No one expected a Cloverfield cinematic universe when the found footage movie was released in 2008. But last year, Paramount Pictures and J.J. Abrams‘ Bad Robot pulled a fast one on audiences, dropping the trailer for 10 Cloverfield Lane mere months before the movie hit theaters. A sort of spiritual sequel to Cloverfield, 10 Cloverfield Lane was only thinly connected to the events of the first film, as it was transformed from a psychological thriller originally titled Valencia.
Now, we can look forward to the third Cloverfield movie that has evolved from another screenplay titled God Particle. Screenwriter Oren Uziel has explained how God Particle came to be the third Cloverfield movie and it’s pretty interesting.
Uziel had written the God Particle long before the expanded Cloverfield universe officially existed. Produced by Abrams and directed by Julius Onah, the sci-fi thriller follows a crew of astronauts (David Oyelowo, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Daniel Brühl, Chris O’Dowd, Ziyi Zhang, and Elizabeth Debicki) who make the horrible discovery that an experiment has caused Earth to disappear. Alone on a space station, they must fight for survival. The movie had been in the works since 2012 and was announced in October 2016 as the third Cloverfield movie.
Uziel, who is preparing to make his directorial debut with Netflix crime thriller Shimmer Lake, told Collider how the film was absorbed into the Cloverfield universe.
It was a spec that I wrote probably a year or so after Shimmer Lake, so it definitely existed as its own science-fiction. And then after years of, you know how scripts kind of hang around—people like them but for whatever reason they decided to make it and then suddenly everything fell into place with J.J. [Abrams], Bad Robot, and Paramount. I don’t know exactly when it became a Cloverfield movie, but I suspect in this current market where it’s just harder and harder to market an original movie of any kind, a science-fiction movie in particular, but I think everyone just knew if it fits—and it does—into that Cloverfield world, it should, and it can only help.
Uziel makes a good point that it’s hard for original movies to exist outside of the glut of franchises and cinematic universes. But despite being a “cinematic universe” itself, the Cloverfield banner acts more as a Twilight Zone-style umbrella under which new anthology stories can be told. Uziel promised that God Particle retained much of it original content, only tweaking a few minor details so that it could be integrated into the Cloverfield setting. God Particle and other Cloverfield movies like it can use the brand as a launchpad to tell original sci-fi stories, of which Uziel wholly approves:
I think if you can get that off the ground, which they are close, it’s very smart and also great for makers of science-fiction because it relieves you of that burden of like, ‘How are we gonna get people to get off their asses and into the movie theater to see something they’re not sure?’ It’s not a guarantee; the cast is different, we don’t know exactly what we’re getting, but if that stamp of approval of being part of the Cloverfield universe is enough, that’s a huge win. So I’m all for it. When you turn on The Twilight Zone, that’s sort of the way I think about it. I don’t know what this story is going to be, but I know it’s going to be a Twilight Zone story… It’s like an anthology for those kinds of movies, and I think if J.J., if what he’s doing is positioning himself a little bit to be the Rod Serling of J.J.-type science-fiction movies, more power to him.
It’s to be seen if God Particle will retain its name when it hits theaters October 27, 2017 — as of now, it’s known as Untitled Cloverfield Movie — but it will continue the expansion of one of the most exciting cinematic universes in theaters today.
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