Shared cinematic universes are all the rage now with the Marvel Cinematic Universe being the most famous example. There have been so many other franchises to try something similar, such as the DC Extended Universe and the sadly failed Dark Universe from Universal Pictures. However, there are a lot more shared universes out there that most audiences are not even aware of.
Most shared universes are remembered for being part of giant franchises but sometimes, filmmakers decided to connect to movies and nobody really notices until later. Whether it’s through small cameos or merely one recurring character or a reference to events from another movie.
Better Luck Tomorrow (2002)
One of the more memorable characters from the long-running Fast & Furious franchise is Han, who many assume was first introduced in The Fast & The Furious: Tokyo Drift. That is actually not the case as Sung Kang first played the character of Han in Better Luck Tomorrow.
Better Luck Tomorrow was director Justin Lin’s precursor film to Tokyo Drift that actually shows the origins of Han. Both Justin Lin and Sung Kang have confirmed that it is indeed the same character, such as in an interview with Deadlinemaking the Fast cinematic universe even stranger than it already was.
Other than being another futuristic sci-fi thriller, Soldier and Blade Runner do not seem to have much in common. However, Soldier was written by the same person who wrote Blade Runner and it was intended to be a spin-off in the same universe as the Ridley Scott film (via SlashFilm).
There is actual evidence in Soldier to support this connection in the form of dialogue referencing that Kurt Russell’s Todd was at the Battle at Tannhauser Gate as well as the conflict on the Shoulder of Orion. Most will recognize this from Rutger Hauer’s character Roy when he gives his final speech in one of the most famous Blade Runner quotes.
Get Him To The Greek (2010)
In a lot of his comedic roles, Russell Brand’s characters are a lot alike so it was easy to not notice that his character in Get Him To The Greek is the same one from Forgetting Sarah Marshall. There is very little continuity between the two films as well but there is a scene that connects the film.
In one scene, Russell Brand’s Aldous Snow sees Kristen Bell make a cameo as Sarah Marshall appearing in a medical drama and even states that he used to date her.
Michael Mann’s Collateral sticks to being a straightforward thriller but one scene makes it part of a cinematic universe. When Tom Cruise’s Vincent makes a swap with an unnamed character played by Jason Statham, this was none other than Frank Martin.
Frank Martin is the titular character of The Transporter series. The director of the first two Transporter movies, Louis Leterrier, confirmed that Jason Statham’s cameo in Collateral was indeed Frank Martin on one of his jobs (via WhatCulture).
American Psycho (2000)
Patrick Bateman from American Psycho and Sean Bateman from The Rules Of Attraction have something surprising in common. The same surname and this is not just a coincidence. It is actually referenced that Sean Bateman is the brother of Patrick Bateman, Christian Bale’s character in American Psycho.
Both movies are based on books by Bret Easton Ellis who has Patrick Bateman as a recurring character in his stories. Christian Bale was unable to reprise the role for The Rules Of Attraction but there are now-famously deleted scenes featuring Casper Van Dien as Patrick Bateman that solidified the movie’s connection.
Out Of Sight (1998)
Similar to Soldierthere is very little that connects Out Of Sight starring George Clooney to Quentin Tarantino’s movies but somehow it does. Out Of Sight features an appearance by Michael Keaton as FBI agent Ray Nicolette.
This is actually the second time Keaton played Nicolette, appearing first in Quentin Tarantino’s Jackie Brown as an ATF agent (via WhatCulture). Both Out Of Sight and Jackie Brown were based on books by Elmore Leonard and Ray Nicolette has a similar recurring role as Patrick Bateman as previously mentioned.
Disney movies have a tendency to reference other movies. In the case of FrozenDisney actually had it connect to another famous film by having a brief appearance of Rapunzel and Eugene (or Flynn Rider) from Tangled arriving in Arendelle.
Rapunzel even has her short brunette hair which shows that Frozen does take place after the events of Frozen. This isn’t the first time Disney has done something like this, considering there are elements that help tie nearly all Pixar films together. Still, Rapunzel and Elsa in the same universe fuel the idea of a possible crossover between Disney Animation Studios films.
ET The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
ET The Extra-Terrestrial on its own is a standalone family film that remains one of Steven Spielberg’s many iconic films. However, his friend and fellow filmmaker George Lucas decided to make a strange connection to ET in The Phantom Menace.
Within the Galactic Senate of the Republic, one of the floating repulsorpods features representatives of ET’s race. Since Star Wars is said to take place “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away …” it’s not exactly impossible to say that the two movies exist in the same universe.
Jason Goes To Hell
It’s no secret that the Friday The 13th movies and A Nightmare On Elm Street are connected, especially since Freddy Krueger and the hockey-masked killer Jason Voorhees have their own crossover. However, Friday The 13th has technically connected to another horror franchise prior to Freddy VS Jason.
In the maligned sequel Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Fridaythe Voorhees house features the Necronomicon from The Evil Dead franchise. This was meant to hint that Jason Voorhees was a Deadite of sorts but this connection was glossed over until the Freddy VS Jason VS Ash comics.
Blade Runner (1982)
For years, many dedicated fans speculated if Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner had any connection to Ridley Scott’s Alien. Both feature advanced synthetic humanoids that come surprisingly close to humans. This theory was finally confirmed to be true with Prometheus. In a bonus feature of the Prometheus DVD / Blu-Ray, there is a message from Guy Pearce’s Peter Weyland (via Collider).
He references a competitor with a god complex that watches his creations from his high tower, a direct reference to Dr. Eldon Tyrell from Blade Runner. This helps explain the differences and similarities between androids and Blade Runner‘s replicants. It also explains why Ridley Scott focused so much on androids in the prequel movies.
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