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Ready Player Two plot synopsis reveals ‘a last Easter egg’

Ernest Cline’s secretive sequel arrives in November

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Wade with his VR OASIS goggles in Ready Player One Image: Warner Bros. Pictures
Matt Patches is an executive editor at Polygon. He has over 15 years of experience reporting on movies and TV, and reviewing pop culture.

Just as Roald Dahl found a way to continue Charlie’s story after the definitive ending of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, novelist Ernest Cline saw room for a sequel to his hit 2011 dystopian sci-fi novel Ready Player One. At the end of that book, Wade Watts, having successfully solved all the clues left behind in the virtual reality gamespace OASIS, took ownership of the alt-universe from its original creator, the Willy Wonka-esque James Halliday.

In July, Cline announced that he had finally completed a sequel to the book, the logically titled Ready Player Two, but exactly what would happen in the sequel was left a mystery. Until Friday morning, during a 2020 New York Comic Con panel promoting the book, the author finally teased the direction for his second, nostalgia-filled adventure in the OASIS. Moderator Wil Wheaton, who narrated the audiobook version of Ready Player One and is set to return for the sequel, read the synopsis for the book straight off the flap:

An unexpected quest. Two worlds at stake. Are you ready?

Days after OASIS founder James Halliday’s contest, Wade Watts makes a discovery that changes everything. Hidden within Halliday’s vaults, waiting for his heir to find, lies a technological advancement that will once again change the world and make the OASIS more wondrous — and addictive — then even Wade dreamed possible. With it comes a new riddle and a new quest, a last Easter egg from Holiday, hinting at a mysterious prize, and an unexpected, impossibly powerful, new and dangerous rival awaits, one who will kill millions to get what he wants. Wade’s life and the future of the OASIS are again at stake, but this time, the fate of humanity also hangs in the balance.

After working closely with screenwriter Zak Penn and director Steven Spielberg on the film adaptation of Ready Player One, Cline found time to chip away at his sequel. He teased his work on the book in 2017, and it arrives from Ballantine Books, a subsidiary of Penguin Random House, under a veil of secrecy.

Pre-orders for Ready Player Two are currently available. The book arrives on Nov. 24, 2020.