Sci-fi author Ernest Cline is having a great summer. His second novel, Armada, cracked the top five on the New York Times bestseller’s list. This week he signed a mega-deal for his upcoming untitled third novel, which is green lit to be a feature too. The biggest news, however, pertains to his breakout novel from 2011, Ready Player One. Warner Bros. officially announced the release date of the movie: December 15, 2017, which is a pretty long ways away. And while little is known about the Spielberg-directed film adaptation aside from a few confirmations on the production end— there isn’t even a confirmed cast—that makes now the perfect time to speculate about just how awesome the film could be. Which is exactly what we’re setting out to do here.
Hopefully, this won’t be as hard as finding every key in the OASIS…
Longtime collaborator and award-winning cinematographer Janus Kaminski is locked in, so expect blinding white Minority Report visuals over the generic blurry Marvel ones. Speaking of Marvel, Zak Penn—who co-wrote Avengers—finished the first draft of the script for RP1. Hopefully this means Cline’s sharp dialogue will remain intact.
The book is a Wonka-esque tale set in 2044 of a teen named Wade Watts on his quest to find special Easter Eggs—keys hidden in a virtual world called OASIS. What’s at stake is the fortune of deceased billionaire James Halliday, which includes said virtual world, which just so happens to be the only place everyone inhabits. (Especially if you’re poor with no real prospects like Wade.) The key to winning is having crazy knowledge of the ’80s. Inventor Halliday was an uber fan of the era: Wargames, the films of John Hughes, the music of Cyndi Lauper, all of it. Along the way, Wade meets other Egg hunters (called “gunters”) hoping to win. His posse includes his own Scarecrow, Han Solo, and Hermione of sorts.
The numerous ’80s callbacks even include the Indiana Jones series and E.T. Will Spielberg pay tribute to himself? Maybe. As far as the studios for these films, RP1 will be made by WB, while Indy was Paramount and E.T. Universal. Here’s hoping WB has success getting other companies involved like they did for last year’s LEGO Movie. I wanna see Atari 2600s and Rubik’s Cubes, dammit! Not to mention all the retro games to be acquired like Robotron 2084, Galaga, Donkey Kong, Pitfall, and so much more. Odds are the film can’t cram this all in but hey, it’s gotta be more true to the 8-bit era than Pixels, right?
The casting, at first, seems easy. I think Asa Butterfield would be a perfect choice even though he’s already starred in a VR adventure (Ender’s Game). Plus, he might be available since not landing that Spidey gig. Here’s the kicker though (minor spoiler)—most of the other players Wade meets will have to be played by two actors, sometimes not even the same gender or race. In the book it works well because it has time to breathe, but in a film with limited time for exposition it could be a challenge to get audiences believing Gabourey Sidibe and Zac Efron are the same person. Scratch that…that would be awesome. Make that happen, Hollywood.
What about the visual effects? I’m anxious to see the endlessly vertical shantytowns of Wade’s real life on the big screen, especially juxaposed to OASIS, where there are plenty of show-stopping moments I won’t spoil. Warner Bros. has worked with groundbreaking visual production houses in the past, delivering the world-building vistas in Inception, bullet time in The Matrix, and Hogwarts in the Harry Potter films. Rumor has it that a company called Magic Leap has made the…um…leap, in creating tangible (read: not headache-inducing) 3D. RP1 could be the perfect film to show off such new tech, right?
Music will also be integral. How about Daft Punk who are electronic masters and fans of Reagan era tunes? A traditional score by longtime Spielberg pal, John Williams, probably wouldn’t fit in this instance.
But what do you think, fellow gunters? Sound off in the comments!
Featured Image Credit: Random House