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Is This How Originally ’10 Cloverfield Lane’ Ended?

10 Cloverfield Lane

Spoilers follow. Real talk.

By now many of you have been able to see J.J Abrams’ 10 Cloverfield Lane, his blood relative to Cloverfield that was directed by Dan Trachtenberg.

I absolutely loved the taut sci-fi thriller, but wasn’t able to talk about the film’s shocking finale, which I think is where audiences are going to be divided.

10 Cloverfield Lane was originally titled The Cellar when announced in 2014. It was also part of Paramount’s now defunct Insurge label, which was created to produce 10 low budget indie genre films a year (created in 2010, only a handful of titles actually were produced).

What’s most surprising is that the plot details were revealed at the time:

“The majority of the movie takes place in an underground cellar and revolves around a young woman who wakes up after a severe car accident and fears she has been abducted. Her captor, a doomsday prepper, tells her he saved her life and that there has been a terrible chemical attack that has left the outside uninhabitable. As tensions rise, she decides she must escape regardless of the terrors that await outside.”

As of that writing, Dan Casey wrote the most recent version of the script, while Josh Campbell and Matthew Stuecken penned the original draft.

This would mean that, before shooting had even begun, all three writers had touched the original story.

10 Cloverfield Lane

Now, if we go back to this reddit post from January, there’s all sorts of alleged information about the film’s original intentions.

First and foremost, 10 Cloverfield Lane was announced under the title The Cellar and filmed under the moniker Valencia.

The reddit user alleges that it was produced under Paramount’s Insurge, and “when Paramount closed it down, this movie (shot and completed) was thrown out to the wind and orphaned.

“Paramount bought it back up and had Dan Casey and Damien Chazelle do some re-writes so that it would connect to the Cloverfield universe and they went back and did reshoots and add-ons in March 2015 in New Orleans and L.A.” adds the anonymous user who says they have the 2013 screenplay for The Cellar, which carries no mention of any monster (you can read the script’s ending right here).

Speculation at the time was that a new finale had been filmed that would include the Cloverfield behemoth, thus tying it to the Cloverfield universe.

While 10 Cloverfield Lane‘s theatrical finale doesn’t include the Cloverfield monster, it does have extraterrestrial crafts and various alien lifeforms – John Goodman’s character also implies that the chemical warfare could be part of an alien attack, leading the viewer to connect the Godzilla-sized Cloverfield to a wave of strikes.

Looking back at the film with the eyes of an editor, it’s really impressive to think someone had the idea to pigeon-hole Cloverfield into the micro genre film.

Here’s what the reddit user claims originally happened in the film’s screenplay:

“I also have the 2013 script for ‘The Cellar,’ and I see no mention of the monster anywhere in here. Pretty much every scene from the trailer is in the script and there is no mention of a monster. The climax of the movie is: 

“…after a whole movie of hints and boredom, Winstead finally finds out from the bearded guy and John Goodmen what happened to the world. Iran got ahold of a stockpile of nuclear/chemical weapons and then they detonated those bombs in major cities. The majority of the outside world is now covered with radiation and chemical fallout. They also find out that the the bunker’s ventilation system can’t support more then 2 people. Winstead doesn’t believe them and thinks that John Goodman is a pervert so she rebels. After a whole bunch of in-fighting and running around amongst the 3 of them, the bearded dude is killed by Goodman , and Winstead stabs/shoots Goodman and escapes with a hazmat suit. She steals a truck and drives down an empty highway towards Chicago. She drives for a while until she can see the city in the distance, she then gets out of the car and the camera pans around to show a devastated chicago skyline. Cut to black and credits roll”

In fact, The Film Stage literally breaks down the original script vs the final film.

Here’s there more detailed confirmation of the reddit post:

“The movie ends with something out of the farmhouse scene in Spielberg’s ‘War of the Worlds’, with Michelle escaping from Howard and getting outside of the shelter, only to find that aliens have invaded and are hunting people. She must outwit a worm-like attack dog and then do exactly what Tom Cruise did in ‘War of the Worlds’, introducing an explosive device into a biological looking orifice on an alien craft to escape from its massive tentacles. Then, after all of this, she embarks to Houston to kick some alien ass, in a “the battle is over, let’s fight the war” kind of ending cribbed from ‘Battle: Los Angeles’. In the last shot, flashes of lightning reveal alien ships in the distance, indicating the film-long struggle we just witnessed is comparatively minuscule.

In the original script, Michelle escapes the shelter and is chased through the farmhouse by Howard, who still wants to “protect” her. She blinds him with bathroom cleaner, he tells her about his tragic life (dead wife, missing daughter, treacherous Nate, etc.), and then she shoots him in the kneecap and runs away. He ends the movie alive, entreating Michelle to “be careful.” Later, after traveling down empty roads and finding no one around to help her, she crests a hill and sees the Chicago skyline, smoldering and destroyed. No explanation is given. We don’t even know what she will do next, only that she now knows that Howard, for all his oddity, was correct. The final line in the script is, “She slowly pulls down the mask on the hazmat suit before taking a breath.”

This is probably the shot in the final film of Michelle looking up to the sky and seeing birds flying around…

Even without the tacked on ending, 10 Cloverfield Lane would have been a phenomenal claustrophobic thriller. But you have to wonder if Paramount would have even released the film in theaters without the new sequences? That’s the sad state of Hollywood today – it’s franchise or bust. With that said, I do appreciate the original way of approaching a Cloverfield sequel so that we don’t see the same thing time and time again. I look forward to more out-of-the-box thinking by Bad Robot.

What do you guys think?



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COMMENTS

39 Comments
  • Peter L.

    I can see this film being a classic down the road. Really love the way it unfolds.

  • Pressly Parrish

    but the greatness of the film has no relation to cloverfield it was the killer script which was basically kept the same minus a few add ons and edits. The script itself was phenomenal, as was the final result of the film, great film, but using another script, adding on a different ending is not OUT OF THE BOX thinking, thats so in the box its ridiculous.

    • wehoaks

      This is really gonna chafe your sack for a while huh?

    • DisqusRaider

      how was it not related to cloverfield? the aliens man!

  • J Jett

    i haven’t seen the movie yet but i know all the events/spoilers from it. rather than 2 new random aliens in the final 15 minutes, they should have had a large Clovie and one or 2 of the parasites (both from CLOVERFIELD). i’m not sure why they went with 2 new entirely different aliens.

    • SugarShane333

      Why the hell would you choose to ruin such a cool movie by reading everything about it? I’ll never understand why anyone does this.

      • Greg Ranzoni

        some people just don’t watch movies for a verity of reasons, the last two films i saw in the theater where Godzilla and Star Wars and the only TV i watch is the news, i find that kind of entertainment too passive, everything is done for me,

        • SugarShane333

          I understand all that, but I’m a fan of horror movies on a horror movie website filled with fans of horror movies. I don’t understand being interested in a movie, planning to see said movie, and then doing everything possible to ruin said movie by reading spoilers. And then to complain about not liking the ending of a movie you read about just trips me right the heck out. And this movie had a very important aspect to it that completely ruins it once you know how it ends up.

          • J Jett

            oh my fucking god, CALM DOWN Shane!! it’s just s a fucking movie. do you get so upset this easily in your every day life?

    • Kaijudude

      If i had to have a guess, the Cloverfield monster was sent here to test our combat effectiveness, in which we failed miserably, Or maybe it was just the first part of this larger attack But to answer your question, the monster was a people eater . It wouldn’t be way out where there’s hardly any people.

  • From what I’ve read (and who really knows at this point) is that the movie we saw was the original SHOOTING draft. Trachtenberg states he never read the original sans scifi version of The Cellar. That said, no one was aware during filming this would be a Cloverfield movie. Apparently the only “reshoots” were the mailbox and the pay stub/letter or whatever it was. So it was reverse engineered but not as much as has been let on. Again, though, who knows? I just know the film was awesome.

  • Not a fan of either ending. Personally wish it ended with the farmhouse being fake and just another level underground. Bunker in a bunker.

    • BaronMarx

      Or drop all the exterior shots and the car accident for a third act reveal that the bunker is underwater at the site where the satellite awakens Cloverfield.

    • Booger of Love

      Or she emerges and is accosted by a group of filmmakers who yell “Surprise! You’re the star of our new reality series “Trapped!”. And then she’s doused with celebratory champagne and confetti, while Howard and Emmett emerge from the cellar and bombard her with hugs and laughter.

  • BaronMarx

    Original ending was too similar to endings of a bunch of other movies. If Goodman’s character is a liar, then the film ends like “Hidden” (2015). If not, then we get something like the ending to “The Divide” (2011).

    • zombie84_41

      yeah I loved the end to the divide because it was just a huge ass awesome paid off.

  • Erik Christensen

    I have a feeling that if they continue the “Cloverfield franchise” it will be akin to The Twilight Zone or The Outer Limits.. A dark sci-fi anthology with no connected storyline

    And as long as the films are as good as the first 2, I’ll be perfectly OK with that

    • zombie84_41

      Same have some be crazy godzilla like movies some be like 10 clover some be with aliens, some just be mind fucks I can get behind this. Make like 10 or so movies

  • Kaijudude

    Ok , i’m willing to admit i was wrong about this one. But the movie was still fantastic . John goodman acts the hell out of any role he takes and he’s phenomenal in this movie. Though i was waiting for it to be a different movie , the more the ommercials let slip , the more it looked liked the movie that as described here. But it was still pretty awesome

  • Chance LeBoeuf

    Overall, I still thought this movie was good and absolutely loved John Goodman’s performance, but I am one of those people that thought the movie would have been better if it didn’t connect to Cloverfield in some weird way. When the aliens showed up, it kinda lost me.

    • Radb707

      Seriously, I thought they were gonna pull some “She’s actually dying in the car crash, this is all a dream” shit because it was so ludicrous, and so ridiculous that she blew that ship up. Then zero explanation how this really connects, and how this contradicts some of the stuff in cloverfield and the Cloverfield tie-ins they had. Originally, the monster was something already there until it was awakened by a satellite crash OR that company digging around there. There was a whole thing with Slusho and it’s connections to the company that was also mentioned in 10 Cloverfield Lane. I guess now the story is the aliens dropped an egg or something.

    • DisqusRaider

      well its called cloverfield so probably would have been weird if they didnt connect it 😉

  • zombie84_41

    before it became a new clover movie it sounded a lot like the divide. Which is a fantastic movie.

  • RamblingBeachCat

    Great film, but that doesn’t excuse the blatantly deceptive marketing campaign…especially from a guy (Abrams) who is developing a bad reputation for ‘Kahning’ his audience.

    http://www.adventuresinpoortaste.com/2016/03/14/10-cloverfield-lane-review-the-movie-and-the-marketing/

  • I was disappointed in the movie, but had it not been named “cloverfield” I would have enjoyed it a lot more. It was a good movie, but they did use the “bait and switch” to get people to the movie and i expected something different.

    • I liked the movie, but totally agree about the marketing (Bait/switch)

    • DisqusRaider

      i disagree. they said it was a distand cousin of cloverfield and that was just about right. its ties in to cloverfield but not in the way of the 2008 release. its the same universe though just telling a different story. great idea! thinking outside the regular box everything else in hollywood follows.

      • The guy worked with satellites, he was aware of alien communications and an impending invasion, and a downed satellite was what woke Cloverfield up (Keshin comics aside, that never happened) there’s a lot of implication and ambiguity.

  • I actually love the idea of Cloverfield being an anthology brand with unrelated entries. And to be honest it’s what I was expecting ever since JJ made it pretty clear it wasn’t a sequel with his ‘blood relative’ comment.

    The bait/switch claims are a bit much. I mean, Cloverfield has a relatively niche fanbase, and Bad Robot’s marketing would’ve piqued our interest regardless.

    • DisqusRaider

      people are just dumb complaining about bait and switch. oh but it didnt have a big monster the whole movie wah wah wah

    • Namesake

      The bait/switch claims are NOT a bit much. It was claimed that this was a blood relative to Cloverfield. The vast majority of it had nothing to do with Cloverfield at all. The only similarity is that there was an alien at the end. If that’s all it takes then there are a huge number of movies that could claim to be related to Cloverfield. No, the name and claims of it being related were clearly only for the sake of selling tickets.

  • Darnell

    So my question is are we going to get a sequel worthy of the Cloverfield universe? I think 10 Cloverfield Lane is great. I did leave feeling like the movie wasn’t complete (in terms of story telling). I want to see more and I worry if we will get a sequel worthy of the ending they gave us. That ending will require a decent size budget to do correctly.

    By tying this film to Cloverfield for short term gain did they screw themselves in the long term if they are unwilling to give the proper budget to make a worthy sequel.

  • sheltomlee .

    The girl is so stupid, she never listens to anyone

    • Namesake

      She escapes an insane kidnapper in a homemade hazmat suit. That doesn’t actually sound that stupid.

  • Mike

    just saw it last night. i thought it was absolutely terrible and am out to find how others could have enjoyed it at all.

  • DisqusRaider

    all of all the shit movies out there these days and people want to complain about this movie? seriously? this movie was awesome! either ending i think would have been fine. i do like the alien ending myself though. kinda leaves it open for another movie. i mean you think that dude is crazy with his alien thoughts and she walks outside and its all nice then bam! fucking aliens scanning the fields! loved that shot. it was so twilightzonish! i dont go to the movies often anymore because of all the loads of shit being pumped in theaters anymore but this was well worth my money. the last time i was in the theater i saw sinister 2 and i was so pissed i havent been back since but seriously people complain about this? 1ST OF ALL JOHN FUCKING GOODMAN SO STFU! dude was great in this!

    hopefully they build off this movie and show the alien battles more.

    go see this movie!

    • Namesake

      No, this movie was garbage. Had it not been meant to be related to Cloverfield it would’ve been OK, but instead they lied and said that it was related when really it had nothing to do with it. They just tacked on some bullshit about aliens at the end so that they could pretend they weren’t lying about it.

  • Driver Decade

    10 Cloverfield Lane, from the apparent name of the street, should have shown more of the monster than others. I guess the cellar scenes helped keep it low-budget.

  • Andy Chia

    Budget of 15 million was used to dupe audiences into spending 75 million at the box office of which majority absolutely hated the film. Do you actually think they will make another? Probably not you can trick the audience once into paying an iMax ticket for a B movie but you can’t get us with another piece of garbage lol….

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