If anyone could make Ernest Cline's hugely popular 2011 novel Ready Player One on the big screen, it was Steven Spielberg.
The blockbuster opened to critical acclaim and almost $600 million worldwide, so the only real surprise is that a follow-up hasn't already been confirmed by Warner Bros. However, don't get dismayed just yet as there's still time for a sequel to be greenlit.
If that happens, here's everything you need to know so far about a second trip into the OASIS.
Ready Player One 2 book: Has Ernest Cline written a sequel?
Why yes he has, although writing it while working on the movie adaptation proved to be tricky in one particular way.
"I wanted to make sure I had finished at least a rough draft of the sequel before I saw the movie because I didn't want the movie to influence me too. And I was very conscious of wanting to write a sequel to my novel that would please fans of the novel but also could serve as the basis for a fun movie," he told CinemaBlend.
We'll soon find out whether he achieved his goal as details of his second novel were released, and the plot is as follows: "Days after winning 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 a thousand times more wondrous – and addictive – than even Wade dreamed possible. With it comes a new riddle, and a new quest – a last Easter egg from Halliday, hinting at a mysterious prize.
And an unexpected, impossibly powerful, and dangerous new rival awaits, one who’ll 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."
Ready Player One 2 cast: Who's coming back?
Olivia Cooke will definitely be back as Art3mis (AKA Samantha Cook) as she revealed to Digital Spy that she's signed up for a sequel. "I've signed my life away, so I'm contracted to sequels but I don't know [if they're happening]. I haven't heard anything. We'll see," she explained.
So if Cooke is contracted for sequels, then we imagine the same would go for Tye Sheridan as Parzival (AKA Wade Watts) and potentially for the likes of Lena Waithe as Aech (AKA Helen Harris), Philip Zhao as Sho (AKA Zhou) and Win Morisaki as Daito (AKA Toshiro).
At the end of the first movie, the High Fivers were left in charge of the OASIS by its co-creator Ogden Morrow (Simon Pegg), so they'd all likely have to be back.
And even though he's dead, expect to see Mark Rylance back as the other co-creator James Halliday as Cline has said that the answer to what exactly Anorak (Halliday's avatar) is will form a part of the sequel.
"Anorak, in the novel, is described as a ghost in the machine. A lot of Gunters think that he's somehow an AI copy of Halliday left to roam the Oasis, that he's left in charge of the contest. It's never really explored, but it's hinted at," he told Empire.
"When Steven and I were talking about that scene he asked me, what do you think Anorak is? I told him, and I told him how I thought that might play into the sequel, and I think that's why he included it in the movie. We're going to leave that a mystery and open-ended, but I will tell you that the sequel I've been working on, it flows right into that."
Whether Ben Mendelsohn or Hannah John-Kamen will be back as the villainous Nolan Sorrento and F'Nale Zandor, respectively, remains to be seen though as they were arrested for their misdeeds at the end of the movie.
Ready Player One 2 director: Would Steven Spielberg return?
It's not a guarantee that Spielberg will return for the sequel, although Cline told Collider that the director did give him some notes on the book sequel. "I told him what I had planned and bounced that idea off of him.
"When that was happening, he was still focused on this movie and he more wanted to know what I had planned, as it relates to the ending of this film, but what I have planned is set up very nicely, by the end of this movie," he outlined.
But Cline noted that Spielberg also told him that the movie was the "third hardest" he's made, behind Jaws and Saving Private Ryan, and if he was to do the sequel, then we might have a wait a while for it.
"I don't know if he would want to dive right back in, but maybe in a couple years, he might have recovered enough. I really hope that, if we do make another one, that he would do it. Michael Crichton, the novelist, is the only one to get that lucky and have two of his books made into movies by Steven, but maybe I'll get lucky, too," he explained.
If we have to wait for Spielberg, we think that's a wait that'll be worth it.
Ready Player One 2 release date: When could we expect it?
Production began on the first movie in July 2016 and the movie was released in March 2018. Given that the second novel is out in November 2020, if production began soon after the earliest we could expect any sequel – even if it was to start filming right now – is 2022 and probably late 2022 at that.
As for now, all we can do is wait to see if Warner Bros announces the sequel and hopefully with that news will come a release date.
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