A Quiet Place Prequel Is The Best Possible Move For The Franchise (For Now)

If you were to ask horror fans to list their favorite movie theater experiences in the last five years, a number of them would probably point to 2017's "A Quiet Place" as a memorable highlight. Directed by and also starring John Krasinski, the very premise of the sci-fi horror film is perfect for watching with a crowd. With highly evolved extraterrestrials on the prowl, perfectly adapted to pick up the slightest sound in what remains of humanity's presence on Earth, both "A Quiet Place" and its sequel "A Quiet Place: Part II" practically force audiences to hold their own breath alongside the ever-silent members of the Abbott family.

Although the "Quiet Place" movies already detailed much of the events that led to the ravaged dystopia in the steadily growing franchise, viewers have only received the barest hints of exactly how the end of the world happened. The first film begins with the ominous title card of "Day 89," purposefully skipping ahead in order to avoid the somewhat cliché imagery of humanity grappling with first contact and their fruitless attempts to stave off an invasion by predatory aliens. "Part II" fills in the gap by opening with a flashback to the horrific events of "Day 1," taking its time to establish a mundane day in the life of the Abbotts before the first flaming asteroid-like object ominously appeared in the daytime sky.

After the recent announcement of a third film that's set to expand the limits of the "A Quiet Place" franchise even further, taking the form of a spin-off/prequel with the very revealing title of "A Quiet Place: Day One," there's perhaps no better time to lay out what we know about the major events of the timeline and — more importantly — what the next movie(s) still need to explain.

The first 3 months

One important key to the success of "A Quiet Place" is the script's intimate and low-scale focus, zeroing in on one small nuclear family as they attempt to survive in the most inhospitable conditions imaginable. Like the recent "Planet of the Apes" trilogy, which similarly kept the action focused in a very narrow and specific geographical location, "A Quiet Place" proves that genuine tension isn't necessarily derived from scale so much as stakes. One negative side effect of this zoomed-in perspective, however, is that it can come at the cost of fleshing out the world-building.

In the first movie, we never really get to see how other people — even nearby neighbors — have dealt with the alien invasion. In the sequel, Krasinski's script does slightly widen the viewpoint to introduce new characters with uncertain and oftentimes suspicious motivations; however, while "Part II" does provide a glimpse of humanity initially falling prey to the unstoppable horde of otherworldly monsters, it's a limited look. Going back to focus on the initial invasion in a prequel is the most obvious way for the "A Quiet Place" franchise to shed some light on the events that led to the new status quo.

"A Quiet Place: Day One" seems perfectly primed to explore some major facets of the world. For instance, though we're well familiar with how the Abbotts have fared in this hellish existence, what about the rest of the human survivors sprinkled across the globe? There's no reason to assume that the spin-off/prequel movie will follow characters that we've already met, giving director Michael Sarnoski free rein to take this story in any direction, in any new location, and with any number of new protagonists that he chooses. We know how a tight-knit family could fend off alien attacks from their rural farm, but what about those stuck in exceptionally noisy cities at the time of the invasion?

The initial 90 days after first contact — the vast majority of which isn't depicted in the existing movies — provides plenty of narrative opportunities to take this series in new and unexpected directions. The mere title of "Day One" gives reason to be confident in this new spin-off.

The first year

"A Quiet Place" and "A Quiet Place: Part II" both end with new revelations about alien creatures' weaknesses, stemming from Regan's (played by Millicent Simmonds) hearing aids interfering with the aliens' ability to pick up the most minute sounds. With that development setting up a third film to see the Abbotts finishing what they started, what better approach to take in the spin-off film than to focus on how humanity first came to realize just how unstoppable these aliens are?

Notably, skipping over the events taking place between three months into the invasion (when the Abbotts lose their youngest child to the aliens) and roughly a year later (when the present-day storyline of "A Quiet Place" begins) means viewers never actually see the Abbotts first figuring out the clever solutions — like laying down strips of noise-dampening sand in and around the woods of their home, or rigging their property with all sorts of defensive measures (such as those visually distinctive red lights), or finding ways to kill the creatures despite their impenetrable, armor-like skin. Far more than simply serving as examples of unique set dressing or neat background details, these examples all add crucial layers of believability and immersion to an otherwise unbelievable scenario.

With "A Quiet Place: Day One," the creative team has no shortage of opportunities to show how desperate survivors like the Abbotts first came up with these and other never-before-seen methods to defend themselves or actively fight back against the monsters invading their world. Just because the Abbott family has usually been depicted on the defensive throughout their movies doesn't mean other stories told in the "A Quiet Place" world couldn't follow more active protagonists, ready and willing to bring the fight to the aliens' doorstep.

This only scrapes the surface of all the possibilities that "Day One" (and, possibly, other movies down the line as well) could hold in store for viewers, eager to see one of the great original franchises in recent years continue to thrill and scare us in equal measure.