Now that Netflix has released the third installment in the Cloverfield franchise, fans have a lot of questions. The Cloverfield Paradox was advertised as explaining how the monster began. But did it really? Read on for explanations about that ending, along with photos of that ending scene. This post will have major spoilers for The Cloverfield Paradox, so only read on if you have already seen the movie in its entirety or if you don’t mind having the twist at the end spoiled for you.
Explaining the Dimensions & Earth 1 vs. Earth 2
The entire movie was a lesson in time dimension jumping and paradoxes created by unproven tech. The movie took place in the future, when the world was on the brink of losing power, everyone was on the brink of starving, and countries were on the edge of launching a major world war. It was never explained to us what caused the problems, but they were major. At the center of everything was the loss of energy and power. People were siphoning off power just to try to survive (that’s how Ava Hamilton’s children died.) Their last hope is the Shepard Particle Accelerator on board the Cloverfield Space Station. If they can get it started, they can create free energy and essentially save the entire world.
When they finally get it to work after almost two years, they’re thrust into another dimension (we’ll call it Earth 2.) This dimension has been in a world war for 14 months already and has seen debris from the space station fall into the ocean. This is the Cloverfield Paradox that they were warned about by Mark Stambler — the possibility that so much energy and the collision of the Higgs Boson could cause a rip in the fabric of spacetime. The Cloverfield Station from Earth 2 was destroyed and everyone on it (except for Mina, who is trapped on Station 1.)
Station 1’s very existence in the Earth 2 timeline is causing some major problems with how physics works, which is why things are getting teleported strangely, worms are ending up in people, Mundy lost his hand because he started merging with a wall, and all sorts of crazy stuff. It’s not going to fix itself and they have to get back to Earth 1, their universe. But before they leave, they send the plans for the station back to Earth 2’s government. They figured out what caused their station to skip dimensions and go unstable: they didn’t account for condensation and needed to ventilate the ship. Tam figured it out, but died in the process.
The Monster at the End & How it Ties to Everything
At the very end of the movie, Hamilton and Schmidt were able to bring the station back to Earth 1. they’re heading in a pod back to the surface, but can’t be warned in time about the situation on the ground. Whereas Earth 2 was embroiled in a terrible world war, Earth 1 may actually be worse off. It has a monster problem. We see the pod landing right next to a giant monster. Here’s a photo of that monster from the end:
This monster is much much bigger than the monster from Cloverfield. This monster is so big that it literally breaks through the cloud cover. It’s been explained that the monster from Cloverfield was actually a baby. So fans are guessing that this monster is either that monster grown up or its mother (or just another adult version of the same monster.)
The simplest explanation for the ending of The Cloverfield Paradox is that the Shepard Accelerator did create a rip in the fabric of space-time. This rip pulled in the Cloverfield monsters from another dimension and, just as we were warned about at the beginning of the movie, sent monsters to different dimensions and even sent some backward in time. So this movie wasn’t a prequel in the traditional sense of the word, but it was an origin story for the monsters and how they appear in different timelines.
By accepting this as the simplest explanation, we don’t have to try to figure out a way to fit this movie into the Cloverfield timeline specifically. Cloverfield takes place in 2008, and 10 Cloverfield Lane takes place sometime later when the world is already fighting the monsters. But The Cloverfield Paradox obviously takes place far into the future. The technology (an accelerator in space and advanced 3D printing) just doesn’t exist in 2008 when Cloverfield takes place. And the Cloverfield movie never makes mention of a big energy shortage or people dying and possible war. So we know that TCP takes place in the future. If we believe that the Hamilton’s pod lands in its correct timeline, then Hamilton’s pod would also not be the debris we saw falling in the background of a news report during Cloverfield. (This might just be a red herring.) Instead, there are a couple possibilities:
- Earth 1 from The Cloverfield Paradox is in a different dimension than the Cloverfield Earth. The monsters are the same species, but TCP created the spacetime rip that sent them into different dimensions and timelines, including into the 2008 world of Cloverfield and into the present-day world of TCP.
- The Cloverfield Paradox takes place in Cloverfield‘s future. They killed the monster in Cloverfield already and the Earth moved on. Maybe that big battle actually helped create the energy shortage they have now. The monsters didn’t reappear until Michael saw one at the hospital when he was saving Molly.
- Similar to Explanation #1: The Cloverfield world is in a different dimension than The Cloverfield Paradox world, but the accelerator sent monsters to both dimensions. For Cloverfield‘s dimension, the accelerator sent monsters back in time long before 2008. As Tyler pointed out in the comments below, this would also fit into storylines that suggest companies have been experimenting on these monsters for quite some time, even before the baby monster appeared in the Cloverfield movie. He wrote below: “There’s actually a lot of info suggesting drilling companies and the Slushie company knew about them and were trying to harvest/experiment on them), thus dividing the time line at that point: so we have the TCP time line post circa 2008, and the Cloverfield time line.” (Read his comment below for more details.)
One of these is likely the best explanation for the ending, revolving around the idea that the monsters were thrust into these Earth’s dimensions thanks to the Shepard accelerator. Remember, the monster from The Cloverfield Paradox was much, much larger than the one from Cloverfield. So large that it broke through the cloud cover. Just compare these two photos. First is the monster from TCP, as it broke through the clouds. Remember, it was HUGE here, towering over the land:
And here it is from Cloverfield. Same monster, still huge, but not nearly as large:
It’s the same monster, but the one in TCP is an adult (or the previous one all grown up, depending on if you believe TCP and Cloverfield took place in the same dimension or not.
But What If You Want to Believe Hamilton’s Pod Was the Debris Falling in ‘Cloverfield’?
If you absolutely must believe the debris we saw falling in Cloverfield was from the space station or Hamilton’s pod, then you could fit that into the timeline by reasoning that the spacetime rip caused pieces of the station (or Hamilton’s pod) to travel back in time and land during that Cloverfield newscast. The landing of the pod might, in turn, have woken a second, much larger monster than the baby. This was the monster that we saw at the end of The Cloverfield Paradox. Battling this monster would have led to a battle that would cause the severe energy shortage in the future.
That still leaves a few unanswered questions about Michael’s experiences seeing the monster at the hospital, which is why I prefer the simpler explanation in the section above. The monsters all originated from a spacetime rip created by the particle accelerator, which sent repercussions not just to dimensions in the present time, but also into the past. (Note: Some alert fans have said that the debris we see falling in Cloverfield and in the video above is a Tagruato satellite called ChimpanzIII. This would confirm that Ava’s pod was not the debris seen falling. The weather also appears very different in both scenes.)
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What do you think about this explanation and these theories? Let us know in the comments below.
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