Potential '10 Cloverfield Lane' spoilers/speculation to follow...
Back in January, J.J. Abrams and Bad Robot shocked the world when they dropped a trailer for a brand new movie that no-one had heard of called 10 Cloverfield Lane. Ever since then, people have been wondering just how connected this movie will be to 2008's Cloverfield.
There are many different fan theories surrounding these movies, the most popular of which seems to be that John Goodman's Howard Stambler is keeping Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) locked up to keep her safe from the monster that appeared in the original movie - but I don't buy it, I don't buy it at all.
So, What's Really Going On?
See that guy up there? Well, not only is he an incredible filmmaker, he's also a marketing genius. When Cloverfield was announced in 2007 (it was only known as 1-18-08 at the time) the Internet went absolutely insane. Every geek I knew (and most of the ones I didn't) was poring over tagruato.jp and slusho.jp, cryptic sites built purely to market the movie, to find any tiny little detail that the guy before them may have missed. I remember people drawing outlines of monsters in the smoke trails in the original poster, and all kinds of crazy stuff. All this, just to unravel Abrams's latest mystery. This is also exactly what J.J. is playing to with 10 Cloverfield Lane.
Redditor Keylife23 claims to have seen the movie, and seems pretty convinced that 10 Cloverfield Lane wasn't at all connected to Cloverfield in its original incarnation. According to Keylife23 (MAJOR SPOILERS!), Paramount went back and ordered rewrites and re-shoots after the film was completed to make it fit within the Cloverfield universe. While many people may see this as a bit of a cash grab, it could just as easily be a way for Paramount to bring J.J. Abrams on board to tweak an average film to make it great.
J.J. Abrams isn't stupid, far from it. He knows full well that if he adds the word 'Cloverfield' to absolutely anything, fans are going to go nuts for it, and that's exactly what he's done with 10 Cloverfield Lane (and his recently teased third Cloverfield movie).
The 'Cloverfield' Anthology
I'm 100% certain that J.J. Abrams's plan is that every time you see the word 'Cloverfield' in a film you know you're about to see a fairly dark film with lots of twists and turns, and apart from that you have no idea what you're in for. Cloverfield was a monster movie, but judging by the trailers 10 Cloverfield Lane will be more of a psychological thriller, and who knows what the next one will be.
I like to think of this as J.J.'s version of the Three Flavors Cornetto Trilogy by Edgar Wright & Simon Pegg, three separate movies connected only by the supporting lead requesting a specific British ice cream from the local shop, or in this case, one word in the title. Maybe there's the idea for J.J.'s third Cloverfield film - the monster orders a soft serve from the ice cream truck.