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Although it is addressed here that the first and second movies are not connected in the way we're used to, there's some links that seem to be fairly weird between the three.

SPOILERY TL;DR

Why do the monsters, aliens, and plots of all three movies seem to be weirdly connected but do not share a consistent timeline or chain of events?

warning: SEVERE spoilers ahead

In the first installment of the saga, the city of New York's monster-prone neighborhood of Manhattan is (what a surprise) destroyed by a giant 6-legged arthropod-ish monster with big teeth, resistant to modern warfare and probably vulnerable to nuclear warheads.

In some weird manga called Cloverfield and released right before the first installment (but which only reached Europe later) the same monster lays waste to a Japanese city at some point before or after the incident.

In the second installment, we have a terror-esque bunker-not-so-safe trope movie about the world being laid waste by Russians, Chinese, and/or aliens.

One of the main characters escapes and finds out it was door number 3 the whole time, and things aren't going okay for our lovely earth, or at least, for the American east coast (what a surprise again).

In the third installment, we find ourselves on the verge of middle-of-21st-century energy crisis where the world is on the cusp of war for a couple of petrol drops, and a group of scientific international astronauts try to fix it by testing Hadron Collider-powered energy in space.

The experiment fails for 600-ish days, then it works, but it teleports the station somewhere else. Somehow a war starts on earth (by Russians, Chinese, or Germans this time), and the east coast is again laid waste. The husband of one of the scientists hides in a friend's bunker with a little girl rescued from a ruined hospital where we see a very weird shadow.

The scientists notice their earth is upside down, someone appears trapped in the electrical wiring of a station's panel, and weird phenomena starts attacking and killing everyone in a very gross way.

They finally realize they're in an alternate universe, and plot to get back to theirs by starting the machine again.

A lot of weird thriller-hide-n-seek moments later, our space heroes beam down to earth in a capsule, only to find the big brother of the Cloverfield (2007) monster doing stretches half-way-over the Philadelphia clouds.

I tried to come up with a decent explanation of what is going on in the Cloverfield "universes", but I would appreciate any official or non official side idea.

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Cloverfield & Clovefield Paradox:

At first, it appears we are dealing with two timelines and/or two universes that are set in 2028.

The timeline that the main characters are from, seem to sync up with the first Cloverfield film, making it a sequel. However, there may be a monkey wrench with that idea, because of the implication that there are 2 time periods addressed in relation to the pod with Schmidt & Hamilton and because the main character do not come from a 2028 where there are Monsters before the accelerator was used. But this relies on the idea that it was their pod falling from the sky in Cloverfield, instead of a previously believed to be satellite.

The Cloverfield Paradox features two parallel worlds that are set ten years from now in 2028, as confirmed through the decoded press release on the Tagruto website. That puts Paradox a whole twenty years after the first Cloverfield. So how could the Shepard fall into the ocean, and how could there be a monster when it’s been more than two decades after Rob’s party?

Because of how wonky the timelines are, it is possible we’re dealing with separate worlds. Maybe the Shepard has fallen in another world, a third world, which happens to be one set in Rob’s time of 2008. And the God Particle maybe released not one, but two monsters across worlds.

But even then, Eva’s husband Michael learns that the Shepard is returning to Earth’s orbit, which causes him to freak out, because, you know, there’s a monster. So what’s going on? https://www.inverse.com/article/40927-netflix-cloverfield-paradox-easter-eggs.

So Assuming the article is right with this particle Paradox there are a couple of other ways we could dance around it.

  1. The pod returning to the prime 2028 is not Schmidt & Hamilton, it's a pod that somehow escaped from the other space station before it crashed into the other Earth's ocean. After all Mina Jensen was also quantumly displaced onto the prime Sheppard Accelerator. So then, Schmidt & Hamilton returned to 2008!

  2. 3 universes/timelines and particle accelerators were actually involved and we have two pairs of Schmidt and Hamilton. One being "unknown" pair.

  3. We were originally dealing with one timeline that comes to repeat using The Sheppard Accelerator at around 2028, which results in time traveling back and creating a slightly new timeline (reset), but in one of the later iterations, the Accelerator become "quantum entangled" with at least one other and create a split resulting in two alternate timelines (mitosis) from some unknown point(s) (2008, 2028?). The first Cloverfield film then may be one of the alternative timelines, with monster being introduced into both OR it was the past 2008 in the timeline, in which the monster is now displaced in the future instead. (As mentioned in comments, there are some similarities between Molly and Mina and the thought crossed my mind that a child version of Mina (somehow now called Molly) could of also been displaced. It should be noted that "M" names are reoccurring theme from Marlena to Michelle and now Mina and Molly).

As for 10 Cloverfield Lane there seems to only be a surname reference to "Stambler" and motifs of military bunkers (which is also Bad Robot theme and goes beyond Cloverfield), and themes of parents loosing/gaining children.


BUT, what helps make things more clear is if one looks at the Cloverfield franchise like Twilight Zone films with A Dark Tower story-axle, in which there is a multiverse and where things may not be directly related, but indirectly--things are echoed. But then again, knowing how Bad Robot operates, it might be one of those things that won't make direct connectivity sense until every Cloverfield film is made and each is some puzzle piece that will eventually all fit together, as Bad Robot TV series tend to mythologically "piecemeal" their stories together.

Many speculate that the Bad Robot film currently titled, Overlord may be the forth Cloverfield film. After seeing Paradox, that seems more likely, because of what we learn about Jenson's crew (her Schmidt was believed to be an "German" agent) and the wars on "her" Earth are reminiscent to WWII and/or the Cold War--it feels like some kind of through line, at least in terms of subject matter. Overlord has been described as 'a WWII Supernatural Nazi Zombie Film', but it's possible what we have been told about the 1944 date is a cover and this is really going to be some alternate-reality WWIII film.

  • oh my there's a 4rth movie coming up? JJ.A. is gonna kill my brain. good answer indeed, seems that we have similar approaches. i also thought there are atleast 3 "earths". – CptEric Feb 6 '18 at 14:40
  • The thing that gets me though, is how Mina Jensen and the child Molly are written in parallel and kind of act the same. Thinking about certain episodes of Fringe, the thought that Molly could be (a younger) Mina getting displaced did cross my mind. Plus there was almost like an android quality to Mina at times--would be interesting to see if the next one plays with Androids, as opposed to the alleged zombies. IDK it feels like there is more here than meets the eye. – Darth Locke Feb 6 '18 at 14:42
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    Indeed, they looked very similar. but what makes me feel weird too is... what was up with the whole stuffed russian thing? that's not very paradox-ish, that's very alien.... – CptEric Feb 6 '18 at 14:45
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    interesting, thanks for pointing that out. – CptEric Feb 6 '18 at 14:47
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    thanks for the info, really interesting, hope that movie gives some more clues, but i suppose it will be an even bigger headache for us fans. – CptEric Feb 7 '18 at 19:46
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My explanation

The story begins on Earth 1(E1 from now, the 'original earth') and Earth 2(E2 from now), at the time of The Cloverfield Paradox. Both appear on it, and stuff happens. the "paradox" and "energy pulse" that causes the missalignment of the realities acts as beacon for the monsters/aliens of E1, but for what we know, not in Earth 2. The monsters of E1 are the same that appear in E3 ( Cloverfield), and that means that the cross dimensional pulse that attracts them might also have time issues.

We do know that E2 is months after E1, they are not "syncronized", and E2's starbase fell on the sea and a war between real germany, real russia and real USA happened ( no aliens ).

Given the alien presence at the end of the E1 timeline, we can consider that E1 events happens before 10 Cloverfield Lane ( or that 10 Cloverfield Lane happens after E3, or maybe after the E2 war?), who happen at the same 'reality'. Meanwhile, in E2, the world is gonna die of nuclear fallout anytime, and in E3, who is still in 2008, aliens just dropped by to say hi (maybe to E2, but missed?) to manhattan.

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