To say The Cloverfield Paradox hasn’t been embraced by critics and fans would be an understatement. The consensus has been universal: It’s a really bad movie. That’s really surprising given how successful the first two entries were, especially with 10 Cloverfield Lane earning widespread praise. The mystery still abounds, but producer J.J. Abrams may have just answered the riddle.
The Coverfield Paradox wasn’t a Cloverfield movie when it started shooting.
In a live Q&A on Facebook, Abrams discussed the origins of The Cloverfield Paradox and how it came to be. When answering, Abrams revealed that when the movie started shooting, it wasn’t tied to the Cloverfield universe at all. That came later with rewrites of the script and additional shooting.
“Originally, it was written by Oren Uziel, who wrote a draft that was its own thing, and was around for a while,” related Abrams. “After Bad Robot got ahold of the script, we started to think, ‘What are ways that this might fit into the world?’ But when we started shooting the movie, it was still something we were thinking about.
“Because the idea for the Cloverfield series was not so much that it be this narrative throughline, but more that they be these really fun sort of thrill rides. Like, if you imagine an amusement park, that’s a Cloverfield amusement park, and every ride has a different purpose, but they all connect in some way or another.”
Abrams later opined about how the process went to incorporate the movie into a Cloverfield universe. “It was while we were shooting, we were making adjustments. This movie went through so many iterations.”
This better explains why The Cloverfield Paradox feels so disconnected from the other movies set in the same universe. A big criticism of it is that only a few scenes connect it to the original movie, but these scenes feel hastily tacked on. Given Abrams’ comments, it sounds like that’s exactly what happened.
Trying to turn a regular space movie into a Cloverfield movie turned out to be a troublesome proposition for J.J. Abrams, and one that did not work out.