The One Thing You Missed In '10 Cloverfield Lane'
J.J. Abrams might not have directed 10 Cloverfield Lane, or Cloverfield for that matter, but as a producer on both films and the man in charge of Bad Robot, Abrams worked closely with the filmmakers on both movies. Needless to say, the films have a certain Abrams vibe to them immediately identifiable to modern audiences. Other than the tone of the film, there is one tiny detail that connects the films to Abrams' previous works, and it's the one thing you missed in 10 Cloverfield Lane : Kelvin. (I know, you thought I was going to say that Bradley Cooper cameo, didn't you?)
When Michelle pulls into a creepy gas station in one of the early scenes of 10 Cloverfield Lane, you might have noticed how she checks around for anything, or anyone, suspicious. Or how it seems like the truck pulled up behind her is somehow predatory. But, did you notice the name of the gas station? Odds are, you didn't, but don't worry, I've got you covered: it's Kelvin. If that name sounds familiar to you, then odds are this isn't your first J.J. Abrams rodeo. The name Kelvin pops up every now and again in most, if not all, of Abrams' projects, a small signature that serves as a link for all of his films.
Abrams frequently works the name Kelvin into his projects to honor his grandfather, Harry Kelvin, who, the filmmaker said in his 2007 TED Talk, bought him his very first Super 8 camera. Abrams has frequently credited his grandfather for inspiring his love of storytelling, specifically the magic of the Mystery Box — the subject of that very TED Talk. The Mystery Box idea is basically that some mysteries are never meant to be solved, some stories better left unexplained. Abrams' grandfather died in 1986, just as he was starting to gain traction in his career as a screenwriter. As he gained more creative control in his projects, Kelvin began popping up more frequently.
In Abrams' first television show Felicity (1998-2001), the main character lives in the Kelvin Hall dorm. Paul Kelvin was the name of a CIA agent in Alias (2001-2006), Kelvin Joe Inman worked in the hatch with Desmond as part of the Dharma Initiative on Lost (2004-2010), and one of the mysteries in Fringe (2008-2013) regarded a company called Kelvin Genetics. But the Kelvin name doesn't just exist in Abrams' celebrated television shows. In Mission: Impossible III, Abrams' first feature as a director, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) recieves a postcard addressed to an "H. Kelvin."
In Star Trek, the ship Jim Kirk's father dies on is called the "U.S.S. Kelvin" — a plot point referenced again in Star Trek Into Darkness. And, in Super 8 the first big monster attack happens, you guessed it, on a Kelvin gas station. Abrams even got a Kelvin reference into Star Wars: The Force Awakens . During the first meeting between Rey and everyone's favorite droid, BB-8, she tells him to "stay off Kelvin Ridge" before warning that the droid will sink in the sand.
The Kelvin gas station in 10 Cloverfield Lane is particularly fun because it links the movie to Super 8. Could the two films take place in the same universe? It's unlikely, given that the alien in Super 8 was (spoiler alert) actually good, but it certainly is something to think about.
Images: Paramount Pictures; Giphy