Following the release of the original movie in 2008 director Matt Reeves discussed potential ideas for Cloverfield 2, and here’s how his best idea was secretly set up during Cloverfield itself. The first movie was a textbook example of producer J.J. Abrams’ “Mystery Box” approach to storytelling, with the film first being teased by a mysterious trailer that didn’t even have a title. This guerilla approach to marketing paid off in a big way, with the movie being a critical and commercial success.
Despite hitting a home run talk of a Cloverfield 2 soon went quiet, and it seemed the filmmakers involved weren’t really interested in continuing the story. The franchise then became something of an anthology in the years that followed, with spinoff 10 Cloverfield Lane arriving in 2016 to a warm critical reaction and solid box-office. This was soon followed by the 2018 Netflix exclusive The Cloverfield Paradox, a messy sci-fi movie that largely wasted its potential.
Over a decade later a direct sequel is finally in development, but Cloverfield 2 will lack key talent from the original in the form of screenwriter Drew Goddard or director Matt Reeves. The latter may not be involved with the follow-up anymore, but in an interview with Coming Soon just after the release of Cloverfield, Reeves discussed what he might do with a sequel. The director sounded very open to a sequel at this point but stressed it had to do something fresh, and he teased one intriguing way the first movie could have set up the next movie.
There’s a moment on the Brooklyn Bridge, and there was a guy filming something on the side of the bridge, and Hud sees him filming and he turns over and he sees the ship that’s been capsized and sees the headless Statue of Liberty, and then he turns back and this guy’s briefly filming him. In my mind that was two movies intersecting for a brief moment, and I thought there was something interesting in the idea that this incident happened and there are so many different points of view, and there are several different movies at least happening that evening and we just saw one piece of another.
Since Cloverfield 2 has already been confirmed to not be found footage, this sequel hook will almost definitely be discarded. That said, Reeves’ concept of following the unnamed cameraman glimpsed in Cloverfield could have offered a quite literal fresh perspective to the monster’s rampage in New York. Perhaps Reeves’ sequel could have switched back and forth behind different perspectives in the city too instead of just following one group, like this cameraman or a news crew covering the event. It might even have revisited events seen in Cloverfield from another POV – such as the climactic bombing of Central Park – and offered new context on what the creature is doing without having to answer all the lingering questions.
If the franchise had continued with the found footage angle, Reeves’ Cloverfield 2 idea could have been a unique way to do it. For whatever reason, the creatives behind the franchise opted not to develop this concept further and a direct sequel soon went into development hell. It will be interesting to see how exactly the upcoming sequel will continue the storyline without the found footage conceit and to see what became of the monster following the movie.