It seems like every film franchise is trying to create a cinematic universe these days. From the monolithic MCU to M. Knight Shyamalan’s Glass trilogy to Universal’s failed Dark Universe, plenty of movies are meant to connect to one another.
Not every connected movie is quite so obvious though. Sometimes it is only a split-second clue or a casual throwaway joke that ties them together, but the result is the same. From obscure links to bizarre cameos, these movies are more connected than one might think.
10 Alien and Blade Runner
Fans have argued that Ridley Scott’s masterpieces Alien and Blade Runner take place in the same universe for decades, but with each new installment of the Alien franchise, the connections seem to grow. The ties are somewhat tenuous, but many believe they are undeniable.
One piece of evidence is that both Alien and Blade Runner feature vehicles with an almost identical interface to start up. There also clear parallels between Alien’s androids and Blade Runner’s famous Replicants. The most clear evidence comes from bonus features on the Alien and Prometheus Blu-Rays however, in which characters very specifically reference Blade Runner’s Tyrell Corporation.
9 Alien and Serenity
Blade Runner is not the only legendary sci-fi series to share a universe with Alien, as Joss Whedon’s classic TV show Firefly and its follow-up film Serenity reference the franchise as well. During Firefly’s opening battle, Malcolm Reynolds operates a gun turret bearing a very familiar logo.
The “W” icon of the Weyland-Yutani Corporation from Alien is clearly visible in the turret’s interface, implying that the company is still going strong centuries after their encounters with the xenomorphs. The villainous Operative in Serenity even utters a line similar to Weyland’s slogan about “making better worlds.” If Firefly hadn’t been cancelled, perhaps this connection could have been explored.
8 Trading Places and Coming To America
John Landis enjoys putting little nods to his other work in his films, but one scene in Coming To America proves to go a little further than just a simple reference. Landis’ film Trading Places centers around Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd coming together to outsmart two corrupt businessmen, the Duke brothers.
A few years later, in Landis’ other film Coming To America, Eddie Murphy’s Prince Akeem generously gives two homeless men a huge wad of bills, only for them to reveal themselves as the villainous Dukes from Trading Places. They even address each other by name, proving that Trading Places and Coming To America share more than just a director.
7 Rules of Attraction and American Psycho
Both Rules of Attraction and American Psycho are based on novels by Bret Easton Ellis, and despite having very different premises, they are connected by more than just the author. The protagonists of both films, Sean and Patrick, are actually brothers.
Sean, the young, drug dealer protagonist of Rules of Attraction, is canonically the younger brother of American Psycho’s possibly murderous Patrick Bateman. Patrick is briefly referenced in the film, and was supposed to appear, but his scenes were later deleted.
6 Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Get Him To The Greek
2010 comedy Get Him To The Greek was a decent success, but has somewhat fallen by the wayside since its release. What some fans may not realize is that it is actually a spin-off of another Judd Apatow produced movie, Forgetting Sarah Marshall.
Russell Brand plays Aldous Snow, British rock star and former boyfriend of Forgetting Sarah Marshall’s titular actress. Get Him To The Greek gives Snow a more starring role as he tries to restart his musical career. A spin-off may be an obvious tie between movies, but for those not as familiar with the films, they may not have known they were part of the same series.
5 Back To The Future and Django Unchained
While the Back to the Future series did venture back to the Old West in the third installment, there was not much to connect it to Quentin Tarantino’s genre subverting Django Unchained. That was, until Seth MacFarlane’s A Million Ways To Die In The West.
In one scene in the film, protagonist Albert stumbles upon Doc Brown, who quickly covers up the famous DeLorean he is working on. The end of the film also contains a stinger where Django Unchained’s eponymous hero appears to shoot down the owner of a racist carnival game. Both are clearly portraying their famous characters, bringing the franchises together, albeit a bit loosely.
4 Die Hard 2 and Commando
Die Hard 2 did not reach the heights of its landmark first installment or the overlooked Die Hard With A Vengeance, but it was a fun slice of over-the-top action, much like the Arnold Schwarzenegger-led Commando. Surprisingly, the central plot of both movies also brings them into the same universe.
Both Commando and Die Hard 2 have their lead characters face off against dictators from the fictional country of Val Verde, which the United States evidently has a long-standing feud with. Not only this, but Val Verde is also the setting for the original Predator too, implying a whole Val Verde cinematic universe.
3 Wayne’s World and Terminator 2: Judgement Day
Terminator 2 is one of the most acclaimed action movie of all time, and Wayne’s World is a beloved comedy adaptation of a Saturday Night Live sketch. Despite their very different origins, a single cameo appearance actually puts them firmly in the same universe.
Late in Wayne’s World, Wayne is stopped by a police officer while driving. When he opens the window however, the officer is revealed to be none other than the T-1000 himself, who asks Wayne if he has seen John Connor. Robert Patrick reprises his role, although Wayne thankfully escapes being terminated himself.
2 Spy Kids and Machete
Danny Trejo’s famous assassin Machete is a decidedly not family-friendly character, due to his penchant for ultra-violence, but his first appearance is actually in Robert Rodriguez’s children’s series Spy Kids. After a joke trailer in the Grindhouse double feature, Machete has since gone on to spawn his own series of films.
Despite having two films of his own, Machete has appeared in every Spy Kids movie as the uncle of the two leads, even referred to as “Uncle Machete”, to offer help or useful gadgets. While Robert Rodriguez suggests that they are two alternate universes, many fans and Danny Trejo himself disagree.
1 Animal House and The Twilight Zone: The Movie
National Lampoon’s Animal House and the film adaptation of The Twilight Zone are about as different as two films can get. One is a slapstick comedy about the world’s worst fraternity, and the other is a horror anthology based on a legendary tv show.
Believe it or not though, the two films actually take place in the same universe, and share a character. Doug Neidermeyer, one of Animal House’s antagonists, is revealed in the credits to have been shot by his own troops during the Vietnam War, and during John Landis’ Vietnam segment of Twilight Zone, a soldier can be overheard lamenting their murder of Neidermeyer, as they now have no commanding officer. It could be a simple reference to Landis’ earlier film, but it implies that the two actually share a universe.
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