Entertainment Weekly has shared a first-look photo from the set of Ready Player One, Steven Spielberg’s big-screen adaptation of Ernest Cline’s ’80s-obsessed sci-fi novel. The single pic shows our hero, Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan), inside his grungy old van and donning the headset that brings him into OASIS, a virtual-reality simulation that functions as both an online video game and an alternate society for the suffering masses of the film’s dystopian future.
To his right is where things get a bit plot specific. Watts, who goes by Parzival inside OASIS, is one of many people hunting down the Easter Egg, a hidden treasure left behind by the game’s creator, James Halliday. The first person to uncover it will inherit his fortune and the corporation, effectively gaining control of this massive virtual universe that nearly everyone uses to escape the an Earth that’s been ravaged by climate change and economic stagnation. We can see the extent of Watt’s obsession with Halliday. He’s plastered the wall scribbled notes and articles about the late programmer.
In keeping with the novel’s love of real-world ’80s pop culture, both the mainstream and the obscure, the real fun of this photo is in the referential details you can spot if you take a gander at EW’s high-resolution pic. The glove Watts is wearing, which helps him control the game, recalls the NES’ iconic and lovably awful Power Glove controller. Because he’s a gamer, and therefore a slovenly pig, his van is littered with the detritus of various name-brand junk foods, from Charleston Chew to Carl’s Jr. They even snuck some Garfield and Garbage Pail Kids stickers onto the wall to his left. We’ll undoubtedly see plenty more of these kinds of references when Ready Player One premiers on March 30, 2018.