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Spy Kids Shared Universe: How It Links To Sharkboy/Lavagirl & Machete

Robert Rodriguez’s Spy Kids movies have some connections to other movies of his, most notably the Machete movies, but does this mean there’s a Spy Kids shared universe? And if so, is there a connection with Rodriguez’s other children’s movie, The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3-D? Throughout his career as a filmmaker, Robert Rodriguez has explored a variety of genres and has brought stories for all ages and tastes – from western with El Mariachi to neo-noir crime with Sin City and even horror with From Dusk till Dawn. Rodriguez has also made movies for a younger audience, starting in 2001 with Spy Kids.

Also written by Robert Rodriguez, Spy Kids introduced the audience to Carmen (Alexa Vega) and Juni Cortez (Daryl Sabara), two siblings living a seemingly normal life until one day their parents Ingrid (Carla Gugino) and Gregorio (Antonio Banderas) are kidnapped. As it turns out, Ingrid and Gregorio are spies and never told their kids, and things don’t go well on their supposed final mission. Carmen and Juni quickly learn the basics of being a spy and go on a mission to rescue their parents, who were captured by Fegan Floop (Alan Cumming), the host of Juni’s favorite TV show. Spy Kids was a critical and commercial success and made way for a franchise with three sequels and an animated TV show.

Related: Every Unmade Robert Rodriguez Movie (& Why They Didn't Happen)

After the third Spy Kids movie was released, Rodriguez moved on to other projects far from kid-friendly stories but came back to them in 2005 with The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl, a superhero movie that originated from a story by Rodriguez’s son, Racer Rodriguez. Given the themes between both worlds and their visual styles, it’s believed that Spy Kids and Sharkboy and Lavagirl are set in the same universe, as well as two other movies that are not kid-friendly at all: Machete and Machete Kills. So, is there a Spy Kids shared universe?

Although the Spy Kids movies and Sharkboy and Lavagirl don’t share any characters and tell separate stories, it’s widely believed by fans that they take place in the same universe due to their visual similarities. The same anaglyph 3-D technology used in Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over was used in Sharkboy & Lavagirl, thus why they have a similar visual style, but Rodriguez hasn’t confirmed that they live in the same universe.

The connection between Spy Kids and the Machete movies is more obvious but not as simple as it seems. In Spy Kids, viewers (along with Carmen and Juni) met Isador “Machete” Cortez (Danny Trejo), Gregorio’s estranged brother and inventor of many spy gadgets, which he sells at his own shop. Uncle Machete reunited with his brother and family at the end of Spy Kids, and he returned in Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams and Spy Kids 3. Now, in 2010, Machete got his own movie, but this Machete was very different from the one in Spy Kids. This version of Machete is driven by revenge and anger, and there’s no mention of his brother, nephew, and niece (it’s worth noting that Daryl Sabara had a minor role in Machete and Alexa Vega in Machete Kills, but not as their Spy Kids characters). During an AMA session on Reddit in 2013, Rodriguez was asked about the timeline for Spy Kids and Machete and explained that they are alternate universes. The Robert Rodriguez cinematic universe, then, and thus the Spy Kids universe, might actually be multiverses, allowing Spy Kids, Sharkboy & Lavagirl, and Machete to coexist.

Next: How Quentin Tarantino's Shared Universe Connects To Robert Rodriguez's Movies

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