to tie in with the Cloverfield films that preceded it.  

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