Ready Player One is a story with an entire plot revolving around pop culture. As such, you'd expect to see a lot of easter eggs and references in the first trailer. We've been through it and we think we've found pretty much all the pop culture references and easter egg that are discernible from the trailer released over the weekend at San Diego Comic-Con. If you missed it, check out the trailer here.
Some of these will surely just be passing images that will just pop up to show how a particular piece of pop culture exists within the OASIS. Other references will clearly be major plot elements. Due to rights issues, not everything from the Ready Player One novel will be able to make the jump to the big screen, but we've also got a hint at a few of the things that will be taking up those positions.
The Iron Giant
The biggest single moment in the new trailer actually belongs to an animated film from the late 1990s. The Iron Giant stands tall and proud in an alien backdrop. Giant robots, as well as kaiju monsters, play a major part in the source material, and while The Iron Giant isn't one of the key players in the book, it appears he will be taking one of those positions in the movie. This is a replacement we can approve of. Honestly, most people aren't going to have any idea what Leopardon was anyway.
One of the references in the new trailer was missed if you were only paying attention with your eyes. Over the opening few seconds of the trailer, we were treated to some music that included nods to the classic song "Pure Imagination" from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. It's fitting, considering how much of the plot structure itself owes a great deal to the book and the film that was made from it. There was even a rumor at one time that Gene Wilder might come out of retirement to play the elder James Halliday. No other choice would have been as fitting.
Harley Quinn and Deathstroke
As soon as we see our lead character enter the OASIS, we see him walking into a digital nightclub where people are dancing in the air above him. On the way out the door, however, are a couple that look distinctly like DC's Harley Quinn and Deathstroke. We're not sure how Mr. J is going to feel about that. DC comics characters don't play a huge role in the book, but since Warner Bros. owns DC, it should be easy for them to filter the characters throughout the world of the OASIS, giving the world a "realistic" look.
This one is a little tough to see as the motion happens quickly and a lot of it is dark. However, in this sequence, where we see a person riding a giant scorpion, they're clearly being attacked by ostriches. At one point, the scorpion snaps its claws around one and it transforms into a greenish egg. This is a reference to the classic arcade game Joust. Joust does play an important role in the book, but it looks nothing like this. Clearly, this is an indication that some aspects of the original story are going to be changed significantly for the big screen.
Freddy, Duke, and Halo
We're not going to be able to freeze frame the entire movie, and this shot by itself gives us the feeling that we will need to watch the movie more than once to catch all the references. In this one shot, we have Freddy Krueger and Duke Nuke 'Em teaming up to take down somebody, who appears to be Aech, one of the key secondary characters of the book, who is taking them both down with an assault rifle from the video game Halo. This could be a shot from a major fight scene or it could just be Aech competing in a deathmatch for sport, something he's quite good at.
A-Team, Christine, Pole Position
IOI are the villains of Ready Player One and the organization is mostly made of faceless drones who are identifiable only by their employee numbers. We get a sense of their scale as a number of them get in cars ready to head out into the digital landscape. While most of the vehicles are identical stock cars, we do spy three vehicles that we're guessing belong to higher ranking employees. The van from the A-Team is visible on the right side of the frame. The car from Stephen King's Christine is in the middle, and an Indy style race car is on the left, which I'm guessing is a reference to the Atari arcade game Pole Position.
The latter portion of the trailer is just mad with famous vehicles. One of those that's easy to miss is the car driven by Mel Gibson in the original Mad Max movies. It's difficult to say whether the car is just a quick reference of if it will be driven by an important character. Still, the Mad Max franchise is clearly iconic enough to belong in the world of the OASIS, even though the films don't play much of a part in the source material. Who wouldn't want to drive Max's car through the virtual roads.
Then, flying out of the background of the mass of vehicles comes one that may not be immediately recognizable to all viewers. While it bears a resemblance to a light cycle from Tron, it's actually the motorcycle ridden by Shotaro Kaneda in the Japanese anime Akira. Japanese pop culture from the 80s and 90s plays a significant role in the book, almost as much as its western counterpart, but some of it was surely obscure even for those who grew up in the era. It's great to see that at least some of it will successfully make the jump to the screen. The Atari, logo on the side of the bike is a nice touch too.
We see a massive monster truck blast through a bunch of cars at one point, apparently driven by Aech. When it goes off a massive ramp we can confirm based on the logo on the back that the truck is, in fact, the king of the monster trucks, Bigfoot. Bigfoot was so popular in the 1980s the car even had its own cartoon. Lots of kids in the 80s probably had Bigfoot toys, making it quite nostalgic to see that toy running through everything in the OASIS. This is another new edition to the story, but it looks great.
Back to the Future's Delorean
Steven Spielberg had previously said he would be keeping his own material, a major inspiration for the book, out of the movie version of Ready Player One. The one exception, however, is the Delorean from Back to the Future. It's the signature ride of lead character Parzival in the book, though there it's been tricked out. We don't see the Ghostbusters logo on the doors here, but there's a brief look at what might be the red LED bar from the front of KITT on Knight Rider which was also present in the novel.
Finally, one more musical easter egg. Tom Sawyer is probably the best-known song by the band Rush making it a perfect choice for the trailer. The band and their music is a huge part of the storyline of Ready Player One in the book and so the fact that their music plays here would seem to be an indication that their work will be part of the film. If you're a fan of the band this is great news. If you're not as familiar with Rush now, wait until you've seen Ready Player One. There's a good chance you'll come out of the theater a fan.
That's everything we saw in the trailer. Be sure to go here to check out everything else we know about the upcoming adaptation.
CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.
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