How Steven Spielberg Lit A Fire Under Ready Player Two Writer To Get The Sequel Done

The great Steven Spielberg has never really stopped making movies. In fact, he’s continued to direct a new movie just about every other year since his career began. But one major highlight for the legendary filmmaker in recent years was the adaptation of Ernest Cline’s bestselling novel Ready Player One in 2018. The blockbuster was an imaginative spin on the sci-fi concept and now has room to continue following the recent release of Ready Player Two.

Over the Thanksgiving holiday, Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One sequel hit bookshelves and became a No. 1 New York Times bestseller. The author has shared that he always had the possibilities of sequels in his head while writing the original novel, the production of the Warner Bros movie certainly helped move along the process of penning Ready Player Two. As Cline recalled:

I knew everybody would even be going into this story with expectations, including me and including Steven Spielberg. He would call occasionally and ask if it was done. Nothing will light a fire under you like getting one of those phone calls, and I knew fans were waiting too. At the same time, I wasn't going to let anyone rush me. It's a strange sort of storytelling. I worked on Ready Player One for almost a decade.

While speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Ernest Cline shared that the making of the Ready Player One movie inspired him to get working on the sequel. And Steven Speilberg would actually call him up and ask where he was on Ready Player Two. Y’all, imagine the filmmaker behind Indiana Jones and E.T. asking you how your book is coming along? It’s just wild.

Ready Player One was Ernest Cline’s debut novel, and an explosion of a way to break into the industry. It was a widely loved science fiction story about the globally shared virtual universe known as the OASIS and the series of incredible puzzles young Wade Watts seeks to solve in order to inherit its creator’s vast fortune. When one writes something so beloved, it can be rough to follow it up. Cline explained:

It did give me a huge amount of anxiousness going into writing it. I know from my own experience — like with the Star Wars prequels — that expectations are often resentments waiting to happen. The higher your expectations, the more you're setting yourself up for disappointment. The great thing about my first novel was that nobody knew who I was and people could discover it.

And Ready Player Two didn’t quite live up to the expectations of the original, albeit there were impossible expectations that were built up in the past decade of the book’s existence. The book garnered an average of 3.5 out of 5 stars on Goodreads in comparison to the original’s over 4-star acclaim. Critics of the novel call the sequel too much of a rehash of Ready Player One, though overall it has more fans than flakes.

Ernest Cline has shared that a Ready Player Two movie is currently in the “early stages” of being developed. We’d imagine Steven Spielberg would once again be involved, even as a producer. The Ready Player One movie dazzled fans by mixing up a lot of the puzzles from the book and, if the sequel decides to do the same thing, it may take longer to adapt.

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Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.