A movie like 10 Cloverfield Lane exists almost as much in fans' imaginations as it does on a screen. Intense, treasure-hunt like marketing, secretive production and a surprise release all serves to foster a sense of mystery around a movie, making fans desperate for answers by the time they get to the theater. And, when a movie fails to provide any real answers, it leads to plenty of theories. Following in the footsteps of 2008's Cloverfield, 10 Cloverfield Lane raises more questions than it answered, prompting fans to take to various online communities to try to make sense of the film and float their theories on monsters, villains, and what connects the two films. Some theories are jokes, others intensely researched pieces of investigative journalism (this is serious business), but a few are quite interesting. Below are some of the most interesting 10 Cloverfield Lane fan theories you need to know about.
These theories are mostly based on observations made from the movie itself, but a few are based in the viral marketing strategy employed by the movie's studio, Bad Robot, before the film's opening. The elaborate marketing strategy, known as ARG — alternate reality game — included more than one fake website, a few clues and keywords, and even hidden packages for fans to find. The ARG was made popular by Cloverfield in 2008, and was back with a vengeance for 10 Cloverfield Lane. This time around, the ARG focused on Howard (John Goodman), and his attempts to reach out to his estranged daughter, Megan, who plays heavily in the film.
1. 10 Cloverfield Lane Is About Abusive Relationships
This theory isn't surprising given the fact that the trailers showed Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) waking up in a cell, chained to the wall, but it is an interesting one when fleshed out. Rooster Illusion writer Alex Gladwin suggests that, in the film, Michelle is actually fleeing an abusive relationship when she is captured by Howard, who becomes her new abuser. This theory is supported by the ARG, which included an internet post supposedly written by Howard's ex-wife, where she details abuse she and her daughter suffered from Howard and mentions a restraining order against him.
2. Emmett Is The Real Villain
There are fans who believe that Howard, who kidnaps Michelle and kills Emmett in cold blood, is actually not the bad guy in the movie because everything he told Michelle about the outside world being under attack and the need to stay underground for safety is true. Adding to this theory is the fact that Emmett tells Michelle about Brittany, the girl from his high school who went missing and, clearly, found her way into Howard's bunker. Michelle, like the audience, assumes that Howard had kidnapped her in some crazy attempt at recreating the family he lost. However, some theorists posit that Emmett is the one who killed Brittany and that's why Howard is so adamant to keep him away from Michelle. (Another version of this theory from cedean89 on Reddit also sets up the possibility that Emmett made Brittany up, and that it was Megan all along.)
3. Cloverfield Directly Precedes 10 Cloverfield Lane
Redditer ImJonJordan reportedly suggested that the attack in Cloverfield is what triggered Howard's plan to enter his bunker, not the red light Emmett described as his decision to find refuge in the bunker. It would make sense that Howard would see the attack on NYC described in Cloverfield and see it as the beginnings of a full-scale invasion, prompting him to prepare to seal himself off from the world. However, this theory also suggests a direct, linear connection between the two films when 10 Cloverfield Lane has been described by producer J.J. Abrams as a "blood relative" to Cloverfield , not a sequel.
4. Howard Thought He Was Saving Brittany
Another theory posted on Reddit provides a softer, slightly more empathetic take on Howard. Shadowofahelicopter suggests that Howard didn't just kidnap Brittany, the girl who appears to have been kept in the bunker before Michelle, but thought he was saving her as he believes he is saving Michelle. The theory: after some event that made him believe an attack was coming, Howard took Brittany and went in the bunker for two years, the length of time he thinks it will take for the air outside to be breathable again. After the two years were up, Howard realized that he had been mistaken and the world had not ended, but, unable to let Brittany go without being put in jail, he killed her instead.
5. Tagruato, Bold Futura, SEASAT, Satellites, Slusho
Most 10 Cloverfield Lane fan theories have something to do with Tagruato, the Japanese corporation first mentioned in Cloverfield, that might have had something to do with the unleashing of the monster in that film. The company came up again during the ARG marketing for 10 Cloverfield Lane as the parent company of Bold Futura, which named Howard it's Employee of the Month in February. Meanwhile, the ARG also included a message from Howard to his daughter in which he described some kind of cover up regarding alleged Soviet spy satellites — could they be the same satellites discussed in Cloverfield?
There are so many small details in both Cloverfield and 10 Cloverfield Lane, not to mention the intricacies of the marketing narratives. Fan theories have an endless supply of evidence upon which to draw on, which makes these theories incredibly complex, detailed, and completely addictive. With fan theories like this, who needs a Cloverfield Lane sequel?