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Fake Crossover

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"Don't worry, bro, none of this is canon."

A Crossover which, for some reason or other, clearly doesn't count even remotely within the continuity of the visiting characters, the host characters, or both. Everyone might look and act the same, but you know these events are actually never going to be referenced again. This is generally due to one of two things, if not both:


  1. Copyright issues. In some cases, character ownership prevents one universe from acknowledging the other outside the special circumstances of the crossover and others like it. For example, the universes of Marvel and DC Comics have crossed over occasionally, but as they are each owned by rival conglomerates, constantly asking permission to have characters from one talk about characters from the other outside of a joke or parody is more of a hassle than its worth.
  2. Story issues. In other cases, the crossing universes are just so different that having the crossover be canon just doesn't make any sense for one or both of the properties. Maybe the usual tones are different, such as one being a plot-heavy Dramedy and the other a Widget Series with a loose grip on continuity?note  Maybe the writers feel like acknowledging the crossover would mess with whatever Myth Arc is going on in one of the properties? Or maybe the crossover was really just because Rule of Fun, and how it would make sense was the farthest thing from anyone's mind. Or maybe all three.

See also: Massive Multiplayer Crossover (which have a tendency to fall into this trope) and Comic Relief (if this isn't going to be canon anyway, might as well make things as silly as possible).


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  • Progressive, an insurance company with plenty of advertisement, had an advertisement cross over with Sonic the Hedgehog of all characters! Sonic can be seen speeding around in the set as Flo tells him all the ways Sonic can save on his insurance. The scene even uses the invincibility and extra life themes from Sonic the Hedgehog 3, leading to many late Sonic fans who found the songs on YouTube being surprised that the songs existed prior to the commercial.

    Anime and Manga 
  • This is a common occurrence in Hiro Mashima's works, where various characters from his older series make appearances in his later works. While they mostly crop up as cameos, two of his biggest examples are Plue from Rave Master, who appears in Fairy Tail, and Happy from the latter series, who similarly makes the jump into EDENS ZERO along with Plue, both being identical-looking yet completely separate characters in each series. He also uses various names of groups, places, and objects in each series, with Etherion, Oración Seis, and the Ten Commandments just to name a few.
  • The Lupin III vs. Detective Conan special and movie can't really take place in the same universe as the two series. Not only has Lupin been mentioned as a fictional character in one of the Detective Conan films, but Sherlock Holmes was a real-life person in Lupin's series, yet is still a fictional character in Conan's.
  • The One Piece X Toriko crossover manga and TV specials, the One Piece and Dragon Ball crossover, Cross Epoch, and the crossover special featuring all three. Interestingly, in the Super Collaboration Special, Luffy and Toriko recognize each other from their past meetings but have no idea who Goku is.
  • Kids' WB!'s promos had moments like Team Rocket sneaking into Yu-Gi-Oh!'s Duelist Kingdom, or the entire network's casts going on road trips and doing stunts together.

    Comic Books 
  • Most crossovers between Marvel and DC Comics never get referenced in their own lines. The exception is JLA/Avengers, which had lasting influences on DC's universe, though the other company's characters can't be mentioned or depicted in flashbacks.
    • Amusing lampshade: A villain that first appeared in a Batman/Punisher crossover turned up in Nightwing. Nightwing had a rare memory lapse about the name of the other guy he met him with. ("Out-of-town psycho vigilante... want to say 'The Puncturer'? Something like that...")
      • Azrael references longtime Punisher foe Jigsaw by name during the Knightsend story arc, indicating that the crossover between Punisher and the Azrael-Batman was either canon for the sake of DC's side of things, or that someone messed up in writing the script for the issue in which it is mentioned.
      • What makes it awesome is that the Batman/Punisher crossover was the second part of a two-part story. The first one? Archie Meets the Punisher, which also Sequel Hooked it.
    • Another lampshade happens in the first Batman/Spider-Man crossover. Spidey mentions his allies the Avengers and the Fantastic Four, then says he keeps waiting for Superman to call him, then is cut off because Batman seems to take slight offense at that.
    • It used to be a roughly-annual tradition, back in the 70's, for both the Justice League and The Avengers to have a story taking place at the Rutland, Vermont Halloween parade. At least once, events in them influenced each other. It even spread to three other comic companies (Whitman, Charlton, and Warp). More info here:
    • One story that started in Aquaman #56 was concluded in Sub-Mariner #72, written by the same author. (Mind you, there was a three year gap between the two issues).
    • Are we also assuming that Guiding Light did not in fact take place in the Marvel Universe? ...good.
    • Another amusing lampshade: After the DC vs. Marvel/Marvel vs. DC crossover, an issue of Extreme Justice showed Blue Beetle stopping a villain using a sticky web substance. He proudly mentioned picking it up from a guy who recently visited from another universe. This earns extra in-joke points because they're both bug-influenced heroes co-created by Steve Ditko.
    • Parallax remembered that Cyborg (the evil Superman clone, not the one from the Teen Titans) once escaped to another universe, and that he had to pursue him. Just that. He does not mention Cyborg's fight with the Silver Surfer or his own fight with Thanos, at the Green Lantern-Silver Surfer crossover.
  • There were a few X-Men + Star Trek: The Next Generation comic crossovers, which is Hilarious in Hindsight thanks to Patrick Stewart.
    • These were followed by Star Trek: The Next Generation/Doctor Who: Assimilation², which was automatically made a Fake Crossover for on both sides via canon policies for both series (Star Trek comics are non-canon, period, whereas as a public broadcaster, the BBC's charter forbids its fiction programs to make plot-critical references to merchandise, which much of the Doctor Who Expanded Universe would qualify as, though the mini-sode "Night of the Doctor" averts that with the Eighth Doctor on screen name-dropping his expanded universe companions)
  • There was, actually, a crossover between Donald Duck and Tintin, entitled Freedom of Art (it hasn't been printed in the U.S. yet, and might never be). However, the current owners of the copyright to Hergé's characters threatened to sue Disney, leading them to slightly tweak the characters' names (Tintin became Denden, Haddock became “Hadciuk”…) and market it as a mere tribute.
  • Topps' Jason vs. Leatherface crossover, taking place after Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives, is an Alternate Continuity, as it features characters who are either deceased or have different names in their own stories.
  • NBC Saturday Morning Comics #1 has characters from several shows appearing together on the cover, but they are all self-contained stories.
  • The G.I. Joe comics had two in-continuity crossovers with The Transformers comics during the Marvel run (with one of them occurring within the regular G.I. Joe series). When the comic was later revived by Devil's Due, the events of both crossovers were retconned and major events in the crossovers that affected the ongoing continuity (such as Dr. Mindbender's revival) had to be explained differently.
    • G.I. Joe actually did this a few times. In Amazing Spider Man #268 (1985), Duke makes an unnamed appearance as head of a military unit assigned to carry out the wreckage of the Heroes for Hire building (which the Beyonder had turned into gold). It's the first item at the top of the page here: [1] There was also a short story in Action Force (which G.I. Joe was known as in the UK) in which Quick Kick narrates the story of Shang Chi, Master of Kung Fu, and explains that Shang Chi was his master. Quick Kick describes Shang Chi as the greatest artist he's ever known and places him above Iron Fist, Batroc, and Elektra. This was done to introduce readers to the Master of Kung Fu reprints that would become a back-up feature in the Action Force comics. The story can be enjoyed here [2]
    • Similarly, an early issue of The Transformers comics had the Autobots briefly teaming up with Spider-Man, before later issues indicated that the Transformers were in a separate universe from most other Marvel comics. A few issues after Spider-Man teamed up with them, Ratchet traveled to the Savage Land (Marvel's jungle hidden in the Antarctic where dinosaurs, cavemen, etc, still exist) to track down the Dinobots. And of course there was Circuit Breaker, whom Marvel snuck into a Secret Wars II appearance BEFORE her Transformers debut, just to cement her ownership as being wholly Marvel's.
    • Ironically in the original four issue mini, both Nick Fury and Dum Dum Duggan appear and briefly reference Godzilla's Marvel run when news first starts to spread about living robots coming out of Mt. Saint Helens. It should also be noted that the military vehicles used by the army in that episode were in fact G.I. Joe weapons: The MOBAT Tanks and the Wolverine Missile vehicle.
  • "Into the Great Unknown" is a Star Wars and Indiana Jones crossover where the Millenium Falcon crash-lands on Indy's homeworld and he finds a very familiar-looking fellow inside, dead.
  • Archie Meets the Punisher as it's obviously too ludicrous to be canon. The comic doesn't take itself too seriously, adding to the joke.
    • Similarly, Archie vs. Predator and its 2019 sequel count as this trope for both the classic and reboot series. The latter doubly counts since the survivors of the first series crossing over with the reboot characters is portrayed as a "Classic meets Modern" miniseries.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Martial Arts Movie titles may imply a crossover, such as Kung Fu Masters: Jackie Chan vs. Bruce Lee, Bruce Lee vs. Jackie Chan, or Jackie Chan vs. Jet Lee; these are collections of separate movies. Movies like Cinema of Vengeance, Top Fighter and The Deadliest Art may claim to be starring all of the main actors featured on the cover, but are actually documentaries full of Stock Footage interviews and movie clips.
  • An advert for Sky Movies cuts together multiple James Bond car chases to make them appear to be racing/chasing/killing off each other. Since canonically they're all supposed to be the same person...
  • In Pixels, the video game characters are not part of a crossover, as they are aliens appearing as video game characters.
  • Kamen Rider G has a scene where Decade appears and calls in the other Heisei Riders to give G a pep talk. It's also a one-off special Affectionately Parodying the entire Kamen Rider franchise, so odds are it's not canon to any of the shows, especially considering the Big Bad of G shows up in Decade as the Big Bad of the World of Kabuto arc with nary a reaction and G himself never appears in any crossover film gathering all Riders.
    • Both Kamen Rider Den-O and Kamen Rider Fourze have met the cast of Crayon Shin-chan; the former has Shinnosuke transforming into Kamen Rider Shin-O with the power of the Three-Assed Pig Imagin, while in the latter he turns into an Astro Switch that lets Fourze undergo a Toon Transformation.
    • In regards to Kamen Rider as a whole, the annual Movie Wars films tend to fit this trope when it comes to the current show (for the cast of the previous show, it tends to be a Postscript Movie or more rarely a Grand Finale). The Rider will gain some kind of movie-exclusive Super Mode or item that never turns up in the series proper, and they'll never think to ask the Riders they met before for help when things start looking bad later in their own series. In a few cases, the movie completely clashes with the series' continuity or the characters' established personalities (the biggest offender being Kamen Rider OOO's portion of Movie Wars Core). Kamen Rider Fourze is a rare exception to this as Fourze does use the Super Mode he gained in Movie Wars Megamax later on in the series.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The charity special "Dimensions in Time" was a Doctor Who/EastEnders crossover. Since the shows have since been shown as Mutually Fictional, it's probably fair to say it never happened. (And before the new Doctor Who series established it as such, the tie-in novel First Frontier wrote it off as All Just a Dream).
  • A promo for the Japanese DVD season sets of House featured the title character teaming up with fellow Dr. Jerk Black Jack.
  • One of the sweeter crossover-yet-not-a-crossover moments occurred on I Love Lucy. George Reeves appeared, wearing his Superman costume, and was referred to exclusively as "Superman" by the rest of the cast. The dialogue was designed to avoid spoiling for the children in the audience the illusion that this was the genuine Superman — while making it clear to the adults watching the program that Ricky and Lucy were interacting with the actor George Reeves and calling him Superman merely as a playful but respectful reference to his famous character. There's a meta-joke where Reeves moves a piece of heavy furniture — causally — with one hand — and the adults looked momentarily stunned. Maybe it WAS a crossover?
  • Monk and several of the USA Network shows including The 4400 and Psych were crossed over in a series of their commercials. Since Monk takes place in San Francisco CA, The 4400 in Seattle WA, and Psych in Santa Barbara, CA — it's unlikely the crossover would ever happen canonically to any of the aforementioned shows.
    • USA loves doing this:
      • The campaign leading up to the premiere of In Plain Sight had Mary being visited by characters from USA's other shows, who would give her "housewarming" gifts and welcome her to "the neighborhood". Perhaps the funniest involved WWE wrestler The Big Show bringing Mary a gift wrapped folding chair, then being denied access to her bathroom.
      • Similarly, in one ad for Royal Pains, Michael Westen sends Hank Lawson a care package containing sunglasses, sunscreen, and a brick of C4 "because you never know when you'll need a stable plastic explosive."
      • The characters from White Collar have started appearing in these as well - they have done crossover commercials with Psych, WWE Raw (the Big Show again) and Burn Notice.
      • Also, in celebration of Monk's final season, USA released a new round of ads where the characters from all of its currently airing original shows (Burn Notice, Psych, In Plain Sight, Royal Pains, WWE Raw, Law & Order: Criminal Intent) give their opinions and recount their experiences with the titular detective.
      • In the series finale of Psych, Shawn goes to San Francisco to be with Juliet and Gus follows. While the Chief is happy to see them, she mentions they already have a consultant who is implied to be Monk (said consultant is said to be "in the kitchen, alphabetizing the cereal boxes"), making this more interesting.
    • The commercials for Hellboy II: The Golden Army did the same thing, with Big Red meeting up with James Lipton, Chuck, appearing on Ghost Hunters and American Gladiators and doing a "The More You Know" PSA.
    • In 2009, ABC started a new ad campaign called the "ABC House" in which characters from various ABC shows live together under one roof.
      • One such ad seemed designed to toy with Lost fans: Dominic Monaghan, who played Charlie, appears in one of the ads, even though he wasn't on an ABC show at the time. His death is even mentioned in the ad. Fans went wild wondering if the ad confirmed he was coming back to Lost. A few weeks later, he was revealed to be joining the cast of Flash Forward, a new ABC show...although he did appear throughout the final season.
  • The Muppets are prone to this:
    • The Cosby Show had an entire episode of a dream sequence, with the second half involving characters from The Jim Henson Hour.
    • Scrubs made a guest appearance in It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie, as Miss Piggy's very brief acting career (she plays a patient who dies during an operation).
      • In turn, Oscar the Grouch, Grover and Elmo from Sesame Street as well as a generic orange Muppet appear in the Scrubs episode "My ABC's". All within J.D.'s Imagine Spots, of course. And in turn, said generic orange Muppet would later make a cameo in a season 40 episode of Sesame Street; the scene in question doesn't mention Scrubs but it does implicitly alludes to it as its subject was x-rays.
    • There was of course The Muppet Show episode where Luke Skywalker, Chewbacca, C-3PO and R2-D2 guest starrednote , alongside Mark Hamill, presented in the show as Luke's "cousin." (This was apparently regarded by Lucasfilm as an "Infinities"-level canon material before the massive reorganization of Star Wars continuity.)
    • The Muppet Movie featured Big Bird in a cameo in which he is journeying to New York in order to make it in public television, something that would be out of odds with Sesame Street's treatment of the character.
    • Beaker is supposed to be related to WWE wrestler Sheamus according to a Monday Night Raw Halloween broadcast.
  • One episode of Roseanne had Luke and Laura, of General Hospital, talking with Dan and Roseanne about the wacky adventures each couple had experienced throughout their respective marriages.
  • The Christmas episode of Father Ted featured the cast of the contemporary Irish comedy Ballykissangel. However, it was a dream sequence.
  • Similar to USA Network above, MeTV commercials often feature characters from shows that air on the channel interacting with each other in silly ways, such as Carol Burnett being prosecuted in court by Perry Mason, MacGyver setting out to rescue Lucy, Kirk and Spock ending up in Mayberry after jumping through The Guardian of Forevernote , and Mama showing up pretty much anywhere in any show's universe.
  • Legends of Tomorrow has one in the most literal sense possible in Season 5: the Legends wander across a filming location for Supernatural while in British Columbia, and at one point poke around the Impala.

  • Avenue Q and Fiddler on the Roof had a hilarious one of these for the 2008 Easter Bonnet competition in which everyone was Jewish and lived on "Avenue Jew", obviously it didn't affect the plotline of either show.
  • Woody Allen's play God has as one of its characters Blanche DuBois, who escaped the two men who were trying to put her into a straitjacket at the end of A Streetcar Named Desire and wants desperately to get herself into a play where God exists.

  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles crossovers, including Star Trek: The Original Series, Universal Monsters, and Troll dolls, were typically the source material characters amalgamated with the four main turtles.
  • Transformers
    • The Animorphs crossover has characters turning into animals like in the source material, but it does not actually involve Transformers.
    • The G.I. Joe and the Transformers San Diego Comic-Con exclusives feature characters from both series. The sets are mostly commemorative instead of presenting a new story to justify the crossover.
    • The crossover with Star Wars features ships that turn into giant versions of Star Wars characters, fitting into continuity with your imagination.

    Video Games 

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • The Simpsons has done this innumerable times, such as:
  • South Park
    • A more blatant example would be when Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist appeared in "Summer Sucks" and was incinerated by lava.
    • In "Super Best Friends", the cast of That's My Bush! is shown in the White House. While both shows were created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, it still counts as fake since That's My Bush! is a live action show.
  • On The Venture Bros., Race Bannon from Jonny Quest makes an appearance in "Ice Station— Impossible!", but dies onscreen. In the season 2 episode "Twenty Years to Midnight", the group has an encounter with a deranged, drug-addled, middle-aged Jonny Quest.
    • In the third season you see Hadji working a desk job for Dr. Venture, Race in a flash-back torturing a SPHINX operative, Jonny working at a day camp hosted on the Venture compound, and Dr. Zin visits him.
      • The "fakeness" of these crossovers is debatable. Cartoon Network Studios — originally Hanna-Barbera — has the official rights to the Jonny Quest characters, and they were referred to by name, until...
      • From season three onward, the creators have walked this back a bit, referring to Johnny only by his first name and Dr. Zin only as "Doctor Z". This is due to an planned Live-Action Adaptation of Jonny Quest currently in Development Hell, which forced the writers to be more subtle about who the characters really are by turning them into pastiches of the Quest cast.
  • Family Guy
    • A Deleted Scene in the episode "Movin' Out (Brian's Song)" involves Quagmire visiting The Simpsons. This one is not an official crossover like The Simpsons Guy.
    • As well as the American Dad! characters in "Lois Kills Stewie", which was all just a simulation.
    • Roger's cameo at the end of the time-traveling season 5 finale.
    • The season 8 episode "The Splendid Source" has Peter and his friends trying to track down the origin of a dirty joke with Bender from Futurama being one in a chain of many others that have heard the joke.
    • Coach McGuirk from Home Movies appears at Mos Eisley cantina in "Blue Harvest."
  • Greg Weisman (creator of Gargoyles, The Spectacular Spider-Man and Young Justice) staged several radio plays for cons that were crossovers between his three shows. Naturally, it falls under this trope.
  • Stewie Griffin on Bones, via a brain tumour induced hallucination.
  • A series of promotional shorts for The Hub had Pinkie Pie messing with Dan from Dan Vs. Other shorts included the Transformers, Strawberry Shortcake, the Pound Puppies, and even Batman.
  • Did someone say promo? How about Nicktoons' Summer Beach House from 2002? Rugrats, Hey Arnold!, SpongeBob, Rocket Power, The Wild Thornberrys, and Jimmy Neutron.
  • Cartoon Network has a lot of promos featuring odd crossovers. Favorites include several superheroes from different cartoons going to a movie theater and an even larger crossover taking place in a cafeteria.
  • In the same vein, there's a set of Despicable Me ads for Japan set in the Inazuma Eleven 'verse as seen here.
  • Cosmo and Wanda appear in an episode of Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide. (Specifically, one of Ned's Imagine Spots)
  • The fourth season premier of Archer opens with what seems to be the eponymous restaurant of Bob's Burgers with the Belcher family inside, Bob (who happens to have the same voice actor as Archer) included. It turns out "Bob" was Archer, who was suffering from Identity Amnesia for a few months. Apparently there is no real Bob here and Linda's kids were from another marriage.
  • Oddly enough, this was averted by The Grim Adventures of the Kids Next Door. It was given a place in the continuity heavy Kids Next Door by its creator Tom Warburton, who placed the events of the special sometime after Operation: ZERO. In contrast, when asked about the canon status of this and the CN Invaded special for Billy & Mandy, Maxwell Atoms pointed out his show's far more casual relationship with continuity by jokingly stating "The only parts that are truly canon are the ones where a main character dies, is banished to another dimension forever, is erased from existence, or is turned into chocolate and devours himself."
  • Inspector Gadget appeared in one episode of Stunt Dawgs. It was a cameo and Sizzle told him he was in the wrong cartoon.
  • Phineas and Ferb:
    • The opening crawl for Phineas and Ferb: Star Wars flat out states that the special isn't canon for both franchises, so the audience should just relax and enjoy it.
    • Whether their crossover with the Marvel universe is canon or not is also debatable, and it's never referenced again in later episodes (though, a zany cartoon like Phineas and Ferb has only a loose sense of continuity at best, anyway).
  • An older Sally and Doowee from Sally Bollywood appear in an episode of Baskup – Tony Parker, but in that universe they're actors and Sally Bollywood was just a TV show.
  • Ickis, Krumm and Oblina from Aaahh!!! Real Monsters appeared in a Rugrats Halloween special as part of a dream sequence.
  • The Steven Universe episode "Say Uncle" has the show crossover with, of all series, Uncle Grandpa. The page quote is from that very episode, with Uncle Grandpa assuring both Steven and the audience that "None of this is canon."
  • Ben 10: Omniverse and The Secret Saturdays had a crossover episode called "T.G.I.S."(Thank Goodness It's Saturday)", where they joined forces to stop Dr. Amino and a resurrected V.V. Argost from raising an army of chupacabras. This episode was made years after Secret Saturdays ended and had no involvement from any of that show's production staff, making the events of this episode dubious canoncity for that series.
    • The Generator Rex crossover, however, is not one of these, since it introduced an alien on the Omnitrix— Shocksquatch— that Ben would go on to use in many subsequent episodes.
  • The Flintstones had an episode in which Samantha and Darrin Stephens of Bewitched fame move to Bedrock. Their relocation from a 1960s suburb to a stone age town never received another reference in either show, as Bewitched still showed the couple living in the '60s afterward.
  • Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue: A Massive Multiplayer Crossover wherein dozens of cartoon characters from various sources were brought together to make an anti-drug PSA. Obviously, this was completely separate from the canons of any of the source characters, as the various characters were seen coming alive from merchandise owned by the main character.
  • Mulder and Scully from The X-Files appear at the end of the Eek! The Cat episode "Eek Space 9", even being voiced by David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson. After a spaceship crashes into her office, Scully drops her skepticism of the existence of aliens, something that wouldn't happen on their own show for several years.


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