Editorial: Our Favorite Non-Superhero Movie Character Crossovers

July 3, 2012

The Characters of Nicolas Winding Refn's Pusher Trilogy

The upcoming Swedish film Snabba Cash (aka Easy Money) shares some thematic elements with Nicolas Winding Refn's Pusher crime trilogy about the harsh life on the streets as a drug dealer. Refn reportedly bailed on Danish film school to make this first movie, and you can absolutely see the seeds planted for his eventual masterpiece, Drive, in his visceral and violent style on display here. Mads Mikkelsen plays a side character in the first movie, but becomes the lead in the second film, and a drug lord name Milo—who appears in all three films—is the central character in the third entry. Seems like The Bourne Legacy is taking a page out of this book, expanding a previously established world with some of the same characters (Joan Allen, Albert Finney, etc.) and a different lead (Jeremy Renner).

Alien vs Predator
The Races of Aliens and Predators in Alien vs. Predator Films

Fanboys were clamoring for this one in magazines (remember those?) and fan-zines for years before the internet even existed, and when this film finally came together, the results were… a bit disappointing. If memory serves, there weren't too many iconic fights between the two behemoths, and I know nobody was expecting a great story, but by taking two R-rated franchises and making this combo into a PG-13 flick, they really cut the legs out from under themselves before they even got started. I just wish Danny Glover from Predator 2 could have showed up somehow. (And yes, while we're on the subject, technically Prometheus could go in this category, but let's leave that one alone for a while. Seems like it's taken enough of a beating.)

Freddy Kruger and Jason Voorhees from Freddy vs. Jason

Horror fans were probably scanning this list from the start in hopes to see this one mentioned, although like Alien vs. Predator, the years of anticipation for this movie resulted in a pretty mediocre movie. The ending for Freddy vs. Jason was one of the most frustrating things I remember from that year of moviegoing, leaving me with another "all that… for this?!" response. Backtracking through their individual franchises with numerous sequels of their own, I think it's best that these characters stay there and never meet again… unless it's in something awesome, like The Cabin in the Woods 2. Only time will tell.

Jason Statham as Frank Martin from The Transporter in Collateral

I'll admit this one is stretching it, but it's also one of the most fun to think about. Michael Mann's Collateral is one of my favorite movies, and when Statham shows up in the opening scene and makes a drop with Tom Cruise's Vincent character, it blew my mind to think that this might be his Frank Martin from the Transporter series dropping off one of his famous packages. If you'll recall, his character had a strict set of rules, and rule number three was "never look in the package." So I'm guessing this crossover took place chronologically sometime before the events of the first Transporter, since Martin seemed to soften up a bit after that. He had a reputation as one of the best in the business, someone who would deliver any package, anywhere, with no questions asked. Maybe he made a quick trip to Los Angeles before heading back to the French coast. In my mind, Collateral will always have a special guest appearance by Frank Martin.

Honorable Mentions: A recent piece on SlashFilm pointed me to a series of films called The Trilogy, which I didn't include in this list because I haven't had time to watch them yet. (They sound really cool, though.) Plus, there are more obvious examples, like the Pizza Planet truck that appears in almost every Pixar film (including Brave!), and R2-D2's cameos in movies like Raiders of the Lost Ark and J.J. Abrams' Star Trek. These are our favorites though. Any more we left out? Reply below! Favorite crossovers?

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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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