Last week, San Diego Comic-Con unleashed a slew of new trailers, including an all-new look at DC’s Shazam! Fury of the Gods and the upcoming Black Adam. Unbeknownst to the average moviegoer, these two films are connected; the latter is a spin-off of the former, and moving forward they will both feature predominantly in the DC Extended Universe.

This got us thinking about other movies that are connected, which you may never have realised. Some seem to be obvious while others are perplexing, so let’s take a look at five flicks that can be tied together by even the most tenuous of threads.

The Transporter (2002) and Collateral (2004)
These two movies make for a peculiar pairing for sure, but the exploits of Frank Martin (Jason Statham) from the Transporter franchise and Vincent (Tom Cruise) from Michael Mann’s Collateral occupy the same cinematic world. In fact, the two dudes even share screen time, as revealed in a brief encounter at the start of Collateral when Jason Statham’s character makes an exchange with Cruise.

While the identity of Statham’s character in the cameo has never been officially confirmed as Frank Martin, director Michael Mann has been suspiciously and intentionally coy on the matter, leaving the mystery for the viewer to determine.

Far be it from an MCU-level crossover, it’s a fun piece of trail-mix for viewers to pick at nevertheless.

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Alien (1979) and Blade Runner (1981)
Ridley Scott’s two iconic film properties have each historically occupied their own distinct places in pop culture, and it was only after 20-ish years that the connection between them became apparent. Well… sort of.

Beginning as speculation amongst fans, a deeper dive into the two films revealed that they do actually take place in the same universe, albeit separated by time.

Keen observers will identify similar technologies featured in both films, as well as a digital paper trail linking the Weyland Corporation from Alien with the Tyrell Corporation from Blade Runner. Furthermore, Ridley Scott has hinted that the landscape of Blade Runner is the same Earth from which the crew of the Nostromo (from Alien) hail, and while it’s a very fine thread, we are happy to pull it.

In an even more preposterous proposal, Blade Runner scribe David Peoples is on the record stating that his 1998 movie Solider, starring Kurt Russell, is also a sidequel to Blade Runner – and that he intentionally wrote it as such. While the story of genetically engineered soldiers definitely fits the bill, the only actual evidence of a connection resides in a fleeting glimpse of a spinner vehicle wreckage in a junkyard on a distant planet. This sounds more like a cheeky Easter egg to us, but we’ll take Peoples’ word for it.

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Spy Kids (2001) and Machete (2010)
The fact that an ultra-violent movie is connected to a fun family classic is nothing new to fans of director Robert Rodriguez. His popular character of Machete (played by Danny Trejo) has successfully pinballed between the franchises without controversy, embraced by children and adults alike.

The character first appeared in Spy Kids as the estranged uncle of Carmen and Juni, who has a mysterious past and now owns a spy gadget shop. He would go on to appear in two more Spy Kids movies before appearing in a faux commercial in the original theatrical cut of Grindhouse, which subsequently led to his own self-titled feature film. Machete (2010) brought the character into the R-rated world of cinema, and depicted his exploits with a violent and unapologetic assault on the senses.

Machete returned in a fourth Spy Kids instalment in 2011, followed by Machete Kills in 2013, and again in the animated series Sky Kids: Mission Control.

During a Q&A with fans on Reddit, while explaining the character’s presence in the two opposing franchises, Danny Trejo quipped that the Machete films were “what Uncle Machete does when he’s not taking care of the kids”, whereas Robert Rodriguez took more of a party-pooper position by stating that the franchises were two alternate realities.

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Twin Peaks (1990) and Mulholland Drive (2001)

Although the similarities between David Lynch’s Blue Velvet (1986) and Twin Peaks (1990) are stronger (with their seedy explorations of the dark side of suburbia), the latter is actually connected to Mulholland Drive (2001); Lynch has officially confirmed them to be of the same cinematic universe.

During the haunting ‘Silencio’ sequence of Mulholland Drive, Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee) from Twin Peaks can be seen sitting amongst the audience, which is believed to be an intentional acknowledgement that the films are of the same world. It’s a micro-fibre of a thread, however it makes sense considering that Mulholland Drive was originally conceived as a Twin Peaks spin-off series, continuing the story of Audrey Horne (Sherilyn Fenn). Naomi Watts was eventually cast in the role intended for Fenn, and we will just ignore the fact that she later appeared as a different character in the third series of Twin Peaks (whoopsie).

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Admittedly, all of these connections have been tenuous at best, and rather than get too serious for our final example we thought we’d keep the ball rolling with a connection that very few people know about.

Jackie Brown (1997) and Out of Sight (1998)
These two films were both adapted from Elmore Leonard novels, with Quentin Tarantino at the helm of Jackie Brown and Steven Soderbergh steering Out of Sight. Michael Keaton plays the same character, Ray Nicolette, in both films; first as an FTA agent in Jackie Brown, who uses the titular character to stage a sting operation, and again as a newly promoted FBI agent in Out of Sight, who is engaged to Jennifer Lopez’s character.

He sports the same jeans and leather jacket combo in both films and chews gum with that trademark wise-ass demeanour that we’ve come to love Keaton for. Furthermore, the films were shot back to back, and the story goes that Soderbergh caught vision of Keaton’s performance while Jackie Brown was being edited and he saw no reason not to recast the role.

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Examples of movies criss-crossing universes are a plenty, and Tarantino’s world probably takes the cake. The best examples would be Reservoir Dogs‘ Vic Vega (Michael Madsen) being the brother of Pulp Fiction‘s Vincent Vega (John Travolta), with additional character connections between those and other Tarantino-penned films such as True Romance and Natural Born Killers to be made.

And for the sake of future trivia nights, here are some more interconnected movies that you can take to the bank: Transformers/G.I. Joe, Trading Places/Coming to America, The Commitments/The Van/The Snapper, Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation/The Butcher Boys, Ghostbusters/Casper and American Psycho/Rules of Attraction. We’ll leave the how’s and why’s for you to discover.