Overlapping Fictional Universes That (Somehow) Exist
Crossovers are all the rage right now. As tempting as it is to chalk that up to Hollywood being out of ideas, this has actually been going on since some whatever-they-had-instead-of-coke-addled exec in ancient Greece decided Hercules should hang out with the Argonauts. As we've once covered before, plenty of your favorite movies, TV shows, and video games had mind-blowing connections to other franchises that you never even noticed. Like ...
Blade Runner Is Set In The Same Universe As Alien, Predator, Prometheus, And ... Star Trek?
In Blade Runner, Harrison Ford's character is tasked with locating and "retiring" genetically engineered humanoids called "replicants" (as in murdering their asses, not setting them up with a nice condo in Palm Beach). Turns out Ford was pretty shit at his job though, because those guys are so ubiquitous they spilled over into other movies.
For starters, remember the "synthetics" in Alien, its sequels, and its pseudo-prequel Prometheus? Well, an Easter egg in the Prometheus Blu-ray Disc implies that those robo-creeps were a sort of continuation to Blade Runner's replicants -- Peter Weyland, the shady, death-obsessed tech millionaire from the Alien franchise, was a friend and mentee to Eldon Tyrell, the shady, death-obsessed tech millionaire from Blade Runner. Ridley Scott, director of both movies, even says he almost called Weyland's company Weyland-Tyrell in Prometheus, which would confirm that the replicants were like the Macs to the synthetics' iPads.
Neither of which exist in this universe, since people still use MS-DOS.
But, connecting these two movies opens up a whole other universe of possibilities. We already know, for example, that the Alien movies take place in the same reality as the Predator ones -- not just from the regrettable Alien Vs. Predator crossover series, but also from the end of Predator 2, when Danny Glover sees a Xenomorph skull among the Predators' trophies.
It uses the Xenomorph's tongue jaw as a back scratcher.
So, when replicant Roy Batty said, "I've seen things you people wouldn't believe" at the end of Blade Runner, he may have been referring to two Predators 69-ing or having a three-way with a Vulcan. No, really.
Remember Soldier, the 1998 Kurt Russell space punch-fest no one remembers? Probably not. It's about a bunch of soldiers genetically engineered to be badasses, much like the replicants -- which is no coincidence, since it shares a screenwriter with Blade Runner, and he openly called Soldier a "side-quel" to that film. There are other shout-outs to the Alien-verse in Soldier, but that's not all: A scene detailing past missions of the main character lists "Nibian Moon" and "Antares Maelstrom," which are, of course, places mentioned in Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan.
Logical conclusion: Captain Kirk totally boned a hot she-Predator at least once.
We could take this even further and include Edward James Olmos' theory that Battlestar Galactica is a prequel to Blade Runner (he was in both), meaning that the Cylons are like ancient replicants ... but, on second thought, no. Let's not do that.
Hannibal's Creator Brings His Other Shows' Peppy Characters Into The Darkest Show Just To Torture Them
Pushing Daisies was an ABC show about the misadventures of a pie-maker whose magical touch can bring dead people back to life for one minute. It's like Wes Anderson, Zooey Deschanel, and the film Amelie had a supernatural, quirky baby.
And the dialogue sounds like Joss Whedon ate a Gilmore Girl.
NBC's Hannibal, meanwhile, was a gritty The Silence Of The Lambs spin-off that might be responsible for the darkest, most disturbing moments ever shown on network TV outside of early American Idol tryouts. What the hell could these two shows possibly have in common?
Besides the pretty flowers.
Well, they were both created by writer/producer Bryan Fuller, who insists on connecting every single series he's done, tonal consistency be damned. For example, in one Pushing Daisies episode, the pie-maker mentions the Happy Times Temp Agency, which is the main setting for another Fuller show: Dead Like Me, about a girl named George Lass who gets hit on the head with a falling toilet seat from a space shuttle and dies, becoming a Grim Reaper. The connection makes sense, since both shows have similar themes/levels of whimsy ... but then, in Hannibal, the same actress shows up as a girl named Georgia Madchen (both "lass" and "madchen" mean girl) who suffers from a disease that makes her believe she's dead. SPOILERS: She stops just believing it pretty soon.
Conveniently, all she had to do to meet her maker was look in the mirror.
It gets even darker. One of the key characters in Hannibal is a woman named Miriam Regina Lass. George's little sister in Dead Like Me was named Regina Lass. We know this because Fuller himself pointed it out. He even made sure to get similar-looking actresses for the parts.
An identical left arm, however, was totally unnecessary.
And finally, remember Wonderfalls, that FOX show about a girl who talks to gift shop animal figurines? One chirpy character showed up again in Pushing Daisies as a baking contest winner ... and another in Hannibal, as the victim of a serial killer pharmacist.
Listen, we know this sounds like a stretch, but we're starting to think that the guy who keeps making shows about death might have some issues.
Adam Sandler's Films Co-Exist In A Hellish Nightmare Realm Ruled By A God-Like Adam Sandler
YouTuber Shawn Kohne carried out an extensive, sanity-shattering investigation to map out the full Sandler-verse, which spans all the way from his "eh, worth a rewatch on cable" films to his "oh dear Lord, how do I get through this" ones. For instance, a character called Ten-Second Tom (literally, a guy who can only remember things for ten seconds) shows up in both 50 First Dates and Blended, the two fantasy movies about how Sandler can land Drew Barrymore.
She dated Tom Green, so her standards are too high for Sandler.
Then there's Chubbs from Happy Gilmore, who falls off a window and dies in that movie, but is seen in Heaven in Little Nicky:
Or, maybe it's Apollo Creed or Dillon from Predator, or ... geez, Carl Weathers is the black Sean Bean.
Also, the hobo golf caddy from the same movie appears in Jack And Jill. Hell, even The Puppy Who Lost His Way book that inspires Billy Madison's brain-melting rant in the movie of the same name turns up in I Now Pronounce You Lazy Gay Jokes. Now, these references might seem like harmless little Easter eggs, but the implication is pretty horrifying: Does this mean there are several Adam Sandler-like people running around in this universe at the same time? How is that possible? What kind of God would allow that? Easy. One called "Adam Sandler."
He's like Old Testament God: not funny.
Sandler's professions in these movies are like a list of occupations a 9 year old would have: famous football player, professional golfer, another famous football player, professional rich person, professional ... also rich person, and fireman. It's like he's some omnipotent being shaping and reshaping reality to his whims, trying out different personas.
Sometimes at the same time.
If this seems far-fetched, consider that Sandler actually did a movie where he's the son of Satan and thus natural heir to Hell. Is the rest of Sandler's filmography what happens when Little Nicky becomes king of his own realm? The "You can do it!" guy is probably some sort of high-ranking demon encouraging his master during his ongoing journey.
Everyone In The Office Has A Doppelganger Across The Ocean Living Their Exact Life
NBC's The Office was a TV show about a sadistic asshole named Jim who spends years psychologically torturing a co-worker who is clearly on the autistic spectrum. It is somehow a comedy. It was based off the U.K. series of the same name, and bizarrely, it had a crossover with ... itself. In one The Office (U.S.) episode, Ricky Gervais guest-starred as British office manager David Brent meeting Steve Carrell's Michael Scott, despite Scott being based on Brent. We're surprised the universe didn't implode when they hugged.
And it's not like it's a one-off cameo -- Brent shows up again later, interviewing for Scott's job after he quits. But, the more you think about the fact that the two shows exist in the same universe, the more your brain starts to bleed. It's not just that the characters are similar (salesman with crush on receptionist, annoying underling with poor social skills, failed comedian boss) -- it's that, at a certain point, they do the exact same things. Look at the first episode of each show: Both deal with a new intern coming into the office, Brent/Scott finding out downsizing will happen and fake-firing the receptionist, Tim/Jim flirting with Dawn/Pam, and finally putting all of the annoying underlings' things in Jell-O. Sorry, jelly.
Even in the name of mindless pranks, America overdoes it with the food portions.
The Office exists in a deterministic nightmare. And we thought the most horrifying part of the show was Dwight cutting the face off a CPR dummy and wearing it.
Wait, no, that's still worse.
Carmen Sandiego Is The Keyser Soze Of Kids' Edutainment
Carmen Sandiego is a thief from a series of computer games designed to teach children about geography, history, and soul-crushing, endless repetition. Who can forget the time she made the World Trade Center disapp- no, nope, bad example. Let's focus instead on how she's one of the few nonstereotypical Latino women in pop cult- dammit.
Geez, that old "Latinos love tennis" stereotype?
The player, acting as an ACME Detective Agency agent, would work to put Carmen and her legions of pun-related thieves (such as "Sara Nade" and "Patty Larceny") in jail. But, Sandiego's criminal empire expands beyond her own games ... and perhaps even into other mediums.
In the '80s and '90s, there was a whole wave of school curriculum-based computer games. The idea was that you would be more inclined to learn, say, math if you were challenged by an inept villain who required pre-algebra skills to navigate his hidden lair. Congratulations! You've been edutainted! One example was The ClueFinders series, each of which had a different ridiculous enemy.
In this one, for example, the villain is the aunt who bought you
this shit when you asked for Mortal Kombat.
The final game, The ClueFinders: Mystery Mansion Arcade, brought together the antagonists of all previous installments to get revenge on the four child protagonists. We know all good villains think they're doing the right thing, but, somewhere around the time you start "seeking revenge" on children, you have to admit your priorities are a bit skewed. If you finish the game, you find out that the mysterious, Dr. Claw-esque mastermind behind the bad guys was Carmen Sandiego, who had never even been mentioned in this series before.
As sudden as that ending is, it's completely in character for Sandiego: Bringing together wackily-named criminals for larger heists was her whole modus operandi. But, does it stop there? We could go even deeper into this rabbit hole -- literally. The ClueFinders is connected to another edutainment franchise, Reader Rabbit, through a newspaper called "Learning Times." So, all along, Carmen Sandiego's world was a place where humans coexisted with anthropomorphic animals; she just never went into those neighborhoods because she's a filthy species-ist. By the way, the titular Reader Rabbit looks like ...
... the illegitimate child of Bugs Bunny. But, surely, we couldn't connect the Sandiego series to the vast Warner Bros. cartoons universe. It's not like they have a major brand in common ...
Selling dangerously defective products by day, siccing schoolchildren on master criminals by night.
Or like Carmen Sandiego straight up appears in an episode of Animaniacs ...
Bonus Theory: Her dad was the Neighborhood Watch guy.
But, wait, aren't the ACME people in the Sandiego games good guys, while in the Looney Tunes cartoons they're more or less a bunch of criminal-enablers? Yes, but Carmen's backstory establishes that she was once an ACME agent who went rogue -- perhaps, at one point in the future, she manages to gain control of the company, and the wacky dystopia Bugs and friends seem to live in is the disastrous consequence.
Of course, we have no definite proof that Carmen Sandiego is behind every calamity and criminal act in those classic cartoons. Let's just say this: The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist.
Adrick Tolliver was brought to you by viewers like you and can be reached for detective work/geography trivia at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tara Marie wishes she lived in a world that had a crossover with you. Until then, she can be reached at email@example.com.
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