4 Movie & TV Crossovers That Would Save Both Franchises
Every filmmaker dreams of creating an unforgettable classic, and a big part of that is coming up with a unique story no one has ever seen before -- something that would never work with any other setting or character. Or so you would think.
But as it turns out, plenty of hit movies and television series share loads of bizarrely specific similarities, to the point where you could almost believe that they take place in the same joint universe. This not only proves that originality is overrated, but also lets film nuts like myself envision mind-blowing but totally plausible pop culture crossovers, such as ...
Gremlins and Little Shop of Horrors
At first glance, the only connection between Gremlins and Little Shop of Horrors is that they are both movies about rampaging monsters making people's lives miserable, which basically applies to everything from Pacific Rim to Gordon Ramsay's Hell's Kitchen.
"This chicken is so old and dry, it should come with a side order of menopause cream!"
Looking at the two movies more closely, the differences become even starker. Gremlins is a classic horror-comedy about cute little creatures called mogwai that, when fed after midnight, become crazed-out, slimy gremlins that want to fuck shit up, and might also be a metaphor for puberty. Little Shop of Horrors, on the other hand, is a musical about a sentient monster plant called Audrey II that wants to take over the world and eat all the humans. Other than the monster angle, there doesn't seem to be that much overlap between those stories ... but it'd be amazing if there was. Imagine it: a whole movie about two supernatural threats to humankind, one chaotic and insane, the other insidious and malevolent, joining forces to spread death and destruction like animatronic versions of the Joker and Bane.
"If I pull off your leaves, will you die?"
"It'd be very painful ... for you."
Why It Could Actually Work:
Now, what I said earlier about the gremlins and Audrey II being "supernatural" threats to humanity? That's not entirely accurate, because both monsters are in fact aliens.
We know as much about Audrey II thanks to the song "Mean Green Mother from Outer Space," which reveals the plant's origin as an alien species "from past the stars and beyond the moon." As for Gremlins, the official novelization of the movie explains that the mogwai were originally created on the planet Enz by an alien scientist called Mogturmen, who easily could also have been the creator of Audrey II.
Consider how the aliens only turn homicidal due to their diet. With the mogwai, it was eating after midnight. With Audrey II, it was feeding on human blood. I don't know much about biology, but I'm guessing that producing murder instead of gas due to something you ate isn't a very useful evolutionary trait, and would make more sense as the result of a genetic experiment gone horribly wrong. The Gremlins novel tells us that the mogwais transforming into gremlins was a mistake on Mogturmen's part, so we know he isn't that good of a scientist. This makes him exactly the type of guy who would also try to create a sentient plant with a mouth for reasons we probably shouldn't get into.
Unnecessary censorship ruins your childhood once again!
It's also important to note that Gizmo (the first mogwai) and Audrey II were both sold to their movie's protagonist by walking illustrations from The 1800s Encyclopedia of Oriental Races:
Of course one of them is named Chang!
Unfortunately, if anyone ever did try making a story about an alien mad scientist who creates singing monsters that later land on Earth, they'd immediately get sued by Disney for ripping off Lilo & Stitch.
Indiana Jones and Captain America: The First Avenger
One movie tells the story of an adventuring superhuman trying to stop Nazis from acquiring a powerful religious artifact, while the other is ... um ... set on a different continent? OK, so Indy and the Captain do seem to have some things in common, but so does every character from the "magic Nazis" genre of film, right? Hellboy, Hellsing, Bulletproof Monk ... there are plenty of flicks out there that boil down to Nazis wanting to Avada Kedavra the world in the face and then make out with each other on top of the corpses of millions.
"Give us a kiss!"
Why It Could Actually Work:
It would solve the biggest problem with the Indiana Jones movies.
No, not the fucking submarine.
During his adventures, Indy comes across magical artifacts from three different religions: Judaism (the Ark of the Covenant), Christianity (the Holy Grail), and Hinduism (the Sankara stones), all of which seemingly prove the existence of a God or even multiple gods in the Indiana Jones universe. Don't you find that terrifying? See, if any religion out there is, well, right about the tenets of their faith, then that means a huge portion of the population is royally fucked. If the Jewish people are right about God, then everyone with a turtleneck wang won't be getting into Yahweh's VIP Lounge. If Christianity is right, then everyone who hasn't accepted Christ as their savior will be accepting all 666 of Satan's spiked dong-tentacles (dongtacles) immediately upon death. And I don't even want to think what happens if the Hindus are right, because I've personally exterminated whole generations of cows, one triple hamburger at a time.
This thankfully stops being a problem if all those artifacts were really alien weapons like the Tesseract.
Also known as the laziest Rubik's Cube ever.
The Tesseract was the blocky MacGuffin from Thor's planet that Red Skull, Hitler's chief of advanced weaponry, wanted to use to take over the world in Captain America: The First Avenger. However, it's later revealed that the cube is one of six Infinity Stones, alien artifacts of great power, just like, say, the Ark of the Covenant. And there you go -- this one tiny detail allows us to plausibly introduce aliens to the Indiana Jones universe while keeping Shia LaBeouf out of it. It's win-win dream-come-true for everyone.
There's another reason Indy would work well with Captain America: Their timelines match up perfectly. The final movie in the original trilogy, The Last Crusade, takes place in 1938, while Cap gets frozen and fast-forwards to the future in the 1940s. This means that canonically, both characters could have existed around the same time without running into each other. Even the first Captain America movie recognizes that, seeing as it made Red Skull utter this familiar line from Raiders of the Lost Ark:
So the movie itself is already begging us to throw Indiana Jones into the mix and have him punch Red Skull right in the bratwurst. The only problem with such a crossover is that it wouldn't be very popular with the female demographic, because anyone lucky enough to witness such concentrated awesomeness would immediately grow a giant erection-shaped beard, regardless of their gender.
Titanic and The Great Gatsby (2013)
Some of you will think I'm cheating with this entry, because Titanic and The Great Gatsby both take place in the "real world," but do they really? Gatsby is ultimately a subjective critique of the Jazz Age stemming from Fitzgerald's need to grind an ax against the culture of decadence of the 1920s. Consequently, the story and the characters in his book, and of course the movie, are little more than walking signs with "This is what's wrong with you, you bastards" written on them.
"Is THIS what you want to be? Handsome, rich, never wanting for anyth- ... I may
need to rethink this argument."
Conversely, Titanic is a disaster movie crossbred with a mushy romance and set in an alternative dimension with completely different laws of physics, where it's somehow impossible for two people to share a gigantic floating door.
"Sorry, I like to stretch my legs."
Why It Could Actually Work:
I'm going to be honest with you: It's mainly because Leonardo DiCaprio plays the main character in both movies, helping my theory that Jay Gatsby and Jack Dawson are really the same person.
The 2013 version of The Great Gatsby, set in 1922, stars DiCaprio as the titular Gatsby, a mysterious rich guy whose main hobbies include throwing fancy parties and pining away for a girl. Little more is known about the character, but it is suggested that his fortune might have come from bootlegging alcohol. Now, let's look at Jack Dawson.
In 1912, Jack was a poor artist who fell into a whirlwind romance with a girl far above his station, and then the icy black waters of death. But for the sake of argument, let's imagine what would have happened if he'd survived the sinking of the Titanic.
He'd definitely land somewhere around New York, which is also where the plot of Gatsby takes place. He'd still be penniless, since almost freezing to death paid surprisingly little in the early 20th century. From there, it'd be a simple road to bootlegging and catching the once-in-a-lifetime break that'd allow him to become Jay Gatsby.
"Hello, TMZ? I have something you'll want to see, but it'll cost you."
Ah, but then what about Kate Winslet's Rose, the love of Jack's life for whom he almost died in this hypothetical scenario? Well, there's your answer: Loving Rose almost got him killed. And arrested, and shot at. It's not exactly a stretch of the imagination that the experience would've made Jack stop and say, "You know what? Fuck that door-hogging bitch."
Finally, both movies deal with the nature of wealth and how it affects people, so in the end, Titanic and The Great Gatsby could be Parts I and II of a story about how money does not equal happiness. When asked for comment, James Cameron and Baz Luhrmann could not be reached, due to their literally drowning in supermodels and champagne paid for by the proceeds from their movies.
Battlestar Galactica (2004) and Red Dwarf
Most of you are probably familiar with the 2004 reboot of Battlestar Galactica, a show about how advances in toaster technology will end up killing all humans. The plot of the series was pretty straightforward: It is the future (kind of), and humanity has been mostly wiped out by robots known as Cylons, leaving about 50,000 survivors to wander the cosmos in huge spaceships looking for a new planet to settle on.
It so happens that a sort of similar thing happens in the British comedy Red Dwarf, only with less robot sex along the way.
Hey, I said "less," not "no."
In Red Dwarf, spaceship technician Dave Lister gets put in suspended animation and wakes up 3 million years in the future, after everyone else on board his ship has died due to a radiation leak. Joined by the hologram of his former roommate, a humanoid cat, and later an android, Lister tries to get back to Earth while getting drunk on lager and generally bumming around in a creative, futuristic setting.
It was basically a live-action version of Futurama.
As you can see, the two series could not be more different. At its core, Red Dwarf is a lighthearted comedy, while Battlestar Galactica is "serious" sci-fi, exploring the nature of intelligence, sentience, and life. Any crossover between the two would thus be forced and nonsensical ... like the series finale of Battlestar Galactica.
Why It Could Actually Work:
A single piece of technology makes it possible for both shows to exist in the same universe.
First, we have to look at Battlestar's prequel series, Caprica, which dealt with life in the BSG universe before the Cylon attack. One of the main focuses of the show was the invention of a virtual avatar, which was like an algorithm of all your knowledge and thought processes that could create a digital copy of a person in a virtual setting. So while your mind and body could die, your "essence" could always be uploaded to the Caprica Internet, allowing you to stick your genitals into the Grim Reaper's face and tell him to go fuck himself.
Then you could do the same, if you were into that sort of thing.
The interesting part is that this technology also perfectly describes how holograms work in Red Dwarf.
In the show, Arnold J. Rimmer was brought back to life as a hologram with his memories, rat-faced personality, lack of charisma, and general cowardice recreated perfectly by the Red Dwarf computer. So if the two shows possess the same weirdly specific technology, who's to say they couldn't take place in the same universe, especially seeing as it would all fit perfectly with the cyclical nature of the BSG world?
A common saying in Battlestar Galactica is "All this has happened before, and all of it will happen again," and it was tied to the idea that the story of the series is doomed to repeat itself. Humans create artificial intelligence, get wiped out, revert back to the stone age, and round and round it goes until the end of time. So if that world's technological progress repeats itself, it could mean that Red Dwarf is just another spin of the Battlestar cycle where the resident A.I. simply hasn't gotten around to murdering all of the humans yet.
But when they do, it will be as horrifying as it will be hilarious.
Cezary Jan Strusiewicz is a Cracked columnist and editor. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.