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Character Overlap
Characters in one series crossover to another series. A technique used to help define a 'Verse.

Examples:

Anime and Manga

Comics
  • This is what helped define the official Marvel and DC Universes back in the 50s and 60s.
  • Obscure 1980s black-and-white comic Tales from the Aniverse featured a cat bounty hunter named Miss Chevious. Cartoonist Randy Zimmerman carried the character over into her own series, which runs in Flint Comix & Entertianment over 20 years later.
  • The Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 comic Time Of Your Life crosses over with Fray, which takes place in the future. Buffy meets Melaka Fray and finds out that Willow is still alive and wants her dead. In season 9, Willow tries to keep this from happening.
    • Illyria shows up late in season 9.

Fan Works
  • Zany To The Max has at least one crossover per season. All the crossovers are in this style (either the Warners enter into the other series, or characters from the other series enter the Animaniacs world).
    • Played for laughs in a parody of Monsters, Inc. when Sekoila searches for a cat who has entered the Animaniacs world and misunderstands the Warners when they keep telling her about "South Dakota" (which happens to be the name of the cat).
    Yakko: Excuse me, Sekoila, but have you seen South Dakota?
    Sekoila: No, I haven't, Yakko. I've never even been there!
    • Interestingly, the Monsters, Inc. parody is in the third season, which consists of entirely crossover episodes!
  • While it's all fanfiction, Jake Englishs Mysterious Theater Of Scientific Romance From The Year 3000 has guest stars from Dinosaur Comics, Final Fantasy XIII-2, The DCU, That Guy with the Glasses, My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic and Pokémon. There's also an OC inspired by Cordless, and a Nasuverse OC.
    • This is very common in MSTs featuring an original team rather than the original MST3K team. Members of the crew can and do come from virtually any medium. For more examples, see the Refia forum.
  • Red Fire, Red Planet and Bait and Switch overlap some characters with both each other and with the Star Trek canon.
    • Ba'woV, chief engineer of the IKS mupwI' in RFRP, is stated to have been an engineer on a freighter called the Shargrash when she first met her current husband Brokosh, a Lethean mercenary now in the employ of the Klingon Defense Force. The Shargrash was the freighter that the USS Bajor rescued from some Jem'Hadar in chapter five of B&S.
    • Ensign Kate McMillan, a Mauve Shirt on the USS Bajor in B&S, is one of the viewpoint characters of RFRP.
    • Will Riker and Deanna Troi from Star Trek: The Next Generation also appear. Will is now a fleet admiral working at Starfleet Command, while Deanna is the head of the Diplomatic Corps. She doesn't get any lines because she's still asleep in her only scene (it being three in the morning in San Francisco when Will was called in due to an imminent Klingon attack on Sol).

Film
  • Jay and Silent Bob famously reappear in all six View Askewniverse films - and also pop up in Scream 3.
    • And some characters from different films are actually related to each other.
  • Han from The Fast and the Furious films is also the very same Han from Better Luck Tomorrow according to Justin Lin.
  • In the first live-action Transformers movie directed by Michael Bay, Travis Van Winkle plays a Jerk Jock named Trent DeMarco. The 2009 reboot of Friday the 13th, also produced by Michael Bay, has Travis Van Winkle play a Jerk Jock named Trent DeMarco. According to Word of God, they're the same character.
  • Like the comics it's based on, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has several overlapping characters. Not counting The Avengers, which has crossing over as a main selling point:
    • Nearly every movie in Phase One has an appearance by either Nick Fury or Agent Coulson. The exception is The Incredible Hulk, where Tony Stark represents SHIELD in their place.
    • Black Widow first debuts as a supporting character in Iron Man 2, then later becomes a supporting character in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Minor character Senator Stern also appears in both films.
    • Hawkeye appears in Thor before his major role in The Avengers.
    • Howard Stark, introduced in the Iron Man films as Tony's late father, plays a role in the franchise's WWII-era adventures (so far Captain America 1 and the Agent Carter One-Shot).
    • Iron Man 3 includes Bruce Banner in The Stinger as a gag.
    • Agents of SHIELD stars Coulson and has seen small appearances from just about every other agent seen in the movies and One-Shots, plus an episode inolving Thor's Lady Sif.

Literature
  • Although the Discworld is technically one series, readers tend to group the books according to which recurring protagonist is the focus, and certain said protagonists cross over briefly into other books. (In particular, Pterry has noted that it's very hard to set a novel in Ankh-Morpork without the Watch taking an interest.)
    • One What Could Have Been moment: at one point Pterry considered that the various powers attending the Low King's coronation in Thud! would include the King and Queen of Lancre. We'd know they were Verence and Magrat, but to Vimes they'd just be a couple of royals he was briefly introduced to.
  • One of Bret Easton Ellis's signature techniques: Clay, the protagonist of Less Than Zero, is a minor character in The Rules of Attraction; Patrick Bateman, a minor character in The Rules of Attraction, is the protagonist of American Psycho, and so on.
  • Agatha Christie does this a fair bit. For example, Inspector Japp of the Poirot series appears in the first Tommy and Tuppence book.
  • Banjo Paterson's poem "The Man from Snowy River" namedrops the title character of another of his works, "Clancy of the Overflow." Clancy is also given a prominent role in the movie adaptation.
    • And "Harrison, who made his pile when Pardon won the cup" is presumably the narrator and placer of the victorious bet in Paterson's "Pardon, the Son of Reprieve".
  • Stephen King will often make brief references to characters and events from previous books, especially if those books took place in Castle Rock, Maine.
  • The character Hoid appears in all of the works of Brandon Sanderson set in the Cosmere (Mistborn, Elantris, The Stormlight Archive and Warbreaker) to serve various roles, such as a begger or a storyteller.
  • P. G. Wodehouse did this quite a bit, mostly by having characters in more than one series belong to the Drones Club or visit/make reference to Blandings Castle.
  • S.M. Stirling's Nantucket series is confirmed to be connected to the author's Emberverse series.
  • One of Thomas Disch's stories made a brief reference to the horrible fate of the main character in his story "The Roaches."
  • Several characters from L. Frank Baum's lesser-known books made appearances in Oz, most notably Cap'n Bill and his ward Trot, and a boy named Button-Bright who had a talent for ending up precisely where he wanted to be despite getting lost along the way.
  • Frequently occurs in the Tortall Universe by Tamora Pierce. In fact, it occurs in every sub-series. Alanna's crowd are significant characters in The Immortals, Daine is a friend of Keladry's in Protector of the Small, and Daughter of the Lioness is about, Alanna's daughter. The exception is Provost's Dog as it's a prequel; even then, the protagonist is an ancestor of Alanna's husband and meets one of Alanna's own ancestors.

Live-Action TV
  • Boston Public, Ally McBeal and The Practice had a crossover.
  • Beverly Hills 90210 begat Melrose Place which begat Models Inc. Characters like Jake from Melrose Place appeared on 90210 before Melrose Place began. Later Melrose Place characters appeared on Models Inc. (Amanda Woodward's mother and half-brother ran Models Inc.). Later, some of the original 90210 cast members returned for the reboot of 90210 and some of the original cast of Melrose Place returned for the reboot of that show as well.
  • Steve Urkel of Family Matters fame has appeared in both Full House and Step by Step.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer / Angel:
    • The characters in both shows inhabited the same universe and crossed-over regularly. Cordelia, Wesley and Spike are all characters who started on Buffy and then became main characters on Angel. It's worth noting that they are the ones who end up with the most character development, all ending their time in the Buffyverse very different from when they first appeared.
    • Rumor has it, if Firefly had continued, at some point, the crew would have been passing a bar, one of the characters in a long black coat would have said, "Nothing ever bloody changes," before turning around to reveal himself as Spike.
    • The Fray comics take place in the Buffyverse in the distant future, in which Buffy and the new slayers are long dead.
  • Thanks to a whole mess of anarchy, same thing went between Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess. Considering that Xena was originally a villain character from Hercules who ended up getting her own show, it was frankly inevitable.
  • Characters from Cheers, including Norm, Cliff, Rebecca, and Frasier appeared on Wings, and later on the spin-off Frasier.
    • Carla, Norm and Cliff were also in an episode of St. Elsewhere titled, amusingly enough, "Cheers". Carla has also appeared on the short lived Cheers spin-off The Tortellis which revolved around her ex-husband Nick, their brood of children and Nick's new wife Loretta most of which were recurring characters on Cheers.
  • Dr. Roxanne Turner from St. Elsewhere showed up on an episode of Homicide: Life on the Street. Dr. Victor Ehrlich from St. Elsewhere appeared in the Homicide movie.
    • Speaking of St. Elsewhere, related to this trope is the "Tommy Westphall Universe", a theory which posits that nearly 90% of all American television exists in a shared universe, which exists entirely inside the mind of Tommy Westphall, an autistic child character on St. Elsewhere who, in the series finale, is revealed to be looking into a snow globe and imagining the events of the television show. St. Elsewhere crossed over with many different shows, which themselves crossed over with, and spun off, many different shows, which themselves crossed over, etc, creating an interweaving "universe" than encompasses a good majority of American television.
  • Richard Belzer has played Baltimore (later NY) PD detective John Munch on approximately a dozen different TV series.
    • In addition to Belzer's example, Law & Order: SVU had Angie Harmon from the parent series consulting in the first series before they got their own, dedicated prosecutor. Whoever was playing the District Attorney in the parent series would also occasionally have an appearance.
  • Characters from Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis regularly crossover.
    • Several characters from SG-1 have also appeared on Stargate Universe more than once.
    • McKay and Woolsey were both introduced as one-off antagonists in SG-1 before becoming regular characters on Stargate Atlantis. They both appeared in the Stargate Universe Season 2 episode "Seizure" to boot, making them the only Atlantis regulars bar Samantha Carter to appear in Universe.
  • Characters from Friends and Mad About You have crossed over. Mostly it's been Phoebe and Ursula Buffet, identical twins both played by Lisa Kudrow. Kudrow originally appeared as Ursula on Mad About You, and when she was cast as Phoebe on Friends, the two characters were made into twins to explain their identical appearance.
  • The Disney Channel did this with a triple crossover of some of their most popular shows, a mishmash called That's So Suite Life of Hannah Montana.
    • They performed another hodgepodge later, with Wizards on Deck With Hannah Montana.
  • Rare Panel Game example; before the final axing of its third part, Have I Got Buzzcocks All Over was an irregular Children in Need occurrence.
  • Jack Harkness debuted in Doctor Who then got spun off into his own show, Torchwood. Similarly, Sarah Jane Smith originated on Doctor Who back in the '70s, had a brief spinoff called K-9 and Company, then returned to the revived series in the mid '00s before receiving her own spin-off, The Sarah Jane Adventures, taking K-9 along with her. Both of them returned for the 2-part fourth series finale of Doctor Who which also brought along two other characters from their own shows (Mr. Smith and Luke from SJA and Gwen and Ianto from Torchwood). Earlier Martha Jones had appeared on Torchwood for a story arc and later the Tenth Doctor visited Sarah Jane on SJA. Both characters then later reappeared for the Tenth Doctor's last story along with several other characters who had appeared throughout his tenure. The Eleventh Doctor appeared on SJA bringing along Jo Grant who was a companion to the Third Doctor just before Sarah Jane. Meanwhile, an early version of K-9 that had been Put on a Bus back in 1978 was featured in a non-BBC spin-off, K9.
  • In the Cold Open of the episode "Seminar" from The Office (US), Michael Scott runs into David Brent, his counterpart from the original British series. David appears again in the season 7 finale "Search Committee" as one of the people auditioning to replace Michael as manager.
  • The character Director Leon Vance appears in both NCIS and, its spin-off, NCIS: Los Angeles, being that he is the director of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service in CBS's NCIS franchise.
    • A very subtle version happens in the first season of NCIS when Bud Roberts from JAG appears as to consult on an old case.
  • The character Penelope Garcia is the technical analyst in both Criminal Minds and its spin-off, Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior.
  • The second season finale of Cougar Town features appearances by Ted Buckland and Abed.
    • The second season finale of Community also features a brief blink and you miss it cameo of two characters from Cougar Town. Also, Abed references his being an extra on Cougar Town in Community.
    • Oddly enough, while some actors who have appeared in creator Bill Lawrence's earlier series Scrubs have also appeared in Cougar Town, Ted is the only character that appears in both shows, and the show Scrubs exists in that universe. He even noticed how weird it was that some of the characters in Cougar Town looked like people he knew.
  • Naturally, the different iterations of Star Trek feature cameos from different characters, and share recurring nemeses like Q and The Borg. Worf is particularly notable for being a main character on both Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. O'Brien also counts; he started out as a nameless extra in TNG's pilot episode, becoming one of the most recurring characters on the show before being promoted to series regular on DS9.
    • He's also an identically-named Identical Grandson of Colonel Worf in the last original Star Trek movie, allowing Worf to sorta be in three series.
    • Every Star Trek series begins with a sendoff from someone from another (except the original, of course.) In Star Trek: The Next Generation McCoy visits the new Enterprise; in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Picard arrives at the station; in Voyager, we first meet Harry at Quark's bar. Of course, Star Trek: Enterprise is harder to do it with without Time Travel, but we do see a video of Zefram Cochrane, played by the same actor as in Star Trek: First Contact. And, Will Riker is actually in the holodeck playing out a historical recreation for the final episode (now considering this is a prequel series...)
      • Even the films follow this: Star Trek: Generations includes several original cast members in the beginning and Kirk via basically time-travel passes the torch to Picard. While, in the more recent reboot, Spock travels back in time and explains the origin of the villain.
  • Mr. Drucker appeared on both Green Acres and Petticoat Junction, as his grocery store was frequented by both show's characters. The two shows often had characters visit each other regularly in the early seasons.
  • Once Upon a Time and Once Upon a Time in Wonderland are set in the same 'verse and have had several one-way (OUAT-to-OUATW) crossovers. The crossover is set to happen the other was as ABC announced in April 2014 that at least one major character from the now-cancelled Wonderland is to join the regular cast of the parent series for the 2014-15 season.
  • Ray Barone and Doug Heffernan were shown to be neighbors and often appeared on each other's shows.

Newspaper Comics
  • Bloom County cartoonist Berke Breathed carried over two characters from The Academia Waltz, a strip he did for his college's newspaper: Steve Dallas and Cutter John (then known as Saigon John).

Video Games

Western Animation
The ChampionCharacters as DeviceCharacter Witness
Canon WeldingCrossover IndexCommon Crossover

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