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.

Four More Favorites on the Next Page →    

More on: Page 1 Page 2

Find more posts: Discuss, Editorial, Lists



Oh, the Frank Martin one is AWESOME.

KateErbland on Jul 3, 2012


LOL! What no Rob Schneider X Adam Sandler? Lame! "You can do it!"

DAVIDPD on Jul 3, 2012


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.

Marc Pilvinsky on Jul 3, 2012


ET/that race ET is of, in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Think it was around 1h29mins.

David Banner on Jul 3, 2012


I had forgotten about that one, good call! I think I blacked it out like the rest of the movie, lol.

Scotty97 on Jul 3, 2012


What about Mortimer & Randolph from Trading Places in Coming to America. And u say u know movies. Eddie Murphy's classics

The Douche on Jul 4, 2012


Oh man, that's a good one!

BenPears on Jul 4, 2012


Freddy vs. Jason is freaking awesome! Cabin in the Woods is garbage!

Crazy Legs on Jul 4, 2012


A fun read! Thanks for the article!

Yonix (Remco) on Jul 4, 2012


Todd Solondz films! Dawn Wiener from Welcome to the Dollhouse is mentioned in Palindromes.

Greg on Jul 4, 2012


I have never seen collateral, but now I will have to at least watch the beginning!

Matthew South on Jul 5, 2012


Collateral is one of Michael Mann's best movies. The opening is just one of the best scenes.

WillSmithSpreadsAids on Sep 20, 2013


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

vin b on Oct 30, 2013


Does clothing apply? Nicholas Cage's leather jacket in 8mm,Gone In Sixty Seconds and Ghost Rider.

nasilele lisselo on Sep 26, 2013


And Jeff Bridges's Japanese baseball jersey in Cold Feet, The Fisher King, and The Big Lebowski!

Christian O'Brien on Oct 7, 2013


The Howling and Gremlins take place in the same universe as Jim McKrell plays WDHB reporter Lew Landers in both.

Lampers on Oct 2, 2013


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..."

Jeremiah Dalton on Oct 2, 2013


Richard Belzer appearing as his Law & Order character on an episode of The X-Files.

Daniel Baldwin on Oct 4, 2013


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.

Paul 'Danger' Richardson on Oct 6, 2013


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!

Sammy Lane on Oct 23, 2013


Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man

Christian O'Brien on Oct 7, 2013


Well played. Abbot and Costello Meet the Mummy.

Gus Mueller on Nov 16, 2013


Some of these really aren't crossovers. They are sequels.

Action Movie Fanatix on Oct 25, 2013


Really think the F&F guys missed a trick by not renaming Owen Shaw as Owen Martin

Swansea Till I Die! on Nov 25, 2013


If Michael Mann referenced another movie and/or its characters, he would not reference Jason Statham from The Transporter.

Jonny Bernstein on Jan 13, 2014


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.

Dan Bennett on Jan 13, 2014


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".

TheOdore DelaMorte on Feb 9, 2014

New comments are no longer allowed on this post.



Subscribe to our feed or daily newsletter:

Follow Alex's main account on Twitter:

For only the latest posts - follow this:

Add our posts to your Feedlyclick here

Get all the news sent on Telegram Telegram