Ready Player One’s film adaptation is about eight months away, and we now have an idea of what director Steven Spielberg is going for, courtesy of a production still posted today by Entertainment Weekly.
Based on the eponymous 2011 novel by Ernest Cline, Ready Player One tells the story of a dystopian near future in which man-made environmental calamities have wreaked havoc on humanity. Most people are dirt-poor, and they escape from their unappealing reality into a virtual world known as OASIS.
Our hero, Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan, who played Cyclops in X-Men: Apocalypse), is an orphan who lives with his aunt in the “stacks” — literal towers of trailer homes. This photo from Warner Bros. Pictures shows Wade in his hideout, the only place he has to himself, where he enters OASIS with a VR headset and haptic gloves under the handle Parzival.
OASIS is steeped in ’80s pop culture: Puzzles and realms within it are based on films such as WarGames and Blade Runner, and video games like Pac-Man and Zork. It was created by the late James Halliday (played by Mark Rylance, an Oscar winner for Bridge of Spies), who left a series of pop culture puzzles for OASIS users. Whoever can solve them all and discover the Easter egg will win the game, and inherit the massive fortune Halliday left behind — as well as ownership of OASIS and its parent company.
Wade and his fellow egg hunters are racing against time and an evil corporation called IOI that’s represented by Nolan Sorrento (Ben Mendelsohn, who played Director Orson Krennic in Rogue One). If IOI wins the game, it will take away one of the only good things left in this grim version of Earth.
If you look at the full photo closely, you may catch a number of references in the hideout to Cline’s book and 20th-century pop culture, like a He-Man lunchbox. For further details, check out Entertainment Weekly’s breakdown. Expect to learn more about the movie Ready Player One next week during San Diego Comic-Con 2017. The film is scheduled to hit theaters on March 30, 2018.