Why Ready Player One Only References The Original Star Wars Movies

Star Wars: A New Hope

Like its original novel penned by Ernest Cline, the Ready Player One movie is packed with pop culture references, and contrary to initial reports, Star Wars is among them. Last week, director Steven Spielberg confirmed that when we visit the OASIS later this month on the big screen, there will be Star Wars Easter eggs sprinkled throughout the story. However, don't expect to see any references to the prequel trilogy or current Star Wars movies, as that doesn't fit within the nostalgic time period that influences this virtual world. Spielberg said:

I didn't think it would be good to do the contemporary characters in all of the [new] Star Wars films, because our film takes place in 2045 but everybody has returned nostalgically to the 1980s. Disney was very generous in letting us basically cherry-pick the little items we needed.

It is worth noting that Ready Player One's references don't solely hail from 1980s entertainment. There are some nods to 1990s pop culture as well, as evidenced by the Iron Giant running around and a T-rex from Jurassic Park rampaging. In fact, if we really wanted to split hairs, then technically The Phantom Menace would qualify, as that came out in 1999. Nevertheless, Steven Spielberg's reasoning to Yahoo Movies does make sense. In 1977, A New Hope kicked off the franchise that's still taking the world by storm, and The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi followed in 1980 and 1983, respectively. These three movies were enormously influential on pop culture in the 1980s, so it would be weird not to reference them in some way during Ready Player One. The newer Star Wars movies have certainly been popular, but since they don't into the pop culture era during which OASIS creator James Halliday grew up, they don't make the cut.

Thankfully for Steven Spielberg, he didn't have any issue obtaining the right to reference Star Wars, and other movie studios, game companies and toy companies were also more than happy with the director using their intellectual property for Ready Player One. As for the Star Wars references thrown into the movie, Spielberg noted that fans should be on the lookout for R2-D2 and an X-Wing starfighter in the "periphery of the painting." Aside from users in the OASIS getting to interact with character vehicles and other elements from 1980s and 1990s pop culture, these references are important in the hunt for the Easter egg James Halliday left behind before his death. Whoever finds that Easter egg will obtain Halliday's fortune and gain control of the OASIS.

Ready Player One hits theaters on March 29, and be sure to read our review of the movie. As for the year's other major motion picture releases, you can look through our 2018 release schedule.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.