The DCMCU: Creating A Blockbuster Superhero Crossover Trick


New superhero blockbusters aren’t coming out any time soon, but that doesn’t mean you can’t give your audience their superhero fix though magical means.

The Inspiration

At its simplest, creativity is sometimes described as combining two existing ideas to create a new one.

So in this case, we’re combining a trick from the magic world with a hook from the movie world.

The trick

Andy Nyman’s Killer Elite. It’s just great – engaging premise, elegant method, justified props and strong reactions. *Chef’s kiss* I can still remember the first time I saw it at Davenport’s Magic, many moons ago.

But most people treat it like an unchangeable clock (to use the terminology from this article) rather than an adaptable building block. For our purposes, we’ll keep the method and the idea of imagining characters from different films coming together, but just apply it to superheroes instead.

The hook

Fans love talking about possible crossovers in movies. And since we’re making a film in people’s imagination, we can offer a truly impossible crossover – one that combines the Marvel and DC universes.

The Idea

Adapt Killer Elite to stage an ‘Uncivil War’ to find the ultimate superhero.

Choose whichever your favourite four characters are from the two universes. For me, it’s probably Black Panther, Spider Man, Wonder Woman and Aquaman (though only when played by Jason Momoa, because he’s awesome).

If you can find some postcards of them, great. If not, just print some images into card to make your own.

In place of the poker chip, you could use one of those tiny trophy’s given out at kid’s parties, like these, writing the champions name on the back or the base, or placing a folded picture inside the trophy. Or, if performing for true fans, go a step further and create an ‘Infinity Box’ – a mash-up of the Infinity Gauntlet and a Mother Box. Set the rest of the trick up as per the usual method.

Now you can have a fun movie chat that ends with an amazing revelation.

Thoughts and variations

One of the things I aim for in my magic is to connect it more with people’s lives. Often, when we perform a close-up trick, there’s that weird moment after the reveal, when the conversation stalls, before it starts up again. Yes, this is partly because they’re reacting to the trick, but I think it’s also because so many magical premises are un-relatable, or live in their own strange silo of ESP, premonitions and ambitious pasteboards.

This trick takes the opposite approach – it starts with the kind of conversation that normal people are already having, then segues into a relevant trick. Hopefully this makes the trick, and the magician, more relatable.

If you’re in the UK and you collected the Disney Hero cards from Sainsbury’s a while back, which included characters from across Disney, Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars, then you could make your crossover cross even more franchises.

Similarly, you could create your own imaginary entertainment monolith by combining other iconic franchises from different studios, even going beyond superheroes, to settle discussions like “Who would win in a battle between Harry Potter and Doctor Strange?”

I came across the idea of using mini plastic trophies in magic from Christopher T. Magician’s idea-packed book, Just For Fun.

Finally, since they can make their superhero choice verbally, you can easily do this over Zoom if need be.

Coming soon to a blog near you

Next Friday, I’ll share another way to add some movie-magic to magic-magic.