When news broke last year that screenwriter Zak Penn had been tapped by Warner Brothers to adapt Ernest Cline’s best-selling Ready Player One to film, rumors began swirling about high-profile directors looking to helm the movie. Said rumormongers apparently weren’t kidding around, as it’s been announced that Steven Spielberg will be throwing his considerable skills and cachet behind Cline’s elaborate nerd culture scavenger hunt of a story, just as soon as he finishes working on The BFG. In hindsight, it’s a natural fit; the novel’s focus on adventure, technology, and an almost overwhelming sense of nostalgia places it firmly in the famous dinosaur hunter’s directorial wheelhouse.
As with all books published since 2006, Ready Player One takes place in a dystopia; in this case, it’s one where people hide from their miserable lives and a ruined economy by playing in a virtual reality realm known as OASIS. Protagonist Wade Watts spends his time hunting OASIS for clues to the grand mystery buried in the heart of the game, a massive Easter-egg hunt with untold wealth and power as its prize. Along the way, he has to navigate a maze of clues that covers just about every beloved nerd icon from the last 30 years, including Spielberg himself.
Warner Bros. seems confident that it’ll be able to line up the rights to the myriad nerd references—ranging from classic video games like Asteroids to beloved ’80s teen fare like WarGames—that are peppered throughout the book’s plot, citing its success with the pop culture smorgasbord of The Lego Movie. Among many, many other things, that means viewers might have a chance to see Steven Spielberg direct a sequence set in the classic Dungeons And Dragons location The Tomb Of Horrors—a key location in the book’s early plot. That’s a concept so deliciously nerdy, it could retroactively erase the shame of the much-loathed 2000 Dungeons And Dragons movie once and for all.