Shared universes have always been a point of fascination, for both the audience and creators alike, linking together multiple stories that paint a much grander overall universe. However, there are some with more well known connections than others. Some of these entries you might already be well aware of, others may be news to you. Keep in mind, this list is in no particular order, it’s just numbered so that we don’t descend into chaos.
1. Predator 2 and Alien Franchise
It is a well-known fact that the Alien and Predator films are linked now. There have been movies, comic books, and video games which explore this premise. But things were different a couple of decades ago, that is until Predator 2 was released in 1990. As the film approaches its conclusion, Lieutenant Mike Harrigan (Danny Glover) finds himself onboard a predator ship, where on a wall full of skulls, there is one that looks like it belongs to a xenomorph. This moment sparked the imaginations of fans everywhere and will live on forever in crossover history.
2. Snowpiercer and Willy Wonka
While not set in stone, this is an interesting theory thought up by YouTuber RhinoStew, and it surprisingly holds a lot of water. How could a timeless childhood classic about chocolate be linked with a stylish but gory Korean film about a train containing the last of humanity? Well, as said in the video, ‘they’re both two movies about groups of people that work their way through a large, fantastic structure. One by one, a person from the group is removed in each room until one person makes it to the very end, who then found out the entire thing was a test, because a wealthy industrialist needed to find a new successor’.
Still not convinced? Well, check out the video to find out in greater detail how these films are linked.
3. Captain America: The First Avenger and Raiders of the Lost Ark
While this is more of a throw-away line meant as a gag, it still warrants mentioning. At the start of the Marvel film Captain America: The First Avenger, the audience is introduced to the antagonist Red Skull (Hugo Weaving) as he discovers the Tesseract.
During this scene, he drops a comment: ‘Let the Fuhrer dig for trinkets in the desert.’ This is a clear reference to the plot of the Indiana Jones movie Raiders of the Lost Ark, in which the Nazi’s are searching for the Ark of The Covenant in Egypt. Does this make Indy an official part of the MCU?
4. Anything involving the Necronomicon
An element of Lovecraftian horror, the Necronomicon is a fictional grimoire containing secrets of dark magic and strange sciences. It has popped up in many of his short stories, and has been frequently referenced in pop culture, appearing in film franchises like The Evil Dead, Friday the 13th, and even video games like the Binding of Isaac.
Lovecraft himself was also a big advocator of stories having shared universes, so would it be too far a leap to suggest that all these movies are linked to Lovecraft’s book? Would certainly explain half of the weird stuff that went on.
5. Star Wars and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
While the Star Wars prequels are infamously bad, they also infamously linked it with Spielberg’s film about an alien visiting earth. In a scene where a meeting of the galactic senate is being held in the movie The Phantom Menace, one of the groups that can be spotted is a trio of little E.Ts. Did the little alien pursue a career in politics a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away before coming to Earth?
6. Commando, Die Hard, and Predator
Has anyone heard of the country Val Verde? It is a fictitious country that pops in a few movies and is a key point to linking these three films together.
In the movie Commando, the main antagonist is a former dictator of the country, who kidnaps John Matrix’s (Arnold Schwarzenegger) daughter to blackmail him into assassinating his successor. In Die Hard 2, General Esperanza, the villain who sets the film’s events in motion, is also a disposed leader of the country. And now for the final piece of the puzzle: despite later comics and films setting it in Columbia and Guatemala, Steven E. de Souza, the man who wrote Die Hard 2 and Predator, believes that the events of the film takes place in – you get the idea.
7. Disney/Pixar Movies
Since Pixar is an animation studio that was founded by Disney, they’re both getting included in the same entry.
For Pixar, there are many links that prove that every film is connected. While there are too many to put into this entry hear is a few: Riley from Inside Out appears in the background of a shot for Finding Dory, Sully is on a wood carving in the witch’s house in Brave (there’s a theory that Boo became a time traveller to find Sully, got trapped in Brave and went mad), a version of the family tapestry in Brave also appears in Cars, Linguine’s bike from Ratatouille appears in Wall-E.
As for Disney themselves, there are frequent winks to the audience, but there are more concrete links: Frozen is linked to Tarzan by the observation that that the parents’ Elsa and Anna lost at sea could actually be Tarzan’s parents, or that King Triton is actually Poseidon, who in Greek mythology is the brother of Zeus, so Hercules is technically her cousin.
8. Back to the Future, Django Unchained, and A Million Ways to Die in The West
Ah, the power of cameos. Seth MacFarlane stuffed in a bunch of pop culture into his movie A Million Ways to Die in The West, and that placed this movie comfortably in the list by including cameos from the gunslinger Django from Django Unchained towards the end of the film and the time travelling Doc Brown from the Back to the Future franchise trying to work on his time machine.
9. Quentin Tarantino Films
Speaking of Django Unchained, Tarantino himself is a big fan of crossovers. So much so that he split them into two separate universes, which he describes as the realer than real universe and the movie universe: “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 Til Dawn is what they see.”
That’s not the only link, though. Remember how Mia Wallace from Pulp Fiction explains how she starred in a pilot for a show that didn’t quite take off? Seems they turned it into a movie, because her description is that of the cast of Kill Bill. Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs are connected by family: Vincent Vega (John Travolta) from Pulp Fiction and Mr Blonde AKA Victor Vega (Michael Madsen) from Reservoir Dogs are brothers.
Almost all of the Tarantino films are connected in some way or another – too much to go into for this list – so look them up.
10. Frozen and Hatchet 2
No, not the 2013 Disney animated film Frozen, the 2010 horror movie Frozen. Both it and Hatchet 2 were directed by Adam Green, and he looks like he wanted to leave a little Easter egg for those who could spot it. The plot of Frozen involves a group of friends who end up getting trapped on a ski lift and struggle to escape, and Hatchet 2 briefly shows a news report that covers the aftermath of the movie.
11. The Faculty and The Cabin in the Woods
The Cabin in the Woods is one of those horror movies which is very much self-aware and doesn’t take itself too seriously. While first following a group of horror movie stereotypes who go out to a cabin to party, it evolves further, revealing an underground government sector who commit rituals to stop the end of the world.
During this film, one of the agents points out that they didn’t have a glitch in their system since ’98. What happened in ’98? Well, many fans believe this is a reference to the horror movie The Faculty for the simple fact that no one dies, and the timeline matches up. While not completely conclusive, still interesting enough to warrant a mention.
12. Collateral and Transporter
Though he is basically a glorified delivery driver for criminals in the Transporter series, Frank Martin is undeniably one of Jason Statham’s most iconic roles. So iconic, that equally talented director Michael Mann throws a little wink to the series, as a sharply dressed Statham delivers a suitcase to Vincent (Tom Cruise) in the movie Collateral. Talk about a franchise spanning career.
13. Stephen King Multiverse
Yep, the King of literary horror himself has stories which all link together, even though the foundation of this multiverse is nothing short of bizarre. Even though his books feature different timelines and events that vary greatly, almost all of the books are linked together by the Dark Tower series in some way, and that goes for the movies as well – even if the movie adaptation is startlingly average.
An example being the recent Pet Sematary, where there is a throwaway mention of a St Bernard with rabies at a birthday party. Even if you aren’t a King fan, this dog is famous enough that you should know its name.
14. Rango and Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas
How is a child’s movie directed by the same man who made Pirates of the Caribbean related to a film about debaucherous drug use and gonzo journalism? Well, both of the main characters are portrayed by Johnny Depp, Mr Depp also based his Rango character on Hunter S. Thompson (notice the Hawaiian shirt), and there is a scene in Rango where the main character lands on the window of a car, in which the occupants bare a resemblance to Depp and Benicio del Toro’s characters in Fear and Loathing.
15. Psycho and Halloween
While John Carpenter may have named one of his characters Loomis as a tribute to the Hitchcock classic, there is a theory floating around that these characters are one and the same. The theory goes that after the events of Psycho, in which his girlfriend is murdered and he turns Norman Bates over to the authorities, the character of Sam Loomis is left emotionally scarred.
Driven by his grief, he begins working towards his doctorate in child psychology, hoping to help prevent disturbed children from becoming psychopaths by the time they reach adulthood. However, it would just so happen that one of his first patients would be a little boy called Michael Myers.
As his efforts to help the child appear fruitless and haunted by his own personal demons, Dr Loomis would hunt down Michael to put his past to rest. While not as concrete as the rest of the entries in this list, it’s an interesting perspective to ponder upon.