6 Movie and TV Universes That Overlap in Mind-blowing Ways
Remember that time we told you about the most random celebrity duos who started out together, like George Romero and Mister Rogers or Jon Stewart and Anthony Weiner? Imagine, if you will, the same thing, only with fictional characters.
Tarantino Movies Are a Vast Interlocking Parallel Reality
Every self-respecting Tarantino fan knows about the link between Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs ... but it turns out that the connections between his movies go much, much deeper than that.
Tarantino's foot fetish is actually a deconstruction of the human condition of having feet.
In Pulp Fiction, John Travolta plays a guy called Vincent Vega. In Reservoir Dogs, most of the characters are known only by their code names -- except Mr. Blonde (Michael Madsen), who happens to be called Vic Vega. Coincidence? Nope, Tarantino has confirmed that they are brothers, and at one point he even considered doing a prequel about the two before they died in their respective movies (though he says it's unlikely now because of the actors' ages).
The amount of CGI needed would bankrupt many studios.
That's just the tip of the iceberg, though. As you might recall, Tarantino's movie Inglourious Basterds ends with the slightly unrealistic scene where Hitler is gunned to shit by a group of Nazi-hunting American Jews in 1944, rather than killing himself in his bunker the following year. If you ever wondered what the world would be like if World War II had really ended that way -- well, it turns out Tarantino has been showing us that reality for the past 20 years.
You see, in Inglourious Basterds, Eli Roth plays a character called Donny "The Bear Jew" Donowitz.
And in True Romance (written by Tarantino), there's a film producer called Lee Donowitz, who has been confirmed to be Donny's son. One of the main characters in True Romance is a woman called Alabama -- the same Alabama Mr. White mentions as a former partner in Reservoir Dogs. Since we've already linked Reservoir Dogs to Pulp Fiction, this means that almost every movie Tarantino has done is set in the Inglourious Basterds timeline. We could go even further and link all the rest through Tarantino's fake brands, like those Red Apple cigarettes that appear in a lot of his movies (including Kill Bill).
One kills hundreds of people over the course of the films; the other is Uma Thurman.
It makes a sort of sense when you think about it -- the world would be a very different place if Inglourious Basterds was historically accurate and everyone knew that the Nazis were defeated not through strategy and air power, but by sending a handful of pissed-off guys to do this:
"That'll teach him to Hitler."
If that's what you're taught in school, it's only natural that people should become desensitized to violence -- for some, shooting someone in the face would be something you could do as you're, say, making small talk about what type of hamburgers they have in Amsterdam.
"It's 'Le shooting someone in the face' over there. See, little differences."
Also, the fact that the Nazi high command was gunned down and/or burned alive during a hijacked film premiere would perhaps cause society to lend more importance to pop culture: It's no coincidence that the son of the man who killed Hitler in a movie theater went on to become an important film industry figure. If people constantly stop to talk about comic book characters or '70s rock music trivia during incongruous moments, that's because in this reality that's some important, history-changing shit.
In this universe, talking about "Like a Virgin" is the equivalent of saying grace.
The Wire and The X-Files Exist in the Same Universe
It's hard to believe that while a gritty drug war rages in Baltimore, Md. (as seen in The Wire), the government is devoting considerable resources to planning a secret alien invasion (as seen in The X-Files). And yet, if you look at the cold, hard facts, that's exactly what's going on in those shows.
It all comes down to this dude:
"I would describe my style as bland. With a dash of nondescript."
Detective John Munch is best known as a character in the interminable Law & Order franchise, but he first appeared on a different cop show called Homicide: Life on the Street. Homicide was based on a book by David Simon and inspired by many of the same people and events Simon would later use as the basis for HBO's The Wire. In the last season of The Wire, Simon confirmed the connection between the shows by having Detective Munch make a short appearance.
But that's not all: Before Homicide was canceled, the show crossed over with The X-Files in an episode where the Lone Gunmen, the conspiracy theorists who occasionally assist Mulder and Scully, uncover a government plot to test an experimental nerve gas in Baltimore. The Gunmen try to warn the authorities, but Detective Munch doesn't buy any of that conspiracy crap and locks them up. This isn't some inconsequential little cameo, by the way -- the whole episode is framed by Munch interrogating the Lone Gunmen.
"No, seriously, there's a whole FBI division devoted to-" "Get the fuck out."
The implications are vast: What other toxic agents has the government been secretly testing in Baltimore, a city that The Wire paints as crippled by drug use? Could this explain why they let Sgt. Colvin get away with his "Hamsterdam" experiment for so long in Season 3? The massive coverup at the end of Season 5 had to be a piece of cake to a government that is already hiding the existence of everything from aliens to "Super Soldiers." Also, this would explain why the characters in The Wire always have such a hard time getting the Feds to cooperate with their drug investigations -- they have much, much bigger fish to fry. Like, galaxy big.
"Then they mentioned something about an alien invasion and having to clear up nine years of plot holes."
We could take this even further if we took into consideration the fact that Homicide: Life on the Street can also be linked to St. Elsewhere, of all things, through two characters who appeared on both shows. St. Elsewhere famously ended when the whole show was revealed to take place in the imagination of an autistic child -- and, by extension, so would The X-Files and The Wire.
And The Simpsons.
In fact, according to Dwayne McDuffie's Grand Unification Theory, "The last five minutes of St. Elsewhere is the only television show, ever. Everything else is a daydream."
The answer to "I wonder what he sees in there?" was apparently "A lot of CSI spinoffs."
The Lone Ranger Is the Green Hornet's Uncle
One is a mysterious masked cowboy, the other a contemporary superhero most recently portrayed by the guy from Knocked Up. At first glance, it would seem like the only things the Lone Ranger and the Green Hornet have in common are that they both fight injustice and they both have racial stereotypes for sidekicks.
Not pictured: Pancho, Batman's subservient sidekick/caddy.
Turns out all that stuff runs in the family, because they're actually related. The Lone Ranger and Green Hornet are owned by different companies now (and their movie rights are held by competing studios), but the original radio shows aired on the same Detroit station in the 1930s and shared one character -- Dan Reid, the Lone Ranger's young nephew in the Wild West. Dan also appeared as an old man in the other show (set in the '30s) because he was Green Hornet's dad. This was basically the same character played by Tom Wilkinson in the recent movie.
Making him around 150 years old.
So the Green Hornet is actually the Lone Ranger's great-nephew, but much like the bastard child of a congressman, the family connection can't be openly acknowledged since the Ranger was sold to a different company in the '50s. They still have the same last name (Reid), and their personal histories remain entwined; they just can't mention any of that anymore because, from a legal standpoint, that would be like a character in CSI coming out and saying he's the illegitimate child of Matlock and Jessica Fletcher from Murder, She Wrote.
Some Green Hornet comics have gotten around this by showing a Lone Ranger-type dude but just not naming him:
"No, see -- he's the Lonely Ranger."
By the way, they've also thrown a couple of extra generations into the family tree to explain how the Green Hornet can still be set in the present (much like Batman) without having to say that his great-uncle was dressing up like a cowboy in World War II or something.
So when the new Lone Ranger movie comes out next year, with the guy who played the Winklevoss twins in The Social Network as the Ranger and Johnny Depp pulling a no doubt racially sensitive and restrained portrayal of Tonto, keep in mind that the main character there is actually a relative of Seth Rogen in The Green Hornet.
The bloodline has somewhat diluted over the years.
Oh, and guess who else was recently cast for a part in The Lone Ranger? Tom Wilkinson. Apparently he'll play a villain, but we're hoping he'll actually turn out to be the Lone Ranger's young nephew who inexplicably looks the same age he did when he appeared this year in The Green Hornet.
"It's been a busy year."
Conan the Barbarian and Cthulhu: Best Buds Forever?
One is an action/fantasy hero famously portrayed by Arnold Schwarzenegger and his once mighty pectorals. The other is perhaps the most significant creation in 20th-century horror literature and H.P. Lovecraft's signature character. A Conan/Cthulhu connection seems unlikely, if not impossible -- and probably would be if not for the fact that their creators were BFFs.
Their dapperness united them.
H.P. Lovecraft and Conan's creator, Robert E. Howard, published their most famous stories in the same pulp magazine, Weird Tales. The two writers became friends in the 1930s, and as friends often do, started slipping references to each other's work in their stories. For example, the very first Conan story mentions Lovecraft's "Old Ones" and explicitly named Cthulhu in the original draft. That's right: Conan's adventures were part of the Cthulhu mythos from the beginning.
Get the ftaghn out.
There are numerous other references to Lovecraft in Conan stories, but we'll admit they don't seem so shocking now, what with Cthulhu showing up pretty much everywhere these days ...
There's also that Simpsons episode where Homer helps him deal with his fear of escalators.
However, this is different because Lovecraft himself included several shout-outs to Conan in the original Cthulhu stories -- one story features a character from Cimmeria (Conan's homeland) who is named after Conan's nemesis, and another mentions the Serpent Men of Valusia, best known as the bad guys from the cheesy Conan cartoon:
In fact, in that same cartoon (as in Robert Howard's stories), the Serpent Men worship a snake god called Set -- that's another name for Yig, one of Lovecraft's Old Ones. Incidentally, the Snake Men from He-Man are thinly veiled rip-offs of the Serpent Men (just as He-Man is a thinly veiled rip-off of Conan) and worshipped practically the same ancient snake deity. And say, what did Skeletor's lair look like, again?
"In his house at R'lyeh, Dead Skeletor waits dreaming."
The snake monsters and such are probably the only connection to Lovecraft that still survives in the Conan franchise -- just take a look at the trailer for the new movie. As Conan's popularity exploded (and the character started being dumbed down for other media), most Cthulhu mythos references ended up being edited out of his original stories and ignored by subsequent writers.
"Edited out" in this case means "forcibly removed from the memories of."
But hey, at least he didn't become an overused Internet meme.
The Guy from Wolfenstein Is the Grandfather of the Kid From Commander Keen
You probably won't be too shocked if we tell you that id Software, the company best known for shooting games like Wolfenstein 3D, Doom and Quake, also did a cutesy Mario-like platform game called Commander Keen. After all, this is nothing new -- the company that made Resident Evil also did the Megaman series, and the creator of Dragon Quest also published disturbing toddler porn games for PC. In fact, video game companies rarely stick to doing the same type of game over and over.
Of course, there are exceptions.
What's surprising in this case is that id Software seems to have gone out of its way to link its vastly different franchises together -- you wouldn't expect one of the kids from Yu-Gi-Oh! to show up in Silent Hill, or Ms. Pac-Man to be an unlockable character in Mortal Kombat.
Although we could totally see that happening now.
Commander Keen was id Software's first big hit in the early '90s, and it stars an 8-year-old boy called Billy Blazkowicz who fights cartoony aliens and vegetable people with his pogo stick. It's a pretty Nintendo-esque game, which is explained by the fact that it started as a project to bring Super Mario games to PC.
That thing on his head is a helmet, and sadly not a glorious chinstrap beard.
A couple of years later, the same company released Wolfenstein 3D, a violent first-person shooter about an Allied soldier shooting his way through a castle full of Nazi atrocities. The name of the protagonist? William Blazkowicz, Billy's grandfather.
"Sit on my lap, Billy, and let me tell you about the time I blew Robot Hitler's head off."
There's more: id Software's next hit was Doom, an even more violent shooter about a futuristic soldier fighting space demons (or something: nobody's quite sure). The identity of Doom's protagonist has never been officially revealed by id Software, but it's been hinted that he's a member of the Blazkowicz family, too: In Wolfenstein RPG, the Nazis summon a demon called the "Harbinger of Doom." William Blazkowicz defeats the demon by cutting off an arm and a leg, and as he's banished back into hell, the demon swears to return one day and haunt William's descendants.
If you've played the original Doom games, you might remember the exact same demon from this part:
Note that the robot parts replace the limbs William blasted off.
So apparently the Doom guy is the descendant of Wolfenstein's protagonist, which means he's a family member of Commander Keen, too -- unless they are actually the same person.
This screenshot from Doom 2 says otherwise. id Software -- you're sick, sick people.
Daredevil and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Were Created in the Same Traffic Accident
Superhero crossovers are nothing new, but what makes this one special is the blatant illegality and in-story significance of it. Daredevil had existed for 20 years before the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles showed up in the '80s -- and yet their origins establish that they are both the products of the same traffic accident and the same mysterious goo.
Daredevil's origin, as shown in Daredevil #1, is that when he was young he saved a blind man from getting hit by a truck, only to have a radioactive canister fall off the same truck and hit him in the face. This was before, of course, the "Put Some Time into Securing Your Radioactive Shit" shipping laws that we take for granted now.
"Call an ambulance? No, I'd rather stand here and commentate."
Between the radioactivity of the substance, the impact of the hit and the cylinderness of the container, Daredevil was left blind. But he was extra good at his other senses, so he ended up a superhero, obviously. The real question wasn't "How is getting blinded by a can after saving a blind guy an origin story?" It was "What happened to the mysterious canister after it bounced off proto-Daredevil's kisser?"
It doesn't look like it did Ben Affleck any harm.
Fast forward 20 years: The creators of the Ninja Turtles were big fans of Daredevil, especially the issues by Frank Miller. Not content with simply borrowing Daredevil's origin, they actually went ahead and wrote their characters into it. In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1, we see the exact same scene as before only from a different perspective. The radioactive canister hits the boy in the head ...
... then falls into a sewer and mutates some baby turtles into cowabunging ninjas.
As opposed to, say, sewer alligators.
Of course, the boy is never explicitly identified as the future Daredevil, but that's because the character belongs to Marvel Comics and the Ninja Turtles do not. Still, it's pretty obvious that it's the same kid, and the fact that the canister turned out to be full of mutating goo does explain how getting hit in the head by something could possibly give someone superpowers. (Life tip: It usually doesn't.)
You're usually advised to open the lid first, duh.
So if young Daredevil hadn't been there, the canister probably wouldn't have fallen into the sewer and those four regular turtles probably wouldn't be fighting crime today. All the TMNT cartoons and movies show variations of the same origin, and the radioactive ooze in particular has become an iconic part of the Turtle brand -- even though it was completely stolen from another comic.
"Warning: May cause irrevocable blindness."