Why Has JJ Abrams’ Third “Cloverfield” Movie Has Been Delayed Yet Again?

Matthew Loffhagen
Bad Robot
(Photo: Bad Robot)

The development process for the two spin-offs from JJ Abrams’ “Cloverfield” couldn’t be more different.

“10 Cloverfield Lane” was a surprise movie; shot under a fake name, revealed as a sequel (of sorts) not long before it hit theaters.

By comparison, “God Particle” was announced as a new film in the “Cloverfield” series right from the start, then was pushed back from a February 2017 release date to December 2017, before being rescheduled for February of 2018, a full year after its initially planned release.

Now, we have another new date for this film’s release: April 20, 2018.

So why all the delays, and why haven’t we even seen a promotional photo from this movie, let alone something as useful as a trailer?

At first, it seemed like all the secrecy around this movie was classic JJ Abrams marketing. The director often seems more interested in fueling the hype for the movies that he’s involved with than actually making solid movies.

This has a habit of backfiring, as with “Star Trek: Into Darkness”, where a refusal to reveal Benedict Cumberbatch’s character’s true name ended up annoying everyone.

When the first “Cloverfield” trailer was released, the footage’s lack of genuine clues about the movie’s subject matter led to rampant speculation, with one popular fan theory arguing that Abrams had made a reboot of the “Voltron” TV series.

Again, audiences were disappointed when this turned out not to be the case.

Of course, Abrams isn’t actually directing “God Particle” – that honor goes instead to Julius Onah. One would hope that Abrams wouldn’t have too much sway over the marketing for a film that he’s only producing, but with his production company at its helm, it’s easy to see how he might be in control of the movie’s fate.

10 Cloverfield Lane
Source: Bad Robot

More likely, of course, is that “God Particle” simply isn’t ready yet. If Abrams is a big part of the movie’s development, this wouldn’t be too surprising – the director is incredibly busy at the moment, with multiple projects on the go (not least the Quentin Tarantino “Star Trek” film, and of course, “Star Wars Episode IX”).

This could be a case of Abrams’ cinematic empire straining under the weight of so many different projects, having grown too fast to be able to sustain things, especially with Abrams feeling the need to stick his finger into each and every pie on the windowsill.

Here’s hoping that “God Particle” manages to turn out well, and that Abrams’ production company doesn’t end up lost in ambition, overreaching what it is actually capable of.

For the moment, it’s probably not worth getting too excited about the next “Cloverfield” movie anyway. Until we see something concrete, this is all just another of Abrams’ classic Mystery Boxes; albeit one that may well be something of an accident.

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