Die Hard and Family Matters take place in the same universe. After all, Carl Winslow appears in both.
I know some of you naysayers will point out tiny details like “Family Matters takes place in Chicago, Die Hard takes place in Los Angeles” or “Reginald VelJohnson’s characters have completely different names; the only thing they have in common is that they’re cops, you idiot!” All I have to say is that it’s because of skeptics and cynics like you we didn’t get that X-Files/Picket Fences crossover. Shame on you.
What convinced me is a special revelation. When I watched Die Hard again but with my cultural analyst skills well honed and fully deployed, I realized that Hans Gruber was merely a pawn. Yes, he represented the ultimate American villain – cold, calculating, elitist, and foreign – but he represented it too well. Does an obviously sophisticated man who brags about his classical education and is able to deliver devastating critiques about American culture, someone who could no doubt bluff his way into almost any well-paying job (especially in the United States), seem like one who’d stoop to associating with a bunch of violent thugs for nothing but money? Hell, even Holly McClain realizes this when she points out that Hans Gruber for all his posturing is just “a common thief.” He’s so obviously a caricature of a master criminal rather than an actual criminal it must be deliberate, and a clue toward some larger and far more sinister scheme.
Could he be a classical actor forced into a role that goes out of hand very quickly but he clings to it anyway because his family was being held hostage or something along those lines? Or was something more bizarre happening? Was Hans Gruber in actuality a poor Russian history professor or New York literary agent mind-controlled through some improbable technological means? But, especially in a “realistic” universe like that of the Die Hard franchise, who would have the means?
My God…Steve Urkel!!!
He created his own alternate personality, his own clones, a teleportation device, and even a time machine. Brainwashing someone into becoming a ruthless criminal would be the equivalent of a third grader’s volcano model.
Sadly, the Die Hard franchise never addresses what is done with the true mastermind behind the first film (and, perhaps, all the films?). However, I would dare to venture a hypothetical.
Carl Winslow: You damn kid! I always knew it was you! I took your skinny nerdy ass in and this is how you repay me?!
Urkel: But Caaaaaaaarl…I thought I could finally get Laura to like me if I entered the world of international criminal intrigue!
Carl: Now you better pray that Laura likes Swiss cheese.
Incidentally, this is also the real conclusion to Family Matters.