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10 Cloverfield Lane first look: 15 things we now know

More details on mysterious film from preview screening

10 Cloverfield Lane first look: 15 things we now know
29 February 2016

The unveiling of the trailer for a new Cloverfield film caught everyone by surprise when it emerged in January; no one had known a sequel to the 2008 surprise hit was in the works and, what was more, the new film seemed to be completely different to the original, with the handheld camera and found footage style noticeably absent.

As if anticipation wasn't already high, the upcoming 10 Cloverfield Lane is JJ Abrams' first project, via his Bad Robot production house, since a certain sci-fi space opera smashed all box office records at the end of last year.

With the original trailer, the subsequent Super Bowl spot and the second trailer giving very little away, we were intrigued to visit New York and see a 25 minute exclusive preview of the film - although it was stressed that the footage was taken from different parts of the film, rather than necessarily being concurrent - followed by a chat with stars Mary Elizabeth Winstead and John Gallagher Jnr, and first-time feature film director Dan Trachenburg.

Despite the fact that the movie is clearly being designed to be as mysterious as possible, we managed to dig for some extra juicy titbits about the film: are any of those many fan theories correct? How does it connect to the original film? Is anyone else in it?

Read on for 10 key things to expect: beware of very mild spoilers but, excitingly, even we don't know for sure what's going to finally appear on that screen.

10 Cloverfield Lane is in Uk cinemas from March 18

Megan and Michelle are definitely different characters

After the initial small release of information, many people believed Mary Elizabeth Winstead's character was called Megan. This is not the case. Winstead's character has been confirmed as Michelle, while Megan is referred to by John Goodman's character Howard, in the clip we saw, as he says to Michelle around the dinner table: "One day you'll be as good a cook [as her]". We know, from the various viral clues and websites that the film has been employing (more on that later), that Megan is Goodman's daughter.

Michelle appears to be a dressmaker

The first section of the new footage we saw was all-new. It showed Michelle packing a bag/suitcase in an upstairs flat in a town or city, alone in daylight. A family photo could be seen, there was a ring on a table that was given prominence and she appeared to have various implements associated with dressmaking.

There's a character called Brad and he's probably important

We then saw Michelle driving along, during which she receives a call on her phone from someone called Brad. That's it, we're afraid. It's unlikely to be Brad Pitt. But you never know.

The car crash appears to be intentional

Before being able to take the call, Michelle's car crashes with another vehicle. It's hard to say for sure, but the impression was certainly given that it was intentional. However, could her attention have been taken from the road by the phone call? Or was the call a deliberate ploy to take her attention away, enabling the crash to appear accidental? We're tying ourselves in knots here aren't we.

We have a date to work from

Is the movie pre or post, or parallel to the running of the original Cloverfield, which is commonly believed to be set in 2009? Well, we still don't know for sure, but when Michelle wakes up - in that prison-like room you've all seen in the trailers - after her car crash, there was a fleeting glance of the date on her iPhone (which immediately places it post-2009) which was....drum roll.... Monday the 7th. Seeing as it's probably an iPhone 6, which was released 19 September 2014, this means events can only have happened on 7 September 2015, 7 December 2015, or 7 March 2016. The latter date is intriguing it's only 4 days before the US release of the movie - will there be something happening on that date as part of the pre-film build up? We'll soon find out.

This looks set to be an acting masterclass from John Goodman

Everyone knows how brilliant John Goodman is. But a new scene we watched where Michelle first eats with John Gallagher Jr's character and Howard after being released from her 'prison cell' has almost unbearable tension as Goodman is calm personified, before exploding with rage when he realises Michelle is attempting to plot a break for the exit. Mary Elizabeth Winstead said about her co-star: "He can be intimidating...his voice is so incredible, the way that he can turn on a dime and suddenly have this booming, scary presence, was really kind of shocking to me - just because he can do it so easily and he can go from being jovial and sweet and soft spoken to just turning that on so naturally".

We're not quite sure what John Gallagher Jr's character is called

On the movie's wiki page, he is listed as Nate. In the clip we saw, Howard refers to him as Emmett. Meanwhile we've also heard rumours that he's called Kyle. Is this important? We have no idea, but we'll leave that for you to decide.

The Cannibal Airlines VHS is probably not important

Eagle-eyed viewers caught sight of John Gallagher Jr.'s character holding a VHS of a movie called Cannibal Airlines. We asked John about this and he said: "It's not contributory in any real way to the roll-out of the plot. It was a piece of set dressing that I became obsessed with while we were filming and I was determined to work it in to the story somehow. I'd like to see that movie someday!" Would he ever eat someone to survive? "If I was in that dire a situation, who knows what would happen, I suppose anything is possible isn't it?" Keep your distance in the event of a disaster guys.

It's not just the three of them

The movie's IMDb page has now updated to list Mat Vairo as Jeremy, Jamie Clay as State Trooper 42 and Cindy Hogan as a 'neighbour'. Only one of these - we think the latter - appeared in the footage we saw...

There are people desperate to get into the shelter

Possibly the most important moment of the new footage is the confirmation of what Michelle sees when she attempts to escape - as seen in the trailers - and reaches the door to the outside world. MILD SPOILER ALERT: the light you can see out of the shelter door window in the trailer is the headlamps of a car. Then a desperate and very ill-looking woman gets out and pleads with Michelle to let her in, as Howard begs her to ignore the woman and keep the shelter safe. The woman could be the neighbour referred to on the IMDb page - and Michelle wisely chooses not to listen, as she gets more and more angry and dementedly aggressive. Something bad has definitely happened in the outside world - has the woman been infected with something, is she experiencing the effects of a post-nuclear landscape and is desperate to escape it? Or is she a plant by Howard to convince the other two to stay in the shelter?

Mary Elizabeth Winstead's character (probably) makes it through alive

We spoke to Mary about the possibility of a sequel and she replied saying: "Absolutely, I had such an incredible time making this film... [she is] such a cool character. I would love to be able to continue this story with her... she's such a kick-ass girl, and that's something that, if I got the opportunity to do again, I'd be really happy". So, presumably, she does not die. But then, it was clear that everyone involved has been sworn to secrecy about exactly what happens, and there was no way she was going to simply say "well, I don't need to worry about a sequel as my character is six feet under!" So read into that what you will.

Swamp Pop soda is either brilliant viral marketing or they're playing along with the film

Fanatics noticed bottles of Swamp Pop soda in the trailers and decided to investigate further. They found that a website exists for the drink and one of the purchase options is a 'Long-term shelter supply', for the price of $4,813 - 4,8,1 and 3 being the numbers punched into the jukebox by Howard at the start of the first trailer. Some fans went further and ordered some in, received their drinks and also received jigsaw puzzle pieces (Michelle and Nate are seen doing a Cat Fish jigsaw in the trailer) . They went even further than this, pooled resources and the puzzle created an Eiffel Tower - widely seen throughout the trailers. More clues, or simply a company cashing in - either via simple good fortune or because they paid for the placement? You decide.

Music could be an important point of the plot

The first trailer made pointed use of I Think We're Alone Now, a 1967 hit for Tommy James and the Shondells, while the new footage we saw utilised another sixties track (sadly, Shazaming it was not really possible). Based on this, and combined with the jukebox seen prominently in the trailer, we thought music might play a pivotal role. And so it looks like proving, with director Dan Trachtenburg telling us: "The music in the movie - you haven't seen yet where it's coming from, so that's a thing... I'm not sure if there's clues necessarily, but they definitely speak to the character of the guy who built that place". So does that suggest that the shelter was not built by Howard? And if not, who, and when?

Howard is a Telemetry Analyst for a company called Bold Future

Similarly to the first film, 10 Cloverfield Lane is using the internet to provide a whole viral world for fans to immerse themselves in, if they choose. Tagruato, the Japanese drilling company that produced Slusho, that was likely responsible for unleashing the original monster on New York City, resurfaced recently on the internet and an Employee of the Month page reveals that Howard works for a subsidiary of the company called Bold Future, which works on the “design, manufacture and integration of advanced technology products for the military, arms manufacturers and space exploration organizations.” Further digging (read it all here), using the Radioman '70 clue on his t-shirt reveals a message from him to his estranged daughter Megan warning her of an impending danger.

There are not one, but two bunkers

Also revealed in the message from Howard to Megan is that there are two bunkers built -  a big one near his home, and a smaller one in Chicago. These bunkers are necessary because “THEY MAY ATTACK ANY DAY NOW, SO THERE’S NO TIME TO WASTE.” Who are they? We still don't know...