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In the premiere episode of The Flash (the 2014 CW version), Oliver Queen appears, played by Stephen Amell from Arrow. In the Season 3 premier of Arrow, Barry Allen appears, played by Grant Gustin from The Flash, playing out essentially the same scene from a different perspective. Subsequently, the shows co-exist in the same universe, with frequent references to each others' plots and characters, and even appearances by characters from each others' casts.

As far as I can find, this is the first time that any two DC-based live-action adaptations have crossed over to form a shared universe. Are there any earlier examples of this that I missed?

NOTE: For the purposes of this question, I am using the following definitions:

  • live-action adaptation means a live-action television show or movie based on one or more characters that were originally published in DC Comics (or it's legal predecessors, depending on the time frame.) In particular, I'm excluding the animated universes for the sake of my own sanity. (Looking at you, Batman and Scooby Doo).
  • crossing over means that characters that are featured in one adaptation appear as the same in-universe character in a different adaptation. This means that "guest star heroes" on shows like, e.g. Smallville do not count as a crossover.
  • shared universe means that, following the crossover event, the two (or more) distinct adaptations clearly occur within the same continuity, and events that occur on one adaptation are intended to be occurring simultaneously in all adaptations within the shared universe
  • The only crossover I can think of is the Batman / Green Hornet crossover in the 60s, but I think that fails at least one of your criteria – Jason Baker Oct 31 '15 at 1:27
  • I may end up backing off on that last criteria, since the concept of a shared TV / movie universe seems to be a fairly recent one and may eliminate any other possible answers. I'll wait to see if I get any answers first. – KutuluMike Oct 31 '15 at 1:29
  • What's interesting is that for something we closely connect to comics, crossovers between mainstream TV shows have been happening since the 50s. The WB detective series, 11 Sunset Strip, Surfside Six, etc, would crossover quite often - in a couple cases, characters from one moved to another permanently. Dennis the Menace appeared on The Donna Reed show, for pete's sake. And in a more superheroey vein, The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman had a couple multi-episode events as well. – VBartilucci Apr 26 '18 at 17:34
  • @VBartilucci - Of course, that's a similar situation to Flash and Arrow - Bionic Woman spun out of Six Million Dollar Man, and was (I'll assumed) owned by the same company. Me, I always wanted to see a House, M.D./Bones crossover (but that's off-topic) :-) – RDFozz Apr 26 '18 at 22:51
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If you want strictly DC intellectual property, live-action shows, then the answer is no.

I looked at a list of all DC live-action TV shows, and compared the cast listings of the few that had overlapping years of production. I didn't find any matches. The best hope would have been Smallville and Birds of Prey, but the latter was cancelled very quickly.

If not strictly DC IP is necessary, then the Batman/Green Hornet crossover is very early. The next closest example I can find is The Secrets of Isis & Shazam! crossover episodes.

The history there is a little different. Isis was created and owned by Filmation, who also produced the Captain Marvel series. Filmation's properties are now owned by DreamWorks Classics.

However, a current version of the character exists, even in The New 52. This character is the complete property of DC, and the direct "creative descendant" of the comic book character that was based on the TV show character. The new character has the real name of Adrianna Tomaz, which is a reference to the name of the original comic and TV show character: Andrea Thomas.

  • this is good enough. I'm about to claim that Arrow/Flash is the first "true DC crossover" and just wanted to make sure I didn't miss anything :) – KutuluMike Oct 31 '15 at 9:53
  • DC's Isis was touted as a "long time DC heroine who'd never appeared in a DC comic before". I suspect the trademark may have lapsed, ironically as Captain Marvel's had, and they came up with this similar character to take advantage. – VBartilucci Apr 26 '18 at 17:10
  • @VBartilucci - The "Isis" from the 1970s TV show had a comic series after the show came out - it lasted for 8 issues. Not sure how that fits into what you describe, but.... – RDFozz Apr 26 '18 at 22:56
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Yes. Batman and the Green Hornet had a crossover episode, Season 2 Episode 51, "A Piece of the Action", per Jason Baker's suggestion. It was never referenced again in either show, I'm fairly certain. Then again, neither show really worried about continuity.

  • To be fair, Green Hornet is not strictly a DC property, and is only licensed to DC for the comic books. For the TV show, it was licensed to ABC, who also produced Batman, and thus the crossover. – user31178 Oct 31 '15 at 3:59
  • This is close but I think it fails on two counts: 1. Green Hornet isn't a DC TV adaptation (the DC comic is actually the adaptation) and there was no intent here to create a shared universe. – KutuluMike Oct 31 '15 at 9:52
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If you want to get REALLY sketchy, the two DC live action specials from 1979, collectively known as "Legends of the Superheroes", starred the entire Justice League, a number of the Fawcett Captain Marvel characters, and featured Adam West, Burt Ward and Frank Gorshin returning as their respective characters from the Batman '66 series. So if you consider it an extension of the '66 series, it would qualify.

  • I would say that this is the right answer. – motoDrizzt Apr 26 '18 at 17:29
  • I'm not sure those should be the right answer to anything. I saw them at the time. I seem to recall them making the 1960s Batman show seem like a dramatic triumph. – RDFozz Apr 26 '18 at 22:59

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