Why Character Crossovers Work and How to Incorporate Them in Your Writing
The DC Universe shows on the CW have always done their crossover episodes well. Crisis on Infinite Earths which not only brings together all the heroes of the weekly series’ but also calls on TV shows and movies of the past. The Flash has always been good about pulling in past reference from the original Flash series that had its run in the 90s but with Crisis the producers drew beloved characters from Smallville, Teen Titans, early 60s Batman, and even threw a nod to Tim Burton’s Batman starring Michael Keaton which was the spark that set off the wave of superhero movies over three decades.
Adding this type of nostalgia gets people excited. I for one couldn’t wait to see Tom Welling reprise his iconic role as Clark Kent/Superman. The only one missing was Justin Hartley as the Green Arrow, I always loved him in that role. In fact, I preferred his performance as Green Arrow to Stephen Amell’s but that’s just the point. Everyone has their favorites so when you pull them all together into cross over shows it becomes a fun adventure for everyone involved and makes the individual series that much more exciting because it pulls them out of their usual pattern and shakes things up.
In a similar vein the Marvel heroes on Netflix pulled together for The Defenders. It only lasted for one season, and unfortunately all the shows have since been canceled from Netflix. But having Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist team up just that once was fun to watch. You get to know the characters on their individual programs and then see them interact together which makes an interesting dynamic.
Of course, the Marvel Cinematic Universe mastered this with the Avengers movies. The build up to these films as they crossed over individual movies paid off in a big way when the final installment Endgame finally hit the big screen.
But you knew that!
Have you ever thought about doing a crossover with your creative project? For instance, say you have an established series of novels that you’ve already created and now you’re working on a new series. Do you have room in the current series for some of your established characters from series 1 to make a cameo?
Let me explain further. My “Lucky” trilogy is a series of novels based in the world of Las Vegas that focus on a man named Lucky Luchazi. Lucky has to deal with some very weird, supernatural type elements invading Las Vegas. It started as a standalone novel titled Lucky Sevens but I enjoyed the characters so much I started the sequel Lucky Stars right around the same time I started on the sequel to my Silke Butters Superhero Series. Now Silke lives in Los Angeles where she’s been dealing with newly acquired superpowers and shady villains.
The themes of the novels and the geography aren’t so far from each other that I decided while writing Kourage which is book 2 in the Silke Butters Superhero Series, to drop Lucky in for a cameo.
Will this work with every title? Probably not and you shouldn’t do it all the time because you’ll wind up confusing your fans. But, if you cross your characters over in a smart way that blends them into the new story it becomes something of an Easter egg in your book for your readers to find and it’s a unique way of tying all of your stories together.
I also have to say for myself that it’s really fun having Lucky interact with Silke.
Fun should be had when writing. I’ve seen so many new authors worried about the rules. Some of the best writing came from when the writers threw out the rules and just wrote from heart. Don’t believe me? Listen to Chuck Palahniuk backstory sometime…you’d be surprised.
Have you ever done a crossover with your characters? How did it work out?