Overlord is the latest sci-fi from J.J. Abrams' Bad Robot, yet unlike other recent films of similar descriptions, it isn't a Cloverfield movie. This topic has been the subject of much debate over the course of 2018, with mixed communication making this Schrodinger's anthology entry.
Like previous Cloverfield projects, Overlord came to being with little fanfare. It was a low-budget sci-fi project from Bad Robot, bought by Paramount, produced with a pool of up-and-coming talent, and then sat waiting for an ambiguous, far-off release. Considering that alongside Abrams, Lindsey Weber (who had also overseen 10 Cloverfield Lane and The Cloverfield Paradox) was producer, ears immediately began to prick. Everything known about the project lined up with what little was known about the Cloverfield gameplan.
Related: Cloverfield Deserves A Proper Sequel
In January, we speculated that based on this and the then still-mysterious prospect of The Cloverfield Paradox that Overlord was Cloverfield 4; it had been made in secret for a double-whammy release from the franchise in 2018. This was seemingly confirmed by other sources. However, at CinemaCon, Abrams denied this, saying that Overlord was its own beast and instead a proper Cloverfield sequel was in development (whether this means something under the banner or a narrative follow-up to the 2008 monster movie is unclear).
Now the trailer for Overlord has dropped with not a Cloverfield connection in sight. Traditionally, the franchise entries have included their title in the trailer, confirming a loose link. As this isn't here, it seems pretty resolute that it isn't part of the Cloverfield franchise. The question, however, is whether it ever was.
Overlord was an idea originally developed by Abrams (written by Billy Ray), rather than being a Paramount-acquired script a la The Cellar (which became 10 Cloverfield Lane) and God Particle (The Cloverfield Paradox), so it's possible it was never planned to be. Of course, due to Abrams' trademark secrecy, there's a lot of unknowns that make way for speculation; it's possible that it was at one point meant to be part of the Cloverfield brand but plans were subsequently changed due to the complicated and mixed reception to The Cloverfield Paradox, a greater desire to move the series in another direction, or an attempt on Abrams part to ensure Bad Robot gave Paramount a movie outside of the franchise.
If it was once planned as a Cloverfield movie, based on what the footage released shows, Overlord would have fit nicely. It's a different beast to the monster, alien invasion and alternate dimensions stories we've got before, instead a World War II-era horror about Nazi experimentation, yet slots into the broader idea of a genre-twisting anthology. If Cloverfield is now more narratively linked, however (The Cloverfield Paradox connected all the movies together into a series of parallel universes), then it may be better to keep Overlord separate.
- Overlord (2018) release date: Nov 09, 2018