There’s nothing like seeing two characters from completely different universes cross paths. Here are some of the most epic crossovers in the history of TV and film.
Breaking Bad & Better Call Saul
Not only did some of the show’s main characters first appear in the original series (Saul Goodman, Mike Ehrmentraut, and Gustavo Fring,) but the show peppers in the characters who maybe weren’t so integral to the story of Breaking Bad, and have since had a much more prominent role in its prequel.
Unbreakable & Split
Some crossovers aren’t so clear until the very end of the movie. One fine example of that is M. Knight Shamayalan’s movie Split, which stars James McAvoy as a man with 23 different personalities. While the movie stands on its own two feet, Bruce Willis’s cameo at the end makes it crystal clear that Split is actually part of a universe already established in Shamayalan’s earlier movie Unbreakable. A third movie, Glass, is scheduled for release in late 2018 and will be the third installment in this “trilogy.”
Batman & The Green Hornet
Look, it shouldn’t come as too much of surprise that Batman and The Green Hornet would appear in the same TV show. After all, they are from the same comic book company. However, back in the ’60s when Batman was a popular series at the top of its game, there was also a show dedicated to his Green friend. Long before the advent of expanded universes and crossovers, this was one of the early examples that ultimately paved the way for the MCU and Arrowverse.
New Girl & Brooklyn Nine Nine
One of the most recent crossovers on this list saw two of the most popular sitcoms in recent memory lock horns in one particular episode. When Zooey Deschanel’s main character from New Girl goes on vacation to the other side of the country, she ends up being recruited by Brooklyn Nine Nine‘s very own Jake Peralta (played by Andy Samberg) to help him with a case. However, the end result was unsatisfactory as far as the critics were concerned.
The Simpsons & Family Guy
For many, Family Guy is the natural successor to The Simpsons, despite the fact that both are still running ’til this very day. Fans of both animated sitcoms were frothing at the mouth to get a crossover episode. In 2014, that’s exactly what they got. The episode “The Simpsons Guy” saw the Griffins crash at Homer’s home when their car brakes down just outside of Springfield. While the episode received mixed reactions from critics and fans alike, it was certainly an “experience.”
Star Trek – The Originals & The Next Generation
When fans found out that Gene Roddenberry was working on a second Star Trek show, The Next Generation, they were foaming at the mouth for an eventual encounter between the original characters and the new ones. This is where the episode “Unification” comes into play. After spending most of the episode trying to find the Romulan Empire, Jean-Luc Picard and his team finally come into contact with the one and only Spock. It is one of the most memorable TV crossovers of all time.
It can be difficult for casual fans to keep up with all the CSI spin-off series that have come out over the years. However, when the showrunners decided to bring three of the shows together, it seemed to make a bit more sense. In CSI: Trilogy, David Caruso from CSI: Miami, Gary Sinise from CSI: NY, and Laurence Fishburne from CSI all came together for a three-part saga. It was the very first time in the show’s history that all three main series were brought together.
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers & Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Back in the early ’90s, many kids held either the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers or the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (or both) very close to their hearts. Then, during the popular series Power Rangers In Space, a special episode, aptly titled “Shell Shocked,” revolved around the encounter between the two groups. Eventually, the Rangers and Turtles are required to team up in order to defeat the evil Astronema. The Turtles even get to go into space!
Buffy The Vampire Slayer & Angel
While Angel was a spinoff of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, there were numerous occasions when both shows crossed over. Being on the same network meant that the two characters could guest appear on both shows with relative ease. One particular crossover episode that stands out is “I Will Remember You,” which saw Buffy travel to L.A. to visit Angel. Despite the emotional reunion between the two, the Oracles end up erasing the events of the meeting.
The Fresh Prince & The Jeffersons
This is one of those rare crossovers that involves two shows from completely different eras. While The Jeffersons was extremely popular during the ’80s, it wasn’t until the early ’90s that The Fresh Prince of Bel Air burst onto the scene. So when Sherman Helmsley reprised his role on Will Smith’s popular sitcom, it was a true blast from the past for nostalgic fans of the show. Despite the crossover, it was by no means jarring. In fact, Jefferson fit perfectly into the show.
While it has put together a vast array of movies, each with their own unique flavor, Pixar has managed to tie together all of their flicks with a number of a cool Easter Eggs. For example, John Ratzenberger, who is considered by Pixar to be their lucky charm, has appeared in every single movie, playing a number of different characters. Also, for some strange reason, the fictional Pizza Planet has reappeared in a number of Pixar flicks, starting with Toy Story and, most recently, Incredibles 2.
Looney Tunes & Disney
One of the huge questions surrounding animation is the following: “Why haven’t the Looney Tunes and the iconic characters of Disney ever starred together in anything?” Well, the answer to that question is simple: Who Framed Roger Rabbit? In this remarkable movie, Robert Zemeckis was able to get both studios on board and secured the rights to ensure that both sets of characters could have appearances in it. Even classic voice actors such as Mel Blanc, Mae Quetsel, and Joe Alaskey were involved.
Trading Places & Coming To America
While Eddie Murphy’s classic comedies Trading Places and Coming To America may be set in the same universe, he plays completely different characters in each movie. After they go bankrupt in Trading Places, The Duke Brothers are revealed to be homeless in a scene in Coming To America. During his date, Akeem walks past them and gives them a wad of cash to help them get back on their feet. Upon realizing how much money he was given, Randolph famously says, “Mortimer, we’re back!”
Supernatural & Scooby Doo
In what is potentially the oddest crossover on the entire list, long-running hit TV series Supernatural exceeded its own surreal standards when Sam and Dean Winchester traveled to the animated world of everyone’s favorite canine detective, Scooby Dooby Doo. The aptly titled episode “Scoobynatural” came in the show’s 13th season but was a huge hit nonetheless. Matthew Lillard, Kate Micucci, Frank Welker, and Grey Griffin played the voices of the classic gang and to everyone’s surprise, the episode was popular with both critics and fans alike.
Alien vs. Predator
Some crossovers seem so far-fetched that the viewers need to suspend their disbelief and just enjoy the ride. When 20th Century Fox decided to try something new, they combined two of the most iconic sci-fi monsters of the ’80s: the Xenomorph from the Alien franchise and the Predator, creating Alien vs. Predator in the process. Many critics felt it was a throwaway movie, undermining both franchises. Nevertheless, people kept coming back for more, and three years later, the sequel Alien vs. Predator: Requiem was released.
Quentin Tarantino’s Cinematic Universe
Quentin Tarantino has a neat theory of how all of his movies tie into the same universe. According to the popular filmmaker, some of his movies are set in the same world, while others are part of the “cinematic” world within it. “So when all the characters of Reservoir Dogs or Pulp Fiction, when they go to the movies, Kill Bill is what they go to see. From Dusk Till Dawn is what they see,” he said.
He-Man & She-Ra
While she very much stood on her own feet as a compelling character, She-Ra was first introduced in the He-Man spin-off The Secret of the Sword. For the majority of her appearances on TV, She-Ra rarely shared scenes with He-Man. This made their encounters extremely exciting for viewers and She-Ra certainly appealed to the female audience. It is eventually revealed that She-Ra is actually Princess Adora, the twin sister of He-Man who was separated from him at birth and sent to another planet.
Michael Jordan & The Looney Tunes
Since the 1930s, the Looney Tunes have been some of the most iconic characters in the world of animation. So when Warner Bros decided to bring them to the big screen back in the ’90s, they thought of a great idea – make a crossover between Bugs Bunny and co. with one of the most famous people in the world at the time – Michael Jordan. Despite not being the greatest movie ever made, it was a huge hit at the box office, nonetheless.
Hercules & Xena
Some crossovers are merely a result of one show being a spinoff of another. This was exactly the case whenever Lucy Lawless and Kevin Sorbo starred together as Xena and Hercules, respectively. In reality, Lawless originally landed the role and played Xena on Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. Due to the popularity of both the show and the character, Renaissance Pictures greenlit her very own spinoff series in the form of Xena: Warrior Princess. The show ran for an impressive 134 episodes.
Wonder & Star Wars
When the charming family movie Wonder came out in 2017, moviegoers fell in love with Jacob Tremblay’s terrific performance. He plays Auggie, a boy with Treacher Collins Syndrome who has the biggest heart in his entire school. Being a huge fan of all things Star Wars-related, the studios behind the movie were able to secure the rights for cameos of classic characters such as Chewbacca and The Emperor! While they might not necessarily be in the same universe, it is one of the best crossovers in recent memory.
King Kong vs. Godzilla
Long before the advent of blockbusters, there were movies about gargantuans such as King Kong and Godzilla. The former first came out in 1933 and had a considerable impact on Hollywood moving forward. Then there was Godzilla, which hailed from Japan and eventually became a hit overseas too. Less than a decade later, a Japanese studio put together what can only be described as the most audacious crossover of all time: King Kong vs. Godzilla. It was soon translated and re-edited for American audiences.
Ready Player One
The story of Ready Player One‘s adaptation from a novel to a motion picture is fascinating. Steven Spielberg landed the role as director after enjoying the way that some of his classic movies were utilized in the source material. However, he didn’t want to be accused of artistic vanity and made sure to use characters from a variety of intellectual properties such as The Iron Giant, Back to the Future, and Last Action Hero. Spielberg did end up peppering in his T-Rex from Jurassic Park though.
When you are putting together an animated movie about arcades and video games, it makes perfect sense to feature some high-profile cameos from the video game world to add some quality nostalgia to the occasion. Some of the classic video game characters to appear in the hit movie include Bowser from Super Mario Bros., Doctor Eggman from Sonic the Hedgehog, and Blanka from Street Fighter, to name a few. Heck, even Pac-Man makes a guest appearance at one point in the movie.
Freddy vs. Jason
While Alien vs. Predator was certainly the Hollywood crossover for Sci-Fi fans, Freddy Vs. Jason was the horror industry’s answer. Combining two of the most iconic villains of the genre, how could a man with knives for fingernails going up against a machete-wielding maniac with a hockey mask not be a hit? The brutal truth was that both franchises had been dead and buried for a while and this was one last-ditch attempt to revive both of them with one movie.
Marvel’s The Avengers
When Kevin Feige produced Iron Man back in 2008, the general public wasn’t fully aware of the vision he had moving forward. His plan was to build a cinematic universe so vast and full of Marvel’s classic characters that eventually, everything would tie together. After Marvel Studios released individual movies for the likes of Thor, Captain America, and The Incredible Hulk, this culminated in a huge crossover movie in the form of The Avengers. A decade and over 20 movies later, the MCU is still dominating the box office with its crossover phenomenon.
Family Matters & Full House
There is no denying that Steve Urkel was a fan favorite on the hit sitcom Family Matters. So when he crossed over onto the equally popular sitcom Full House, fans were in for big surprise. In the episode “Stephanie Gets Framed,” Steve gives Stephanie Tanner some advice to help with her anxieties. Amazingly, Full House isn’t the only show that Steve Urkel has appeared on. He has also made appearances on shows such as Step by Step, as well as the reboot of Full House – Fuller House.
Happy Days Meets Mork & Mindy
Due to the immense popularity of Happy Days, a number of spinoffs were created. These included the likes of Laverne & Shirley and Mork & Mindy, which were both successful in their own rights. While most of the original cast remained in the original series, Henry Winkler’s Fonzie would cross over into both shows on a number of occasions. In the pilot of Mork & Mindy, Robin Williams’ alien character reminisces about the first day he arrived on Earth and met The Fonz.
Friends & Mad About You
Seeing that Mad About You and Friends ran at the same time, it made sense that the two would eventually cross over. Also, Lisa Kudrow actually played a waitress on Mad About You and in one Friends episode, Helen Hunt’s character visits Central Perk and mistakes Phoebe for her twin sister Ursula!
Ghostbusters & Casper
Some crossovers work solely on the similar themes that the movies share. One great example is the 1995 movie Casper. As the movie revolves around ghosts, the filmmakers seized the opportunity to have Dan Aykroyd cameo by reprising his classic role as Ray Stantz from Ghostbusters. In what is pretty much a throwaway scene, the movie’s villains hire Stantz to get the ghosts out of a haunted house. After failing his job, Stantz cheekily tells his employers, “Who ya gonna call? Somebody else.”
It’s not just Marvel that has managed put together an impressive, extended universe. While Kevin Feige has managed to make a huge story out of serialized movies, The CW has taken many popular characters from DC Comics and created what is now known as The Arrowverse. This collection of shows includes series such as Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, and Legends of Tomorrow. It is within these shows that many of the characters overlap, creating one of the most sophisticated crossovers on TV right now.