Note: This article contains spoilers for Life. After an eagle-eyed Redditor spotted Spider-Man 3 footage in a teaser for #Life, the theory that Daniel Espinosa's sci-fi horror was a discreet prequel to the recently announced Venom movie gained traction, appealing to the imagination of the masses.
It's a theory that made sense: The Spider-Man-villain-turned-antihero is a sentient being, and in Life the six-man crew aboard the International Space Station discovers the first signs of alien life on Mars — a cute, microscopic organism nicknamed "Calvin" that transforms into gelatinous, blood-consuming flubber.
The trouble is, the all-seeing eye of the internet has been looking in the wrong place. It's not Venom we should be worried about; the real Life sequel is in fact J.J. Abrams' 2008 found-footage monster extravaganza Cloverfield. Admittedly, this isn't confirmed, but the the two films fit together like a scientist's hand in a latex glove. Just in time for Life's home release, let's microscopically inspect the evidence.
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How Life Links To The Cloverfield Universe
What started with an ingenious marketing campaign for the original #Cloverfield movie has spawned a collection of viral Easter Eggs and online Alternate Reality Games (ARGs) that provide additional context, as well as linking last year's 10 Cloverfield Lane and the upcoming film God Particle into one clever shared universe.
Evidence of the link between #Life and Cloverfield lies within what we see on screen and the context of what happens away from it, but let's start with the biggie — narratively speaking, the unnerving and unconventional Life ending ties in perfectly with the events at the beginning of Cloverfield.
Life ends with the two survivors of the space station — Dr. David Jordan (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Dr. Miranda North (Rebecca Ferguson) — frantically departing the station in escape pods after Calvin evolves into a mass murderer. David plans to sacrifice himself by luring Calvin into his pod before overriding the autopilot function and flying into the abyss of space, while Miranda plans to return to Earth to tell the terrifying tale.
Instead, Miranda collides with space shrapnel and is flung into nothingness, while the pod we assume belongs to her — the one that survives reentry into Earth's atmosphere and plunges into the ocean — belongs to David, who was overpowered by the martian. Calvin, the sneaky bastard, changed the course of the pod and splash lands on our planet.
At the end of Cloverfield, a subtle Easter Egg shows an object flying across the sky in the distance before crashing into the sea. That object was a Japanese satellite, referred to as ChimpanzIII which, in Cloverfield folklore, was the point that the monster — already alive and living in the ocean — was "awoken." Rather than the Easter Egg depicting David's escape pod (these incidents take place in different locations), this could be a satellite taken off course by the collision depicted during Life.
This theory doesn't suggest that the object was David's pod — although to some extent, that explanation works — but claims this is an event that occurs at a later date. The monster awoken was Calvin, who had moved from the crash site in Life (said to be near Vietnam, possibly the South China or Philippine Sea) and migrated to the Atlantic.
Monsters Vs. Aliens: How Calvin And Clover Compare
Don't judge a book by its cover but do judge an alien by its color, ugly face, formation of limbs, genetic construct and habitat. Taking all of these elements into consideration, there's evidence to suggest the Cloverfield monster is in fact a mature version of Life's Calvin.
First, a brief history of the Cloverfield creature. In the ARG material, it's identified as a deep-sea creature who originates from Earth. He was discovered by a marine biologist working for Tagruato, a nefarious mining company that's said to have executed said employee who discovered the monster, with the company managing to cover up its crime until the monster attacked its sea-drilling station Chuai.
The locations add up; it's conceivable that after Calvin landed in the sea at the end of Life, he roamed the distance from Vietnam to the Philippine Sea, where he was first discovered by Tagruato. The Cloverfield monster is said to have matured through its consumption of Seabed's Nectar, a mysterious object found on the ocean floor. Calvin grows each time he digests carbon-based foods (and was revived using glucose), making the progression from his size in Life to Cloverfield completely plausible. And this would also explain how it was able to wander to New York without being detected.
On top of the creatures' mutual ability to deflect weapons — Calvin survived the Earth's atmosphere and was immune to fire; Clover was hardly affected by advanced weaponry and missiles — their genetic structure also matches up. Although the Cloverfield monster was rumored to be living for thousands of years, talking to VFXWorld Magazine in 2008, J.J. Abrams described the monster in much more Calvin-esque terms:
"It is not out there, just killing. It is confused, lost, scared. It's a newborn."
And there's one last marker between the monsters and aliens — the name, which is perhaps the biggest indicator of all. Calvin (or Kelvin) is a popular Easter Egg used by Abrams in most of his productions, including Star Trek, Lost and The Force Awakens. As the popular saying goes, if it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it is probably a duck.
Life now available on digital! You can pick up your copy on Blu-ray and DVD June 20. Is this theory clutching at straws, or is there a chance the Life sequel really is a prequel to Cloverfield?