What if I told you that Deadpool and Wolverine existed in the same universe? Oh, you knew that… Ok,what about… oh, you knew about Supergirl and The Flash too? Damn.
Expanded universes are so hot right now. Marvel and DC have been at the forefront of this movement with their cinematic universes and crossover shows, and it’s working. Fans flocked to theatres for movies like The Avengers, and shows like Arrow have already had 2 spin-offs. But it isn’t only comic books that have been doing the expanded universe thing. Rapunzel from Tangled made a cameo in Frozen, and Urkel popped up on pretty much every sitcom in the ‘90s. What I mean is that shared universes are not a new concept – it’s actually very, very old. Crossovers date back to radio shows from the ‘20s and books from the 1800s. Some popular characters were created strictly to add depth to or continue a story universe that has lost steam. For example, the Green Hornet was written to be The Lone Ranger’s grandnephew when writers realized that the Ranger was a bit antiquated.
Here is a list of 10 Shared Universes that you may not have known about.
10. The Pixar Theory
It’s common knowledge that the Pizza Planet truck has forced its way into every Pixar movie (except The Incredibles). The truck tries to make sure its presence is felt throughout time appearing before recorded human history (The Good Dinosaur), and after the Earth is desecrated (Wall-E). However, the pizza truck is not the only thing that connects the movies to one another.
In Monsters Inc. Boo has Jessie the cowgirl from Toy Story 2, Riley from Inside Out has memories of Carl and Ellie from Up, and a dentist’s patient is reading a Mr. Incredible comic book in Finding Nemo. There are a lot more if this still isn’t proof enough. In fact there’s an entire theory that discusses how all the movies create one single timeline. With or without this timeline, it seems apparent that all the lovable characters reside in the same universe.
9. Star Wars and ET
It’s not much of a reach that two movies focusing on aliens might be linked. Pair that with the fact that the directors of the movies are old friends, and there’s no surprise about it. It all started in 1982 with one small promise. Steven Spielberg, director of E.T., was approached by his friend George Lucas asking if he would include a Yoda cameo in the film. The reason was to promote Return of the Jedi, which would be coming out that next year.
This cameo turned into a little boy in a Halloween costume that E.T. tried to follow while chanting “home, home, home.” Some people made the assumption that this meant E.T. recognized Yoda as a species from “home.” Lucas confirmed this when he reciprocated the favor in The Phantom Menace by having aliens who bear a striking resemblance to E.T. in the senate meeting. Over time, the aliens who look like E.T. were confirmed to be of the same species, the Asogians, and were represented at the senate meeting by Senator Grebleips (Spielberg backwards). Fans have given this race an entire history fitting them seamlessly into the Star Wars universe. It’s incredible how a small promise between friends turns into something so complex, but completely insignificant.
8. Friends and Seinfeld
Crazy to think that two shows about a group of friends in New York could both take place in the same universe, right? Well, actually the opposite of crazy – it’s down right normal. The two shows were on the air together for 4 years without any member of the two gangs meeting each other. While they have never met each other, Kramer met Paul Buchman and that seals the deal. How?
Well… Paul Buchman, played by Paul Rieser on the NBC sitcom Mad About You, is seen giving Kramer his old apartment and telling him about the comedian across the hall (Jerry). So that proves Mad About You and Seinfeld are in the same universe, but who cares about that. Well, Paul and his wife Jamie (Helen Hunt) like to eat at a restaurant named Riffs. Riffs employs a rude, crude, and blonde waitress. That waitress’s name? Ursula – Ursula Buffay, Phoebe’s twin sister. Lisa Kudrow was playing Ursula at Riffs before Friends was even on the air. Helen Hunt even comes into Central Perk and mistakes Phoebe for Ursula as a nod to the joke. To summarize, Lisa Kudrow getting a bit role as a waitress on Mad About You means that Friends and Seinfeld are part of the same universe.
7. The Tarantino Universe
Much like Pixar, a series of constant Easter eggs proves that all of Quentin Tarantino’s movies share a universe. Nothing clarifies this better than the running “product placement” of Red Apple tobacco. Butch buys their cigarettes in Pulp Fiction, Django rolls his own cigarettes with it in Django Unchained, and Minnie doesn’t smoke it at all in The Hateful Eight. That’s only 3 examples, but most Tarantino films feature the tobacco in some form.
Besides the fake product placement, the movies go out of their way to link with each other. For instance, The Bride is buried in the grave of Paula Schultz in Kill Bill. Judging by the dates on the grave, it is believed that the wife of Dr. Schultz from Django was the original dweller of the grave. Also, did you know Vincent Vega from Pulp Fiction is the brother of Mr. Blonde from Reservoir Dogs, or that the character Sheriff Earl McGraw appears in three different movies. The most telling evidence is that unlike the Pixar universe, the creator backs the Tarantino-verse. Quentin himself declared that they all share the same universe as far back as 2001 and has made it a point to hide clues in each movie since.
6. The Powerpuff Girls and Samurai Jack
The creator may have said that he never intended for the two shows to be in the same universe, but they totally are. Ignoring that they have the same animation style, Jack visits a destroyed and antiquated version of Townsville at one point in his show’s run. Some argue that it may not have been Townsville, but the city really resembles it and there’s even an almost identical billboard advertising dog food that appears in both.
A popular take on the timeline is that Aku, years after banishing Jack to the future, has taken over and recognizes Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup as legitimate threats to his rule. He sends monsters intending to destroy the girls before they reach their full super human potential. The girls, being in kindergarten, would be completely unaware of Aku’s rule halfway across the earth, and seeing that the mayor is a nincompoop and the professor is kind of an idiot (who can create human life) it’s not surprising that Aku is simply never mentioned.
5. G.I. Joe and Transformers
There have been some rumors of late that the next Transformers movie will feature the newest incarnations of G.I. Joe. You know, the one with The Rock. This has fans up in arms crying about cash grabs and destroying their childhoods and blah blah blah.
G.I. Joe and Transformers have always been in the same universe. Besides the fact that the toys were both Hasboro products, the cartoons have had a few crossover episodes and Marvel has been creating comic books about the two joining forces since 1986. And don’t forget about reporter Hector Ramirez (a parody of reporter Geraldo Rivera) who was seen numerous times in both cartoons. The two are as connected as X-Men and The Avengers, as in they should have already been in movies together (lookin’ at you, Fox).
4. Daredevil and the Ninja Turtles
It turns out both got their powers in the same traffic accident. Small world, right? When Matt Murdock was blinded by acid that fell from a truck, a group of four turtles were living in the sewer that the leftover acid leaked onto. The four sewer-turtles began mutating and in the next few years, the turtles become the teenaged superheroes that saved the world. This all happened while Matt Murdock was out becoming a lawyer, long before he was Daredevil. In other words, Turtles become heroes faster than people can. Could this mean that the Turtles may be seen in an upcoming Avengers movie? No. There are no other official crossovers between the turtles and anyone from the Marvelverse. Basically this means that turtles just don’t give a s*** when aliens attack the city they live in. Jerks.
3. Machete and Spy Kids
Robert Rodriguez puts Danny Trejo in pretty much anything he can. Knowing this, it isn’t too surprising to see Trejo playing the gruff uncle with a soft side in Spy Kids or to see him as the hyper violent Mexican federal in Machete. What is surprising is when you find out that they are the same dude.
According to an interview, when Danny and Robert first met, Rodriguez immediately thought “[Danny] should be like the Mexican Jean-Claude Van Damme or Charles Bronson, putting out a movie every year and his name should be Machete.” He gave him the job in Spy Kids with that plan in mind and then apparently forgot about it until 2007 when he brought Machete back in Grindhouse. He loved the character so much that he went on to write two more films.
2. The Wire and The X Files
The two seemingly have nothing in common. One is about two FBI agents solving paranormal mysteries, the other is a crime drama about how messed up Baltimore is. The key to this link is a man who once worked for the Baltimore police, but has since moved to New York: Detective John Munch. Munch is found in an episode of both shows referencing his time spent on Homicide: Life on the Street. While “Munch” has been in a lot of shows, over 10 actually, he’s mostly portrayed as a fictionalized version of the character (Sesame Street Munch, for example). These two cameos both reference specifics from Munch’s time in Baltimore, showing that he is the same man. It’s too bad we didn’t get to see the aliens in The Wire. In all honesty, Munch’s total amount of cameos and mentions could lead to speculation that shows including 30 Rock, Secret Life of an American Teenager, Arrow, and Hawaii 5-0 are in this shared universe, but there isn’t enough time to put all those strings together. Screw you Munch and your travels across the small screen.
1. Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead
The theory goes that Breaking Bad is the prequel to The Walking Dead. It seems pretty implausible, seeing that Breaking Bad is a fairly realistic portrayal of a man losing himself in the drug business, while The Walking Dead is about people dealing with the undead during a zombie apocalypse. However, upon hearing the theory, fan interest level went through the roof as they began to tear through episodes of their favorite zombie and meth filled shows to see if they could find any direct connection between Walt and Rick… and the fans did it.
While most of the Easter eggs that “prove” this theory are simply props that were used on both shows (Walt’s Dodge Charger, Gale/Milton’s coffee maker), Merle’s old drug habit seemingly proves that the shows are parts of the same world. In a very un-Darryl-like moment, Darryl opens up to Beth about his brother Merle. He reminisces about an old drug dealer that his brother once had, a dealer who sounds an awful lot like Jesse Pinkman. Darryl even makes sure to specify that the dealer called him “b****” as Jesse is known to call everything.
Not enough? Well, in season 2, before the theory was a thought for most people, Darryl finds Merle’s old drug stash, which was filled with blue meth – Walter White’s meth, the only blue meth to ever exist in history. Mixing the stash with the description of Jesse in The Walking Dead may not prove that Breaking Bad is a true prequel, but it is proof that the two are in the same universe.