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Sherman: How could I be talking to a fictional advertising character?
Morgon Salt Girl: Easy. We're both fictional characters. As such, this conversation is a virtual construct in the imagination of the reader.
Sherman: So, did that answer my question?
Morgon Salt Girl: (turns to leave) Yes, it did.

The classic crossover started itself off as a good way to make the best of what you've got — so if you have two shows on your roster, it's a no-brainer to have the shows and characters cross over every once in a while, especially if one of the shows is less popular than its sibling.

The popular way of doing this is the "true" crossover, in which a storyline will begin in one series and cross over into the next one, encouraging viewers to tune into a show that may be thematically similar but which they do not usually watch.

For example, Buffy the Vampire Slayer has a handful of episodes where the characters head off at the end, only to turn up in Angel straight after. This also works the other way, with a magic amulet in Angel turning out to be vitally important for the last-ever episode of Buffy. This also highlights one of the dangers of crossovers; if you or a fan watched only Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but not Angel, this particular amulet appeared to come totally out of nowhere to save the day... (See Red Skies Crossover.)

Sometimes this is done to provide the lead-in for a spin-off show, as happened with both of the CSI spin-offs.

Alternatively, a single popular character can cross over from one show into an other for a brief guest appearance; this has the effect of attracting that character's fans from the other show without requiring the writing teams to sync up or creating DVD- and arc-unfriendly episodes. This is very common in comic books, in which most characters are part of a larger universe, such as the Marvel Universe or The DCU. It happens less often in TV and movie properties based on comic books, since they are often made by different production companies. Compare Cameo Cluster if the story impact of the crossover is relatively minor.

Fanfiction loves doing crossovers, often of wildly different properties, helped immensely by its amateur status getting around the multiple copyrights that would otherwise be involved.

Examples of crossovers in media:

Also see:

List of crossover tropes:

Crossover stories (and plot devices)

Crossover settings (and canon/continuity)

  • Intercontinuity Crossover: A crossover between two different stories that are not (normally) set in the same universe.
  • Shared Universe: Multiple works of fiction are set in the same overall continuity, which allows for occasional (fully canon) crossovers.
    • Bat Family Crossover: A crossover that only affects people in one immediate in-universe location.
    • Canon Welding: An author takes two previously-unrelated works they made and fuses them together into one universe.
    • Crisis Crossover: A crossover between all the characters and settings within a Shared Universe.
      • Cross Through: Similar to a Crisis Crossover, but without intra-universe character interaction; a storyline starts like an installment of one story, then switches between different settings within that universe.
      • Red Skies Crossover: Similar to a Crisis Crossover, but while all the works within a universe are affected, the characters don't all meet each other.
    • Intra-Franchise Crossover: A crossover between different adaptations/continuities/universes within the exact same franchise (often as part of a shared multiverse).
    • Modular Franchise: Two media franchises created by the same company merge into one.
  • The World as Myth: The idea that every work of fiction ever created exists in one big multiverse, with each fictional universe making up one dimension; possibly even claiming that the real world is part of this omniverse.

Crossover characters

Alternative Title(s): Crossover Index, Crossover Tropes


Toon Dates

Daphne goes on a date with Ed.

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Main / Crossover

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