How The Ready Player One Ending Could Be Teasing Ernie Cline’s Sequel

Ready Player One

This story will have Ready Player One spoilers. Stop reading now if you haven't seen the movie!

The closing scenes of Steven Spielberg's Ready Player One introduced a new wrinkle that we didn't read about in the book. Not Wade (Tye Sheridan) and Samantha (Olivia Cooke) closing the OASIS for two days a week -- though that was an original choice. Instead, we saw Wade -- after winning the overall competition -- interact with his idol, James Halliday (Mark Rylance), in the program that the genius created. Only, Halliday is dead. Isn't he? CinemaBlend recently had Ready Player One screenwriter Zak Penn as a guest on the recurring podcast ReelBlend, and when we asked his for clarification on this unusual scene, Penn revealed to us:

If you just think about it, Halliday appears in the movie in the flashbacks -- in the Halliday Journals, which obviously is a departure from the book. That doesn't exist in the book and that was a way to get him actually on screen. But when he turns back into Halliday in the OASIS, who is that? That's not Halliday, because Halliday is dead. That's not... there's no twist coming that Halliday is actually alive. He is dead. And it's not Anorak, because he's changed back to Halliday.So the question is, what is that? Who is that person who [Wade] is talking to? And, you know, it obviously raises some good questions about what defines consciousness, and what defines who is real and who isn't real. But I think that even the way he has his own younger self with him in the room should give you a clue that that Halliday is not -- he's kind of taken on his own persona. But I do think that that's something that Ernie will deal with in the sequel, in the book.

That's right, Ernie Cline, the author of the source novel for Ready Player One, is hard at work on a follow up story that will be set in the OASIS. And seeing as how Cline worked hand in hand with Zak Penn on the screenplay for Steven Spielberg's movie, there's no chance that he'd allow him to make such a major change to the status of James Halliday (Mark Rylance) without teasing that this might be a concept that he wants to explore about the OASIS.

In the scene in question, Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) meets with Halliday (Rylance) in a recreation of the programmer's childhood bedroom. A young version of Halliday also sits there playing a console video game on an old TV set. Halliday acknowledges that he keeps this version of himself nearby. Does this mean that Halliday somehow found a way to upload his consciousness INTO the OASIS, and he can personify himself at any stage of his existence? It seems like a master of virtual reality would have that capability.

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Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Sean created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.