A curious piece of casting news has arrived, and while on the surface it may simply seem like two impeccable actors teaming up for a small-scale sci-fi film, it could actually have major franchise ramifications. Per Variety, Selma actor David Oyelowo and Beyond the Lights star Gugu Mbatha-Raw are set to lead the J.J. Abrams-produced sci-fi thriller God Particle, which has been in the works for a while now. Initially set up at Paramount’s InSurge before the specialty banner’s shuttering, the film takes place in the near future and revolves around “a team of astronauts on a mission who make a terrifying discovery that challenges all they know about the fabric of reality, as they desperately fight for survival.”
The Girl Is in Trouble director Julius Onah is set to helm the picture with Abrams and Bryan Burk producing through their Bad Robot banner, but in the wake of 10 Cloverfield Lane, speculation has run rampant that God Particle might actually be a Cloververse movie. Abrams previously said he has another idea that “connects some stories” should they get the opportunity to do it, and 10 Cloverfield Lane certainly made some allusions to the Abrams-produced 2008 original Cloverfield.
Is it possible that God Particle is another contained thriller but from a space-set point of view, potentially revealing the origin of the invasions seen in Cloverfield and 10 Cloverfield Lane? We likely won’t find out one way or another for a long time, but I personally think that’d be a swell idea, especially with these two actors leading the film.
Oyelowo, of course, was phenomenal as Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma and has shined in a variety of roles, from A Most Violent Year to Jack Reacher. Mbatha-Raw, meanwhile, broke out in a big way with stellar turns in the period drama Belle and the underrated Beyond the Lights and most recently starred in Concussion, and she also has a strong J.J. Abrams connection—she led Abrams’ short-lived ABC series Undercovers in 2010.
With a February 27, 2017 release date already set for God Particle, production is aiming to get underway sometime in the second quarter of this year. While the Cloverfield connection remains pure speculation at this point, I’ve got a strong feeling this film will exist within the Cloverfield anthology, and with Oyelowo and Mbatha-Raw onboard, that makes it all the more intriguing.