Editorial: Our Favorite Non-Superhero Movie Character Crossovers

July 3, 2012

Character Crossovers

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!

Films of Quentin Tarantino
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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  • Oh, the Frank Martin one is AWESOME.
    LOL! What no Rob Schneider X Adam Sandler? Lame! "You can do it!"
  • Although he's not named, Terence Stamp seems to be playing his character from THE LIMEY in a few brief shots from Soderbergh's FULL FRONTAL. Also in FULL FRONTAL, Nicky Katt looks in a mirror and does some amazing facial contortions that perfectly duplicate what Soderbergh (himself) did in a mirror in SCHIZOPOLIS. Soderbergh also has companies named "Perennial" in OUT OF SIGHT, THE UNDERNEATH, THE LIMEY and likely a few more films.
  • David Banner
    ET/that race ET is of, in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Think it was around 1h29mins.
    • Scotty97
      I had forgotten about that one, good call! I think I blacked it out like the rest of the movie, lol.
  • The Douche
    What about Mortimer & Randolph from Trading Places in Coming to America. And u say u know movies. Eddie Murphy's classics
    • BenPears
      Oh man, that's a good one!
  • Crazy Legs
    Freddy vs. Jason is freaking awesome! Cabin in the Woods is garbage!
  • Yonix (Remco)
    A fun read! Thanks for the article!
  • Greg
    Todd Solondz films! Dawn Wiener from Welcome to the Dollhouse is mentioned in Palindromes.
  • I have never seen collateral, but now I will have to at least watch the beginning!
    • WillSmithSpreadsAids
      Collateral is one of Michael Mann's best movies. The opening is just one of the best scenes.
    • vin b
      good film; it's a slow-played thriller but the acting is compelling enough to carry it through. don't just watch the opening, the ending is worth the time investment
  • nasilele lisselo
    Does clothing apply? Nicholas Cage's leather jacket in 8mm,Gone In Sixty Seconds and Ghost Rider.
    • Christian O'Brien
      And Jeff Bridges's Japanese baseball jersey in Cold Feet, The Fisher King, and The Big Lebowski!
  • Lampers
    The Howling and Gremlins take place in the same universe as Jim McKrell plays WDHB reporter Lew Landers in both.
  • Jeremiah Dalton
    It's not as much of a crossover as it is a cameo, but Danny Glover can be seen briefly in a scene in Maverick interacting with Mel Gibson quoting lines from Lethal Weapon. After he robs a bank he exits saying, "I'm too old for this..."
  • Daniel Baldwin
    Richard Belzer appearing as his Law & Order character on an episode of The X-Files.
    • Paul 'Danger' Richardson
      Don't forget the genesis of his detective Munch - Homicide:Life on the street. The character has also appeared in law and Order and Law and Order- Trial by Jury (not just SVU), Arrested Development, The Wire, 30 rock and surprisingly Sesame Street. I'm sure there are more cameo's that I am forgetting about too.
      • Sammy Lane
        Yeah.I think you forgot about Richard Belzer's big cameo in a dream I had where he and I were both wearing giant pants chasing Daffy Duck.Lol!
  • Christian O'Brien
    Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man
    • Gus Mueller
      Well played. Abbot and Costello Meet the Mummy.
  • Action Movie Fanatix
    Some of these really aren't crossovers. They are sequels.
  • Swansea Till I Die!
    Really think the F&F guys missed a trick by not renaming Owen Shaw as Owen Martin
  • Jonny Bernstein
    If Michael Mann referenced another movie and/or its characters, he would not reference Jason Statham from The Transporter.
  • Dan Bennett
    Another Tarantino: In a deleted scene in Reservoir Dogs, Mr. White says he can take the bleeding Mr. Orange to see his nurse friend Bonnie, which is the same name and occupation of Jimmy's wife in Pulp Fiction.
  • TheOdore DelaMorte
    Michael Parks played the same Texas Ranger in "From Dusk Til' Dawn", "Death Proof", "Planet Terror" and both "Kill Bill" films. Seth and Richie Gecko are mentioned in a scene with Kelly Preston playing the same T.V. personality she played in "From Dusk Til' Dawn", in the movie "Curdled".




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