Creating multiple films set in the same universe became a popular endeavor in the 2010s, as studios sought to cash in as Marvel has with the MCU. Disney, which owns Marvel, also snapped up Star Wars, and immediately employed the strategy of spinning off annual movies in the same universe. Other shared universe movies underway in the wake of Marvel's success include the Warner Bros MonsterVerse, which was created to bring Godzilla and King Kong face-to-face again, and Universal building a Dark Universe (interconnected remakes of the studio's classic monster movies like The Mummy, Dracula, and Frankenstein).
The shared universe films on this list differ from those in aforementioned cinematic universes in that they are not intentional attempts at franchise-building and serialization, but rather contain subtle clues and meta nods to one another. As you'll see, movies that take place in the same universe aren't always so obvious as to share continued plot threads. But there’s no doubting the link between them, no matter how small the sample may be.
The world is full of fan theories about films that might exist in the same universe. The movies on this list are those for which there is clear evidence to back up their being films in the same universe.
Blade Runner, The Alien Franchise, And PredatorPhoto: 20th Century Fox
The dark, futuristic worlds of Blade Runner and Alien are linked by the two men running their most powerful corporations.
In the Prometheus Blu-ray special features, artificial intelligence creator Peter Weyland talks about his “mentor and long-departed competitor.” He makes references to how this man ruled like “God on top of a pyramid overlooking a city of angels.” These are obvious references to fellow AI mastermind Eldon Tyrell, the creator of Blade Runner's replicants, who ran Tyrell Corporation from a pyramid-shaped building in dystopian Los Angeles.
Weyland also says Tyrell’s creation “literally blew up in the old man’s face.” In Blade Runner, Tyrell had his eyes gouged by replicant Roy Batty.
There are several other Easter eggs that have popped up in the history of these two franchises, but this is the clearest example of a crossover. Because Prometheus exists in the same universe as Blade Runner, all other Alien films must, as well. By extension, the Predator films also take place in this universe, because of Aliens vs Predators. Here's hoping Schwarzenegger ends up in a time-travel-based Predator-Blade Runner-Alien crossover.Agree or disagree?
Ghostbusters, Casper, And Caddyshack
Casper proved itself part of the Ghostbusters universe when a friendly buster of ghosts made a house call all the way up in Friendship, Maine in 1995.
The shared universe here makes total sense: it's only natural a ghost movie like Casper would feature a pop-in from proton pack-wielding Ray Stantz (Dan Aykroyd). The scene in which Stantz appears comes and goes in a matter of seconds, but works in a play on the “Who you gonna call?” Ghostbusters slogan.
Here's where things get weird. In a deleted scene from Ghostbusters, Bill Murray plays Carl Spackler from Caddyshack. He walks around Central Park engaging in a spirited debate with an electrolarynx-voiced homeless man played by Dan Aykroyd. If Ghostbusters and Caddyshack are connected, and Ghostbusters and Casper are connected, Casper and Caddyshack must be connected.Agree or disagree?
Machete And Spy Kids
Spy Kids is a weird children’s adventure with a villain named Fegan Floop and robotic minions with heads and limbs made of thumbs. Machete is cartoonish in a different way, with an R-rating due to its excessive violence and occasional nudity. The movies have the same writer-director, Robert Rodriguez, and are connected by a man who goes from caring uncle to revenge-hungry badass.
That is Machete, played by Danny Trejo. Also known as Isador Cortez, Machete makes appearances in all four Spy Kids films as uncle to titular kids Carmen and Jun. Machete also appears in a fake movie trailer directed by Rodriguez for Grindhouse that eventually became the template for the movie Machete.Agree or disagree?
Daredevil And Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Daredevil and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles haven’t had much critical success on the big screen in their post-2000 X-Men iterations, so it seems ironic these crashed-and-burned franchises originated from the same car wreck.
In the comics, Daredevil gets his powers when when he’s hit with a radioactive canister while saving a blind man from a speeding truck. Though he's blinded by its impact, the contents of the canister heighten his other senses. That very same canister mutates the turtles after falling with them into a nearby sewer.
There is no blatant crossover in any of the films, but there are some wild mash-ups in comics. Perhaps Marvel and Paramount will agree to a movie or TV crossover some day down the line. Surely the Ninja Turtles would help Matt Murdoch a lot more than Iron Fist.Agree or disagree?