|Trope · Genre|
|Related:||Alternate Universe, Alternate Reality, crack, fusion|
|See Also:||crossover pairings|
|Tropes · Slash Tropes · Tropes by Fandom|
|Click here for related articles on Fanlore.|
A crossover is a fanfiction story in which two or more fandoms are combined in some way. Crossovers are an old story trope of fanfiction; as soon as fans started writing stories in more fandoms than just Star Trek, they started crossing those sources together. In story notes, a crossover is frequently notated with an 'x', so a Star Trek story crossed over with Star Wars is sometimes written as ST/SW and sometimes written ST x SW.
Crossovers may take place in many ways. In the most common form, characters from Fandom A may meet characters from Fandom B (i.e., a Stargate Atlantis story in which The Doctor visits Atlantis, perhaps with a Companion or two in tow). Crossovers can involve as many fandoms as the author(s) can juggle; there's no limit to the potential madness and creativity of the exercise.
Fusions are a kind of crossover or AU where characters from one fandom (Fandom A) may be imported into the setting of another fandom (Fandom B). Fandom A characters may take on the roles of Fandom B characters (i.e., a Stargate Atlantis story in which John Sheppard is a Sith lord and Rodney McKay is a Jedi) (perhaps in a story strangely like this one: The Dark Side, by Astolat) and not interact with Fandom B characters at all, or only very peripherally.
Crossover fusions with romance movies (An Affair to Remember, American Dreamer, You've Got Mail, etc.) have been written in slash forever, but for some reason, they're rarely considered crossovers; they're just considered AUs, perhaps because the romance movies rarely have a fandom following of their own.
A special case are crossovers between sources that share the same actor, e.g. between SGA and Traders which both star David Hewlett. These same-actor crossovers sometimes draw criticism for requiring more suspension of disbelief, and in the case of same actor pairings also for blurring the line between character and actor slash, especially in the past when RPS was less widely accepted. In some cases these crossovers even rate their own pairing names, communities and challenges. For instance, in SGA fandom, a common crossover technique is to write a character of David Hewlett's (from a show other than SGA) in a romance with a character of Joe Flanigan's (also from a show other than SGA) - this crossover pairing is known as Hewligan, and can refer to a variety of pairings (i.e., Grant Jansky (Traders)/Pete Sherman (Sherman's March), or Michael (Century Hotel)/Nick (Farewell to Harry). Similarly, characters played by Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye in The Avengers) are often used in crossovers with Mission Impossible etc., and there is a common trope that all characters played by this actor are actually Clint Barton in disguise.
Another variant of actor crossovers would be a crossover between the fictional and "real," worlds, with actors meeting the characters they play; for example, Jensen Ackles meeting Dean Winchester. In other cases, two characters played by the same actor turns out to be the same person, for example Claude Rains from Heroes turns out to be the Ninth Doctor in disguise, or Ducky Mallard from NCIS is actually an older Illya Kuryakin from Man from Uncle.
This theme can be inverted in stories in which different versions of the same character (portrayed by different actors or in different media) meet; for example, versions of Superman from Superman Returns and Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, Sherlock Holmes from Sherlock and Elementary, etc. Usually the explanation involves Alternate Universes.
Using official crossovers
In some fandoms, it's not unusual for two or more fannish sources to have crossover episodes or events in canon. Typical examples are comic company crossovers between DC and Marvel, like the JLA vs. Avengers mini-series. TV shows (especially ones made by the same production company) also do crossovers. The latter can be double episodes like between CSI: Las Vegas and Without A Trace (or back in the day, between Magnum PI and Simon & Simon) or implied crossovers through character appearances, like of Homicide's John Munch showing up, in character, on the X-Files. In some TV series the official crossover implications are almost byzantine through a series of such overlaps, and tracked on fansites devoted to this phenomenon. Doctor Who and Torchwood are so intertwined that some people don't even consider stories that draw on both sources to be crossovers.
Crossovers and meta
Sometimes the point of a crossover is a contrast and compare of the fannish sources. A meeting in a bar between Duncan (of Highlander) and Buffy, talking about the pain of being a Champion, or between Methos and Krycek, talking about the fun of being morally ambiguous killing machines. Sometimes the point is even broader, such as commenting on the pain of being a black sidekick, as in Them Mean Ol', Low-Down, Lando Calrissian Blues, by Yahtzee, or the trials of being a fictional character popular in slash fiction, as in Support Group for Fan Fiction Characters: First Meeting, Slash Chapter by Cousin Shelley.
Ofttimes crossovers are an answer to the problem of a much-loved character who lacks a shippable partner in his or her source fandom, or else an answer for a writer who only likes one character of a popular pairing -- like Methos, but not Duncan? Write Methos into another universe altogether! Certain characters seem to lend themselves to showing up in other universes; they are sometimes referred to as Little Black Dresses of fandom.
- "Writing a crossover has its own dangers, the difficulty lying somewhere between single-media and professional writing. I like to write them because they add a bit of spice to a story and provide a challenge. I rarely enjoy reading them, however, because they're often poorly done; the writer or editor can't handle one of the shows involved or doesn't know enough about it, one of the shows is sacrificed for the glorification of another, humorous crosses aren't half as funny to the reader as they seem to the writer and editor, etc. Barring copyright problems, even television has problems with crossovers (does anyone remember the Magnum, P.I. and Murder, She Wrote crossover, where Magnum looked like a raving idiot and Jessica Fletcher came off as a meddlesome old hag?). Crossover fiction can be written and written well, no matter how outrageous the crossover." 
Examples of crossover fanfiction
- A pre-internet crossover is A Meeting in the Hyades by Marion Zimmer Bradley, in which Aragorn from The Lord of the Rings appears in an early version of Darkover; first published in 1961 but written in the 1950s.
- An example from 1954 - Dorothy L. Sayers wrote The Young Lord Peter Consults Sherlock Holmes for the BBC's Radio Times magazine.
- One of the earliest online multifandom crossovers was "The Witness" by Michele Martin, which crossed X-Files, Forever Knight, Highlander, Starman (tv), and Quantum Leap, along with several cameos from other fandoms. It was archived on Gossamer on May 16, 1995.
- Wherever You Stand A Hundred Shall Fall by James Walkswithwind is a Batman/Sentinel crossover ~ 1996-7
- When Hellmouths Collide by Kimberley Rector and Martha Wilson is a Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Hercules: the Legendary Journeys crossover. (1999-2002)
- Them Mean Ol', Low-Down, Lando Calrissian Blues is an influential humorous multifandom crossover by Yahtzee, highlighting the underutilisation of male characters of color in popular television shows (January 2002)
- Hell Money by FayJay is an early example of Buffyverse/Smallville, which would prove a rich crossover playground (May 2002)
- The End of the Beginning by Mariner is a popular early Buffyverse/Harry Potter crossover (2003)
- Laura Mason's "Wrightsville: Long Ago and Far Away" is a crossover between The Charioteer and Ellery Queen (2006–7)
- Dust in the Wind by Lyrawing was a SPNxAmerican Gods story (March 2007)
- And All the World Beneath by Seperis was a famous SGAxSPN story (August 2007)
- Supersaturation by SkoosiePants is SGA/Bandom (2007–9)
- "House of Cards" by nevoreiel and "Escape from Solitude" by mysid are crossovers between Torchwood and Mary Renault's novel, The Charioteer (2007 & 2010)
- Angel, Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog: In Memory of Penny Lesse by Jedi Buttercup. Just when you feel you've almost drowned, you find yourself on solid ground. (2008)
- "You Are Cordially Invited" (and its sequels) by fawatson is a futurefic crossover with characters from at least four modern novels by Mary Renault (April 2008)
- The Kingdom of the Blaggers by Hackthis is a crackfic fusion: "The problem with being the son of Uther Pendragon, legend of stage and screen, winner of Emmys (twice), Tonys (once), Oliviers (multiple), BAFTAs (twice), Oscars (once) and People's Sexiest Man (twice) was that nobody was ever going to take Arthur seriously as an actor in his own right." (2009)
- Labyrinth, Pan’s Labyrinth: A Lost Child in a Forgotten Tale by amelia_petkova. Ofelia wishes her brother away but not for the reasons you might think. (2010)
- "Confidence Lost" is a 33-chapter Batman/White Collar crossover by C.R. Scott (2011)
- Buffy, Teen Wolf: Botched by Rivulet027. Derek botched Dawn’s rescue attempt or Dawn botched Derek’s rescue attempt. Either way Stiles and Isaac rescued themselves. (2012)
- The Avengers Movieverse, Doctor Who: Make It Your Strength series by kerrykhat. "I'm Doctor Martha Jones," she told the pale man in the black, gold, and green armor who had invaded UNIT. "Who the hell are you?" (2012 – now)
- The Avengers Movieverse, Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters: By Any Other Name by [Liannabob]. "A Clint/Hansel mindswap fic with a whole lot more plot than that statement might imply. I mean, lots of crossover shenanigans, of course. But also a plot." (2013)
- Superman Returns, Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman: The Planes by Dandello. "When Superman and Lois are thrown into a world where Clark Kent is EnC of the Daily Planet and married for ten years to Lois Lane, things get more than a little strange for both sets of Lois and Clark." (2006-7)
- Harry Potter, Stargate SG-1, Buffy, Batman, The Bionic Woman, The Secret World of Alex Mack: The League of Extraordinary Women by Diane Castle. "Hermione Granger has to recruit six women to help her stop an army of monsters before her world is overrun. But none of the women are even in her dimension…" Start of a series now running to nearly two million words, taking in dozens of fandoms, with "side stories" by at least nine other authors.
- Sherlock, Elementary: Elementary, My Dear Sherlock by Eltuine. "Joan Watson wakes up in an unfamiliar house in an unfamiliar city, with an unfamiliar man staring at her, claiming to be Sherlock Holmes. Meanwhile, on the other side of the ocean, John Watson finds himself in a similar situation. When each Watson tries to return home, however, difficulties arise. How will both Sherlocks deal with the removal of their respective Watsons, and how will each Watson get back to where they belong?" (2013- WIP)
Thematic Lists for crossover fic
- list of Starsky and Hutch crossovers
- Recs tagged crossovers/fusions at Fancake
- List of Forever Knight crossovers by fandom
- Same Actor Crossovers (response to Lucy Gillam), Shomeret at The Fanfic Symposium (1999)
- The Ten Commandments of Crossovers, Lucy Gillam at The Fanfic Symposium (2001)
- Crossovers, Kadorienne at The Fanfic Symposium (2002)
- Crossovers, Crossovers + comments; Archive, Jane Davitt, (2008)
- Lucy Gillam. Joxer?! And Other Things I Don't Get. Posted 24 November 1999. Accessed 3 October 2008.
- For example Dean Winchester (Supernatural)/Chloe Sullivan (Smallville): Winsullivan and Winchullivan, with Chlean being a common pairing name.
- The Hewligan Fiction Archive; The Hewligan Fest community.
- Poobala.com's Crossover Spin-Offs Master Page
- Them Mean Ol', Low-Down, Lando Calrissian Blues - Yahtzee
- "Support Group for Fan Fiction Characters: First Meeting, Slash Chapter" by Cousin Shelley
- from Psst... Hey Kid, Wanna Buy a Fanzine? #1