There’s been a lot of conjecture about the upcoming film from JJ Abrams and Bad Robot Productions 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE—and not all of it’s good. Excitement and awe over Abrams’ mad clandestine filmmaking skills has been tempered by speculation that fans are being misled. In this day of sequels & prequels, remakes & reboots, Abrams has muddied the waters further by declaring that 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE is most accurately a “blood relative” of his 2007 found-footage monster epic.
A look into 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE’s production history should definitely give fans a moment of pause. While it seemed that Abrams had magically created a CLOVERFIELD sequel out of thin air, the movie’s production was not actually a secret. It had been filmed under the working title THE CELLAR (also given the code-name VALENCIA); a casting call for crew members gave the following description:
The movie centers around an underground cellar where a young woman wakes up in after a severe car accident and she fears she has been abducted. Her captor, a doomsday survivalist tells her he saved her life and that there has been a terrible chemical attack that has left the outside uninhabitable. She does not know what to believe she must decide to escape or stay with the man who may be her hero or her killer.
Suspiciously absent from the above synopsis: Any mention whatsoever of a certain gargantuan beast who decimated New York City.
Rumors abound that interest in THE CELLAR was so low, Abrams and company added a CLOVERFIELD connection in the 11th hour as an afterthought. Whether or not this is true, there’s plenty to suggest that 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE may not be the direct sequel fans are hoping for; the tagline “Monsters Come in Many Forms” paired with trailers featuring a mentally unstable John Goodman suggest this film’s main monster may just be of the human variety.
While a sloppy connection to 2007’s CLOVERFIELD will certainly be a significant disappointment (if this turns out to be the case), there are still reasons for cautious optimism. Hardcore fans already know that Abrams often leaves clues insinuating connections between his creative projects—leaving some to even hypothesize the filmmaker’s entire catalog occupies a single, shared universe.
The most striking case for a common Abrams universe is the connection between CLOVERFIELD and the producer’s breakthrough television saga LOST; a slide containing the DHARMA INITIATIVE’s logo (pictured below) appears in the movies opening moments.
Another example of a shared Abrams’ Universe: Eagled eyed fans spotted a certain STAR WARS franchise droid in 2009’s reboot of STAR TREK (R2-D2, pictured below); the director was already attached to 2015’s THE FORCE AWAKENS.
Follow the arrow for R2-D2
Yet another example: Much ado was made about the character “Ello Asty” in THE FORCE AWAKENS. While it’s obviously a shout-out to The Beastie Boys (Abrams is a devoted fan), the name is also a pun of the phonetic spelling of LOST. Check it out: Ell (L) o (O) As (S) ty (T). Gnaw on that one for a minute. If Abrams can imagine a shared universe for mankind’s future exploits and events that transpired “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away,” it easy to accept that all his movies are indeed connected.
The bottom line (in my opinion): Even if 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE is a distant-relative of CLOVERFIELD, it will still be a sequel. Hardcore fans won’t like it, but a lack of direct connection between the two films will only emphasize shared thematic elements—clearly one of Abrams’ intentions. And even if John Goodman turns out to be the most terrifying creature in 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE, there’s definitely something else going on—a bigger picture that very well may include tangible CLOVERFIELD connection.
No one likes being misled, but fans should take comfort in the fact that just about everything Abram produces (for film and television) turns out to be gold: Intelligent, creative entertainment of the highest caliber. I just hope my faith in the man remains unshaken once 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE hits theaters on March 11th.
Are you excited about the release of 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE next month? Sound off in the Comments section!
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