Editorial: Our Favorite Non-Superhero Movie Character Crossovers
by Ben Pearson
July 3, 2012
With the San Diego Comic-Con coming up this very month and Marvel's The Avengers Blu-Ray release announced recently, everyone's favorite superhero team-up film is back in the public consciousness. Joss Whedon wonderfully connected six costumed heroes—okay, Hulk doesn't really wear a costume, but you know what I mean—in one giant film, and it resulted in one of the year's most enjoyable movies. But what about films that feature crossovers that aren't of the heroic and costumed variety? Discounting superhero movies, let's take a look at some of our favorite character crossovers in movies of the modern era. Read on!
The Films of Quentin Tarantino
Let's start with perhaps one of the most obvious examples. While there aren't many characters that physically make appearances in multiple Tarantino movies, most people are familiar with the trivia that the Vincent and Vic Vega are brothers, Alabama is referenced in Reservoir Dogs and stars in True Romance, and Red Apple Cigarettes show up in nearly every one of Tarantino's films. There's even a connection with Inglourious Basterds that brings the crossover connection all the way back to WWII. I love the idea of all of these characters inhabiting the same universe, so kudos to Tarantino for popularizing the concept. (Artwork for Reservoir Dogs created by Justin Reed at justinreedart.com)
Michael Keaton as Ray Nicollete in Out of Sight and Jackie Brown
Continuing with the Tarantino trend, Keaton's character is technically a member of writer Elmore Leonard's literary universe instead of a Tarantino original creation. The ATF agent popped up in Tarantino's Jackie Brown in 1997 and then appeared opposite Jennifer Lopez and George Clooney in Steven Soderbergh's Out of Sight just one year later. QT put his own spin on Leonard's distinct universe, and if we made this list a couple of years later, we might be including a few from the upcoming Jackie Brown quasi-prequel. And dipping into television for a second, there was also a little nod to Karen Sisco, Lopez's character from Out of Sight who was embodied by Carla Gugino on a short-lived ABC series, when she guest starred in an episode of "Justified" last season. What can I say? The Leonard-verse transcends the boundaries of film and TV.
Danny Trejo as Machete Cortez in Machete and Spy Kids Franchise
I was sure that Danny Trejo's knife-wielding former Federale first appeared in director Robert Rodriguez's Desperado, but even though he's essentially the same character, he's actually credited as "Navajas" in that film. The ass-kicking ladies man does appear, however, in all four Spy Kids movies (as Antonio Banderas' brother this time), as well as in Machete and its upcoming sequels. Makes sense, really: Rodriguez, Trejo and Tarantino have been buddies ever since the early days of indie film in the 1990s, and they made Grindhouse together, so it stands to reason that the two friends would share some filmmaking similarities.
Jason Mewes/Kevin Smith as Jay & Silent Bob in Fanboys & Scream 3
Kevin Smith has been one of the most divisive names in film over the past couple of years, but there must have been something in the water when he came up with Tarantino & Rodriguez in the early 90s. Like those filmmakers, Smith also created an elaborate film universe - called the View Askewniverse, based on the name of his production company - and populated it with characters like Jay (Jason Mewes) & Silent Bob (Smith himself), and referenced other works of his in each subsequent movie. (Mallrats takes place one day before Clerks, etc.) But there are a couple of really strange crossovers with these guys in other people's films. Smith & Mewes have a brief cameo in Fanboys, but bear little resemblance to their iconic pothead characters. But when the two stoners show up on a Hollywood tour during Scream 3, there's no mistaking them. I guess that means Wes Craven's Scream universe is technically in the View Askewniverse.
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