Despite its kaiju trappings, Cloverfield always seemed like an unlikely movie to earn a sequel, let alone a franchise. One of the best entries of the 2000s found footage craze, Cloverfield was less a killer monster movie and more character driven, focusing largely on Rob (Michael Stahl-David) making his way across a devastated New York City to reunite with his ex-girlfriend Beth (Odette Yustman). When their story ended, so did sequel chances.
But that wasn’t always the plan. Talking about the movie’s 15th anniversary, director Matt Reeves recalled the sequel hook he included in the original film. “I did something in the movie when Hud [the videographer played by TJ Miller] is on the bridge before the tail comes and smashes the Brooklyn Bridge in half,” Reeves told The Hollywood Reporter. “There’s a moment where you actually see someone filming him and you realize, “Oh, there’s another perspective on this evening.” This second group of camera operators would have been the focus of the other movie, giving Reeves and his collaborators the opportunity to further explore the monster attack.
As interested as he may have been, Reeves never got the chance to make that movie, in part because he wasn’t the only important piece in the project. For Cloverfield, Reeves teamed with producer J.J. Abrams and writer Drew Goddard, all of whom contributed to the creation of the film. “We all had ideas, and we just didn’t line up again,” Reeves explained. Indeed, not only did Abrams go immediately into rebooting Star Trek and then taking the reigns on Star Wars, but Goddard directed The Cabin in the Woods, served as season one showrunner for Daredevil, and wrote The Martian.
In their absence, the Cloverfield franchise has continued, but moved in very different directions. Directed by Dan Trachtenberg, 10 Cloverfield Lane follows a woman (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) trapped during the attack in a rural Louisiana bunker owned by a domineering madman (John Goodman). 2018’s The Cloverfield Paradox goes even further away from the original, staying largely on a space station manned by scientists played by Gugu Mbatha-Raw, David Oyelowo, and Daniel Brühl. When their experiments go awry, the scientists find themselves in a parallel dimension, eventually opening the way for the monster attacks.
Although the World War II action-horror movie Overlord ended up not being a Cloverfield entry, fans still hope that the franchise continues. But with Reeves currently continuing the world he started in The Batman, Trachtenberg choosing his next project after the Predator prequel Prey, and Cloverfield Paradox director Julius Onah prepping Captain America: New World Order, it’s not clear who will take the series forward.
For his part, Reeves won’t say never about returning to the universe, alongside Abrams and Goddard. “I can’t ever say that we wouldn’t or what we’re doing because it’s Cloverfield and Cloverfield rules are that you don’t talk about Cloverfield,” he teased. Until then, we’ll just have to keep watch, hoping the monster descends from the skies again.