Entertainment Weekly's Anthony Breznican has just given us our first glimpse into the world of the upcoming Steven Spielberg's dystopian digi-punk joint Ready Player One. In this brief breakdown, we're finally given a clear idea of how Spielberg will be transforming Ernest Cline's award-winning sci-fi novel into a gritty, fully-realized feature film.
In the image shown we see our main character Wade Watts, who goes by the alias "Parzival" within the virtual, pop-culture worlds of OASIS. Watts lives in a single dilapidated trailer, which is actually part of innumerable trailers inhabiting this impoverished world. These trailers are all crammed together and piled on top of each other in this twisted "towers" called Stacks. It's not a pretty world to live in, and that's why our characters are longing to escape into the virtual worlds of OASIS.
In OASIS you can flit from one world to another, each inspired by a unique facet of pop-culture. One world is inspired by the text-adventure video game Zork. Other world's are ironically based on some of Spielberg's past films, which is some pretty gnarly (and super meta). As our young adventurers explore the OASIS, they'll seek out Easter eggs which will provide keys to what they hope is eventual ownership over this virtual multiverse which has provided a heavenly escape from the hellish living conditions they're used to.
Entertainment weekly dove deep into this newly-revealed scene and emerged with details that shine a revealing light on our characters an the world which they inhabit. Keep scrolling to get an insider's glimpse.
"In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he's jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade's devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world's digital confines--puzzles that are based on their creator's obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them.
"But when Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade's going to survive, he'll have to win--and confront the real world he's always been so desperate to escape."prevnext
Wade's Secret Hideout
"One of the treasure seekers is Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan, of Mud and X-Men: Apocalypse), an orphan who lives in the overcrowded 'Stacks,' a Jenga-tower of old trailers. He's also one of the world's foremost aficianados on all-things-'80s, operating under the online name Parzival (a variation on the Arthurian knight Percival.) His OASIS rig — a virtual reality visor and haptic gloves — is kept in a rig in an abandoned van at a junkyard. He calls the hideout. 'My refuge. My Batcave. My Fortress of Solitude.'"prevnext
Mysterious James Halliday
"His hero is James Halliday, the Gregarious Games founder who created the OASIS simulated world and infused it with his love of cartoons, comics, video games, and movies from his childhood. The walls of Wade's hideout are adorned with newspaper and magazine stories about this man — a cross between Steve Jobs and Willy Wonka. 'Since 2021 More Then 20 Million VR Headsets Sold,' reads one vintage headline. (Note: In the future, copy editors will be an endangered species.)"prevnext
"Halliday will be played by Spielberg's Bridge of Spies Oscar-winner Mark Rylance (pictured here in that earlier film). Halliday is deceased, but lives on through messages he left behind, setting up a final game that would allow any user to search through the OASIS for a series of Easter eggs. The winner will become the new owner. If a corporation like IOI suceeds in the hunt, the virtual reality world will be accessible only to those who can afford it. "prevnext
Pedal to the Metal
"You can see another glimpse of what Rylance will look like as Halliday on this cover of Wiredmagazine. Very rockstar. This detail also shows a specific reference from Cline's novel: Parzival powers his OASIS rig by charging old car batteries with a stationary bike. 'It was usually the only physical exercise I got each day,' the character says."prevnext
"Another book reference: Wade tries to soundproof his junkyard hideout by covering the walls with egg cartons. (He doesn't want anyone knowing where he stashes his valuable OASIS gear.) He also hides some pop culture collectibles here, like a vintage Star Trek lunchbox. The movie presents a different one, though... "prevnext
I have the POWER!
"This eBay listing shows the He-Man and the Masters of the Universe tin lunchbox that’s in Wade’s hideout. The filmmakers haven’t revealed many of the pop-culture references that will turn up in the film, but you can take this as a nod toward one of them. (Maybe we’ll also see his twin sister She-ra, too.)"prevnext
"Graffiti and stickers cover almost every surface in the future, with Halliday's '80s obsession seeping into the real world via these markings left behind by his followers. It's hard to see, but we identified a few of old-school decorations..."prevnext
Gross-out and Garfield
"Wade has a love for the Garbage Pail Kids, which have been morbidly delighting kids (and alarming parents) since 1985. Specifically, I spotted 'Bony Tony' on the wall of the hideout. On the tamer side, the lasagna-loving, Monday-hating orange cat Garfield is also a favorite, with this 'Guess Who?' sticker plainly visible on the van window that's blacked out with aluminum foil."prev