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Who's ready to return to the OASIS? Fans of Ernest Cline's novel Ready Player One already have the feature adaptation to anticipate, and now it sounds like the author isn't finished with the story, as he's reportedly writing a sequel novel.
Screenwriter Zak Penn revealed this little nugget of information when he spoke with Den of Geek. It came up pretty casually, from the sound of it, but Penn's comment is pretty straight-forward:
"Ernie's working on a sequel to it [Ready Player One], and it is one of those great ideas that has endless possibilities. And to a certain extent, the longer it exists and the more Ernie thinks about it, the more he comes up with."
It's not difficult to understand why Ernest Cline might be envisioning something more for the virtual setting of Ready Player One. The OASIS is vast and overflowing with pop culture references, many of which the novel touches on. But the first book gives off the impression that this backdrop could be explored much further. So as wary as we often tend to be about sequels, I'm not going to lie, I've kind of been hoping for this news since I read the book. I'm not sure if I need to know what's next for Wade, but I'd love to read more stories set in this world.
Ready Player One is set in 2044, where the real world isn't such a great place anymore, but the virtual world that is the OASIS proves to be a sprawling refuge, where people can log in and do everything from shop to attend work or school, or socialize and essentially anything else. The story follows Wade Watts, a kid who's hunting for an Easter Egg hidden somewhere in the OASIS by the virtual world's creator, James Halliday, who died and is leaving the OASIS to whomever can win this scavenger hunt. As Halliday grew up in the 1980s, his fondness for the decade is scattered throughout the OASIS in the form of nostalgic references to 80s pop culture (video games, movies, music, etc).
The book sets Wade up as sort of a Charlie Bucket touring Willie Wonka's factory, except instead of being the poor kid who stands to inherit a lifetime supply of chocolate, Wade's trying to inherit the OASIS. And he's not alone in this quest, which creates a race-like tension throughout the book.
The story is brimming with great pop culture references -- if you want to spoil yourself (assuming you haven't read the book), check out the list here -- which obviously presents a challenge for the film adaptation. Back in November, Zak Penn actually talked about that when mentioning that he'd finished the script for the movie, noting that they aren't yet at a the point where they'll have to start seeking the rights to some of the mentioned pop culture references. This may prove to be a substantial challenge for the film, which also faces the challenge of figuring out how to bring this virtual universe to life. That's obviously less of an issue as it relates to Ernest Cline's sequel novel.
In terms of the title, Ernest Cline may have already called that last fall when he tweeted his frustration over not being verified...
Ok, he may have just been ranting about Twitter, but Ready Player Two does have a nice ring to it. (I'm imagining Luigi agreeing with a nod and a death-stare)...
Penn's comment notes that " the more Ernie thinks about it, the more he comes up with," which suggests the writer is overflowing with ideas. But what is this story about? We can only speculate for now. Will it follow Wade and some of the other characters from the first book? Or is it the OASIS setting that's getting a sequel? Perhaps Wade has come up with his own scavenger-hunt situation and the followup will focus on a new hunt and a new underdog trying to navigate his or her way toward glory. A scenario like that might seem repetitive, but it wouldn't be hard to believe that Wade might want to find a way to honor Halliday by rewarding others like himself.
Or maybe Ready Player Two will involve someone (or a group of someones) trying to take control of OASIS away from Wade. That could be interesting. Perhaps the story won't be so closely related to Wade at all, and instead will focus on something else that's going on in the OASIS. Again, your guess is as good as mine. But for those of us who are itching for another story set in this virtual world, it sounds like something is coming.