A Ready Player One movie sequel seems very likely now that the Steven Spielberg-directed film is an international box office ticket success that has generated over $500 million worldwide. Thankfully, there is already a Ready Player One book 2 called Ready Player Two that is being written by author Ernest Cline. Based on recent comments, it’s possible that the Ready Player Two release date for the book could be announced sometime soon in 2018.
Back in February, Cline told The Hollywood Reporter that, if the movie does well, the “following week they’ll decide whether or not they want to make Ready Player Two.” Based on that realization, it occurred to the author that he should be working hard on finishing the Ready Player One book sequel.
“I’d always intended to write more in the series, but I never imagined the movie would get done before I finished writing them,” Cline admitted. “So, I had to kick it into high gear.”
The movie adaptation was based on a 2011 book and Cline helped co-write the initial draft of the screenplay for the film, so it retained the feel of the original story. However, some elements of certain scenes were changed by Spielberg and the studio. These differences, both large and small, were upsetting to fans who wanted the film to stay true to its source material.
For example, in the book, the main character finds the first key because he’s stuck on a planet in the OASIS that he can’t afford to leave because it costs money. The fact that he’s literally a nobody resulted in him finding a secret cave that most players would ignore. He won the key by playing a game of the classic Joust. In the movie, Parzival/Wade Watts (as played by actor Tye Sheridan) hacks an extremely hard race by finding a workaround, which works better for an action blockbuster movie. Similarly, the book’s second key was a love letter to 80’s pop culture since it was like a playthrough of the WarGames film, whereas the movie featured Spielberg’s mentor, Stanley Kubrick, with an homage to The Shining.
Thankfully, the Ready Player One movie sequel probably won’t be influenced by these changes all that much. According to Cinema Blend, Cline specifically set out to have a finished rough draft of the Ready Player Two book sequel completed before he ever saw the movie version. He knew that watching the movie would influence the upcoming book and he was “very conscious of wanting to write” a Ready Player One sequel “that would please fans of the novel but also could serve as the basis for a fun movie.”
“I’m trying to write a sequel to the book and not to the movie, because the movie has changed things,” he said. “So, it’s tricky, keeping two different versions of the story in my head.”
The author was even willing to give some small spoilers about the Ready Player Two book. He revealed that the second book won’t be focused on a contest, although the central conflict will still be the same “kind of situation.” Parzival and other characters will be returning. The plot will apparently mirror Cline’s own life since both Wade and the author went from “studying and obsessing over pop culture and cinema” and celebrating the things that they love to attaining fame and fortune.
“Getting to work alongside my hero, seeing Parzival in the story meet Ogden Morrow, one of the creators of the OASIS. That’s how I feel,” Cline explained. “Now I can take what I’ve learned through the experience and hopefully translate it Wade’s experience in the sequel.”
Cline also told Coming Soon that he has been quasi-collaborating with Spielberg in writing the Ready Player Two book sequel. Besides writing the initial draft of the screenplay, Cline said he’s been bouncing ideas off of Spielberg for the sequel, which he says is the “most gratifying thing” that’s ever happened to him in his life.
The elephant in the room is whether or not Spielberg is willing to return to direct the Ready Player One movie sequel. It’s not concrete since Spielberg did not return for the Jaws sequels or for Jurassic World. The aging director may also be unwilling to sign up since he told Empire magazine that directing Ready Player One was “the most sleep-deprived experience I’ve ever had making a movie” and “the third most difficult [movie] I’ve made after Jaws and Saving Private Ryan.” However, he also called it the “most fulfilling experience I’ve had.”
Besides Ready Player Two, Ernest Cline will definitely see another one of his books adapted into a movie. According to Variety, Universal reportedly purchased the rights to the Armada book for a seven-figure sum. The story will feature a SciFi gamer fighting back against an alien invasion. While that sounds like Adam Sandler’s Pixels movie at first glance, it’s more like a combination of Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game and The Last Starfighter.