Cloverfield Timeline: How ‘The Cloverfield Paradox’ Fits in the Universe

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Cloverfield 4

Fans are still trying to decipher all the clues from The Cloverfield Paradox, a new installment in the Cloverfield franchise just released on Netflix after the Super Bowl. No one was expecting the newest episode to be released when it was. In fact, most media publications expected the movie to come out in April. But we were excited to see that all our predictions were wrong and the movie is now here. But what is the timeline for the movie? How does it fit with the chronology of the rest of the movies? Read on to learn all about the chronology from the movie. This article has spoilers for all three Cloverfield movies. 

The producers of The Cloverfield Paradox haven’t come right out and shared the exact chronology of the movies in the franchise and the scenes in the movie. But based on fan theories and clues hidden in the series, we’ve come up with a best guess. And it involves multiple dimensions and timelines.

Chronologically speaking, Cloverfield happens first, then 10 Cloverfield Lane, and then The Cloverfield Paradox. But certain events in The Cloverfield Paradox actually cause a backwards causality, meaning they create time paradoxes with the future actually affecting the past. This can only be reasoned out logically by assuming we’re dealing with multiple timelines and dimensions. So, let’s take things a little differently. Note: This timeline is based on the idea that the Shepard accelerator ripped a hole in the spacetime continuum and affected multiple universes, even reaching into the past.

In the sense of cause-and-effect, the first thing to happen occurs in The Cloverfield Paradox. The world is very low on power and on the verge of a huge world war. In a last-ditch effort to create free energy, they try to start a particle accelerator in space. But just as was warned, it created a “Cloverfield Paradox” and ripped open the space-time continuum. This caused the following:

  • The space station and accelerator were sent to a parallel dimension, where they fought to get back to the prime universe.
  • The spacetime rip sent a monster back in time, either to 2008 where it wreaked havoc in Cloverfield, or before 2008 where companies experimented on it and then it wreaked havoc in Cloverfield. 
  • The spacetime rip sent a different species of monsters (i.e. aliens) to 10 Cloverfield Lane, which occurs at some point later than Cloverfield.
  • The spacetime rip also sent full-sized, huge monsters to the “present-day” world of The Cloverfield Paradox. Remember, when Michael was yelling at the end about Ava not coming, he mentioned multiple creatures, not just one.

Most fans believes that all three movies take place in different parallel dimensions. And the debris that fell from the sky on that Cloverfield newscast was NOT the pod that Ava came back in, because those occurred in two different time periods. Right now, the “multiple dimensions” theory is the one that most fans are settling on.

However, a few fans really don’t like this theory at all and want to believe that except for Earth 2 in The Cloverfield Paradox, everything else occurred on the same world. That’s tougher to believe (and doesn’t fit as neatly with Mark Stambler’s warning on the newscast). But here’s the best way to work that out, if you want to believe it:

  • The accelerator on Cloverfield Paradox, in the future, creates a rip in the spacetime continuum that allows monsters to enter now and in the past, but all within the same universe.
  • One baby monster goes back in time and appears in 2008. Or, alternatively, multiple monsters are sent back before 2008, some are experimented on, and the baby monster escapes and wreaks havoc in New York in 2008. The baby monster is killed.
  • The world is free of monsters and doesn’t think about them too much anymore, because a lot of time has passed.
  • Then, right after the accelerator’s accident, full-grown monsters of the same species appear again. But this time everything is much, much worse.

Which timeline do you prefer? Or is there a different one that you like better?

If you’d like to read a more detailed discussion about the different interpretations to the Paradox ending, along with photos and videos that you can analyze, see Heavy’s story here. Fans are debating the timelines and different explanations in the comments there. Or do you prefer to see photos of the Cloverfield monsters and compare them? See Heavy’s story here.