The nostalgia is palpable in what we’ve seen so far of Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One, a big-screen adaptation of Ernest Cline’s 2011 novel about a man who gets caught up in a quest to win control of a massive virtual universe in the year 2044. The latest update on the film brings a new trailer filled with never-before-seen footage and some early praise for the movie.
Directed by Spielberg from a script by Cline and Zak Penn (The Avengers), Ready Player One casts actor Tye Sheridan (Mud, X-Men: Apocalypse) as Wade Watts, a man whose encyclopedic knowledge of ’80s movies, music, and games pits him against a powerful corporation in a race to find the key to a virtual universe known as OASIS. The film co-stars Olivia Cooke, Ben Mendelsohn, T. J. Miller, Simon Pegg, and Mark Rylance.
With Ready Player One hitting theaters March 29, here’s everything we know about the movie so far.
Warning: Some mild spoilers await below. If you have yet to read the book and want to go in fresh, proceed at your own peril!
New trailer, new footage, new praise
Just a few weeks before Ready Player One hits theaters, Warner Bros. Pictures released a new trailer for the film with quite a bit of fresh footage, as well as something new: Excerpts from some of the early reviews of the film.
Titled “Dreamer,” the trailer is filled with praise for Spielberg’s adaptation, with much of it focusing on the film’s spectacular visual elements.
A dynamic duo of cameos
Given the film’s home studio, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that Ready Player One features a nod to DC Comics’ Man of Steel and its Dark Knight.
In a television spot released March 7, Wade Watts describes the infinite possibilities available to people within OASIS, making it possible to do anything — even scale Mount Everest with Batman.
— Ready Player One (@readyplayerone) March 7, 2018
An earlier teaser titled “Clark Kent” includes a brief scene in which Sheridan’s character takes a cue from Superman himself when he finds it necessary to disguise his identity.
Even in the virtual world of OASIS, a pair of glasses and a slight hairstyle modification is all that is necessary to become a different person, it seems.
Fresh footage, big prizes
As part of a sweepstakes tied to Ready Player One, Warner Bros. Pictures released some extra footage from the film in a video promoting the contest. Titled “The Prize Awaits,” the video features a few extra seconds of scenes from the movie — including another look at the Iron Giant that appears in the film.
Much like the film itself, the Ready Player One “Leaderboard” sweepstakes offers participants a chance to take possession of three keys — except each one of them carries a different prize, in this case. The “Copper Key” prize gives free Atom movie tickets to the winner through 2045, while the “Jade Key” prize gives the winner 27 years’ worth of Spotify Premium, and the “Crystal Key” gives the winner free Lyft rides until 2045.
The contest ends March 12, with the winners announced March 19 for the Copper Key, March 21 for the Jade Key, and 26 for the Crystal Key. Anyone can enter the sweepstakes at JoinTheLeaderboard.com.
Life in the OASIS
Cline’s best-selling novel is set in a dystopian future after a global energy crisis has left much of the world in turmoil. Facing a host of social and economic problems, much of the world has turned to OASIS, a virtual universe accessible to anyone with a relatively cheap visor and gloves. Not only does OASIS have its own stable currency, but it also hosts the majority of the educational, entertainment, and business resources available to people, and has evolved to become a far-reaching virtual society.
When one of the founders of OASIS dies, he announces that ownership of the virtual universe and his billion-dollar fortune will pass to whoever can locate a mysterious prize somewhere inside OASIS. In order to locate this “Easter egg” hidden somewhere in the virtual worlds, users must solve puzzles and otherwise navigate a massive treasure hunt steeped in the co-founder’s love for the music, movies, and games of the 1980s.
Five years after the treasure hunt is announced, Wade Watts (Sheridan) uncovers the first of three keys to locating the final prize, kicking off a wild adventure filled with danger — both real and virtual.
The latest trailers
Warner Bros. Pictures released the latest trailer for Ready Player One on February 15, featuring quite a bit of new footage from the film.
Titled “Come With Me,” the trailer offers a few more clues about Wade’s quest and the help he’ll receive along the way, as well as a new spin on a familiar scene from Jurassic Park.
In January 2018, the studio released a television spot for the film titled “Change the World,” which teased appearances by a long list of iconic characters, as well as the dire stakes at play in the hunt for the keys to OASIS.
The first full-length trailer for Ready Player One was released in December 2017, and offered the most comprehensive preview up to that point of what audiences can expect from the film. The trailer featured much of the film’s supporting cast, including Oscar winner Mark Rylance as OASIS co-founder James Halliday, whose death kicks off the treasure hunt within the virtual universe.
As one might expect from a film directed by Spielberg, the cast of Ready Player One features a mix of well-known, veteran actors and rising stars, with relative newcomer Tye Sheridan in the lead role as Wade Watts, who goes by the name “Parzival” in OASIS. The first official look at Sheridan as Wade was revealed back in July 2017 (via Entertainment Weekly), just days before Comic-Con International in San Diego.
Sheridan is joined in the cast by Olivia Cooke (Me and Earl and the Dying Girl) as Samantha Evelyn Cook, a fellow treasure hunter in OASIS who goes by the name “Art3mis” in the virtual universe. An official photo of Cooke from the set of the film was released in August 2017 by Empire.
The supporting cast of Ready Player One also includes Rogue One actor Ben Mendelsohn as Nolan Sorrento, the ruthless head of operations at Innovative Online Industries (IOI), the corporation that will stop at nothing to take ownership of OASIS to exploit it. Mendelsohn can be seen in many of the trailers, looking as sinister as one might expect from the film’s villain.
Also appearing in the film are actors Simon Pegg (Shaun of the Dead) and Academy Award winner Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies). The pair play the founders of OASIS, with Pegg portraying Ogden Morrow and Rylance portraying the late James Halliday, whose death kicks off the quest at the heart of the film.
A photo released by the studio (via Empire) in February 2018 features both actors in a flashback scene.
The supporting cast also includes former Silicon Valley actor T.J. Miller as the virtual treasure hunter i-Rok, Lena Waithe (Master of None) as Aech, Win Morisaki (Gokusen: The Movie) as Daito, Philip Zhao as Shoto, and Hannah John-Kamen (Ant-Man and the Wasp) as F’Nale Zandor.
Many of the cast members appear with their OASIS avatars in a series of posters released by the studio February 16.
A Comic-Con welcome
The first footage from Ready Player One hit 2017’s Comic-Con International in San Diego with plenty of fanfare.
The extended teaser for the film gave audiences their first look at Spielberg’s vision for the film — and maybe more importantly, for OASIS — at one of the most appropriate venues imaginable for a film so steeped in nostalgia and pop culture.
Know the score
A scheduling conflict with one of Spielberg’s other projects prevented the filmmaker’s longtime collaborator John Williams from composing the score for Ready Player One, but rest assured: The job is in good hands.
Forrest Gump composer Alan Silvestri provided the score for Ready Player One, and was the “perfect choice” for the film, according to a statement from Spielberg’s Amblin Productions. Given the film’s focus on ’80s pop culture, bringing in Silvestri — who provided the score for all three film sin the Back to the Future trilogy — does make a lot of sense.
Even the posters for Spielberg’s Ready Player One adaptation have received a fair share of scrutiny from fans looking for secrets and call-outs — subtle or otherwise — to their favorite movies, games, and pop culture touchstones.
The most recent poster was released in February 2018, and features an assortment of characters — both human and virtual — from the film.
The first poster for the film was released in December 2017, just a day before the first full-length trailer for the film debuted.
Updated March 15 with the “Dreamer” trailer.