These days, it seems like every film production company on the planet is focused on making sure their products all share a universe. Warner Bros. has bet it all on the DC Extended Universe, Marvel has built a world-class studio around its shared Universe. Universal meanwhile, is rolling out the first of its shared universe films based on its classic movie monsters. It might seem like a new trick to pull, but some of our favorite films, TV shows, and comics, have always shared some DNA with other popular titles, you just didn’t realize it. Here are some old-school shared universes you didn’t even know existed.
1. ‘Inglourious Basterds’ and ‘True Romance’
Inglourious Basterds tells the story of a renegade group of US soldiers whose sole purpose is to destabilize Nazi forces during the Second World War. One of the most feared members of this squad is Donny Donowitz, who goes by the nom de guerre, The Bear Jew. Meanwhile, in True Romance, which was written by a young Quentin Tarantino, the main character gets mixed up in a coke deal with Hollywood producer Lee Donowitz, Donny’s grandson. Too bad Lee shoots his mouth off, the deal goes sideways, and the producer is gunned down in a hail of gunfire.
2. ‘Star Wars’ and ‘E.T.’
Eagle-eyed fans may have already spotted this one, but ever since Spielberg’s original film, E.T., he and George Lucas have had a running inside joke about their famous universes overlapping. On Halloween night in E.T., the titular alien spends a few moments chasing after a kid who’s dressed as Yoda. E.T. shouts, “Home!” excitedly over and over again. It’s a clear reference to Yoda being a reminder of E.T.’s home neighborhood. Years later, George Lucas revisited the joke in Star Wars Episode III, when he plopped a few E.T.-style aliens in the midst of a raging Galactic Senate. The inference was clear, E.T. and his people are definitely residents of a galaxy far, far away.
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