The Cloverfield Universe keeps expanding, and this time quite literally.
Busy Hollywood hyphenate J.J. Abrams has been working secretly – as he’s wont to do – as a producer on another long-gestating sci-fi pet project called God Particle. Now The Wrap reports that God Particle will be another entry into the Cloverfield universe, following the first two low-budget sci-fi/horror hits Cloverfield and 10 Cloverfield Lane.
Although Paramount or Abrams would not confirm (or even respond to requests for statements), this would certainly fit the pattern of 10 Cloverfield Lane. That film, released earlier this year (to critical and box office success) was filmed under the title Valencia. Then, only weeks prior to its wide theatrical release, Valencia was revealed to be, in fact, 10 Cloverfield Lane. Not a direct sequel to the original “found footage” movie, this contained thriller would up being tangentially connected in its final act to that first film’s universe.
Also like Lane helmer Dan Trachtenberg, God Particle is being directed by another young filmmaker groomed by Abrams’ Bad Robot company: Julis Onah. This will mark the first major production for the Nigerian-American filmmaker, following a few low budget career-starters.
In terms of plot, all that’s known about God Particle is the brief official description that’s been offered, but it definitely takes the once Earthbound Cloverfield franchise into the literal stratosphere and beyond:
- A shocking discovery forces a team of astronauts aboard a space station to fight for survival while their reality has been altered.
The Wrap also reports their source as saying Abrams and Paramount plan to release one Cloverfield movie per year for the foreseeable future.
Collider.com film writer Adam Chitwood sums up my feelings very well about what Abrams is doing with this franchise:
- “I actually think this is an incredibly smart way to approach the Cloverfield franchise—by allowing filmmakers to develop unique, contained stories that are connected to but not direct sequels to Cloverfield, we get the best of both worlds: original sci-fi stories with unique points of view, and a franchise films that further expand a universe.”
After theorizing about how God Particle could fit into the timeline of the first two Cloverfield films, Chitwood ends by wondering, “Will Super 8 be revealed to be a retroactive Cloverfield movie?” I doubt it – but I love where his head is at.
In addition to Chitwood’s points, I’d also add that another wonderful aspect to this whole budding Cloverfield franchise is that we now have a major Hollywood mogul – Abrams – making a concerted effort to find, develop, nurture, and give directing opportunities to young, promising talent. This important responsibility was ditched by studios long ago, consigning it to the whims of the indie world. It’s heartening to see an inside powerbroker like Abrams pick up that mantle again.
God Particle (or whatever Cloverfield title it’ll eventually end up with) boasts a diverse cast, starring David Oyelowo (Selma, Disney’s recent Queen of Katwe) and Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Concussion, Belle, the character Tish Jones from the 2007 season of Doctor Who). The ensemble also includes Ziyi Zhang, Elizabeth Debicki, Daniel Brühl, John Ortiz, and Chris O’Dowd.
God Particle will open early next year on February 24, 2017.