With just a couple of weeks to go until the release of Steven Spielberg’s nostalgia-fuelled sci-fi Ready Player One, the filmmaker has been chatting to Fandango about the challenge of acquiring the rights to reference so many classic franchises and IPs belonging to a variety of movie studios.
“It was difficult because we were so greedy about wanting so many cultural references throughout the 80s and 90s, but everybody cooperated, you know,” said Spielberg. “We got, 20th Century Fox and Universal and Paramount and Sony and Disney. Everybody basically came on board to help us take their IPs and and allow us to create Easter eggs from their own cultural phenomenons.”
Of course, when it comes to cultural phenomenons, you don’t get much bigger than Star Wars, and Spielberg went on to tease the film’s references to the galaxy far, far away:
“If you look very carefully you’ll see an R2-D2 somewhere, you’ll see an X-Wing somewhere. But we didn’t want to use the main cultural icons from any of Disney’s Star Wars films because those are ongoing. That’s really part of our contemporary world right now, and even though it began in the 80s, it is so much a part of our real life today in the 21st century. So we asked for some of the smaller items and Disney gave us everything we asked for.”
Ready Player One is set in 2045, with the world on the brink of chaos and collapse. But the people have found salvation in the OASIS, an expansive virtual reality universe created by the brilliant and eccentric James Halliday (Mark Rylance). When Halliday dies, he leaves his immense fortune to the first person to find a digital Easter egg he has hidden somewhere in the OASIS, sparking a contest that grips the entire world. When an unlikely young hero named Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) decides to join the contest, he is hurled into a breakneck, reality-bending treasure hunt through a fantastical universe of mystery, discovery and danger.
Ready Player One is set for release on March 30th, 2018 and sees Steven Spielberg (The BFG) directing a cast that includes Tye Sheridan (X-Men: Apocalypse) as Parzival, Olivia Cooke (Me and Earl and the Dying Girl) as Art3mis, Simon Pegg (Star Trek Beyond) as Ogden Morrow, Ben Mendelsohn (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) as Nolan Sorrento, T.J. Miller (Deadpool) as i-R0k, Hannah John-Kamen (Game of Thrones) as F’Nale Zandor, Win Morisaki as Diato, newcomer Philip Zhao as Shoto and Mark Rylance (The BFG) as James Halliday.