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What We Need From The New ‘Cloverfield’ Movie

For fans of the Cloverfield cinematic universe–or the “Cloververse”–any little morsel of info about an upcoming entry into the series gets us worked up for weeks, months, years. While it was announced in January of 2021 that JJ Abrams would be gracing us with a new Cloverfield, there hasn’t been much else to whet our sci-fi horror appetites. That is, until this Twitter exchange between screenwriter Joe Barton and a fellow Cloververse fan:

Joe Barton has been one of the few constants for the new Cloverfield movie. If you don’t recognize his name, you’ll definitely recognize one of his other movies: The Ritual. That’s the Netflix original horror movie that so many of us now suggest to anyone who will listen. But with the above morsel of hope that the new Cloverfield is still on track, I can’t help but worry that it’ll be a bomb. It could happen. So here are some of the things we need out of the new Cloverfield movie:

Spring it on us without warning.

Normally movies are announced well before they’re released. You get the filmmakers talking about their movies for many months or even years before they come out, really drumming up the hype. It’s the norm. But the news of the sequel, 10 Cloverfield Lane, was deliciously quiet. It was a sudden trailer before 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi on January 15, 2016. The movie was then released less than two months later on March 10, 2016. That kind of stealth release is unheard-of for feature films, and made it just that much more captivating.

Then, in even more of a stealth release The Cloverfield Paradox was announced during the 2018 Superbowl and made available at the exact same time on Netflix. Clearly Cloververse fans are now used to getting no info (almost, see the next point) when it comes to releases. I’d love to see the next movie suddenly pop up with no warning again, like the other sequels.

Bring back the ARG.

While they shouldn’t announce the film willy nilly, of course bring back the Cloverfield alternate reality game. Starting with the very first Cloverfield in 2008, the filmmakers have been hiding little clues and tidbits about the movies and the Cloververse lore in websites, images, sound files, you name it. While it’s mostly played by the hardest core fans, it’s still a fun side aspect that they absolutely have to keep going for the new movie. If you’re curious about the ARG, check out this helpful Cloverpedia article about it.

Hide clues in the trailer, even if they mean nothing.

Once the trailer actually happens, if it does at all, hide clues (or non-clues) in there for fans to dissect. When that trailer dropped for 10 Cloverfield Lane, fans had a field day looking at everything in every frame. People wondered what might be in-game for the ARG, like the Swamp Pop they’re drinking in the trailer. It’s the stuff podcasts are made of, like Cloverfeels. Please do this for the next one.

Don’t worry about an all-star cast.

When Cloverfield came out in 2008, it had no one of note in the cast. Sure, TJ Miller would go on to be…something, but no one was a big name at the time aside from maybe Lizzy Caplan. Still, it was a hit that fans love to this day. I know there’s this drive in Hollywood to cast the big names to get butts in seats, but you don’t have to do that, JJ Abrams. We’ll see the movie regardless. Just focus on making it good.

Answer some of the questions we still have.

Explain more about the Cloverfield monsters. Is there really a connection to the Dharma Initiative, or was that just an Easter egg for Lost fans in the opening of the first Cloverfield? I don’t need them to explain everything. Not even most things. But if they answer a few questions, that’d be lovely.

Leave us new questions to ask.

And for that matter, if they can give us new questions to ask and mysteries to solve, that’d be great, too.

Keep it fresh.

Every movie in the Cloververse is different. And even the first movie–a found footage sci-fi disaster creature feature–felt fresh and new. Keep that going, JJ Abrams and Joe Barton. Give us fans something to talk about, analyze, and pick apart like the pop culture vultures we are.