I don’t think it’s an understatement to say that Ready Player One has probably hundreds of Easter eggs to pore over. From Mad Max to Battletoads, and one I absolutely won’t ruin for you, but is a killer – there’s bound to be something for everyone. There’s also bound to be dozens more that you’ve never heard of, and that’s half the fun, right? The cast thought so too: watch them reveal some of their favourites, and the ones that left them scrambling for Wikipedia.
Actress Olivia Cooke, who stars as Art3mis/Samantha alongside Tye Sheridan’s Parzival/Wade, picked Beetlejuice as her absolute favourite, despite it being a characteristically “blink-and-you’ll miss it” moment.
Win Morisaki (AKA Daito), however, has a character-subverting reason as to why he has a certain Easter egg in mind: “In the [Iron Giant] movie he says, ‘I am not a gun,’ but in this movie he used a laser.” Those who were hoping for a more faithful Iron Giant adaptation might be feeling a little sore; the rest of us will be cheering when he starts smashing stuff.
It’s not all Gundams and roses, though. Some deep cuts are just too dense. Unless you know the entirety of the Atari 2600 back catalogue, and the like, you’re going to be a little lost on some of the more obscure cameos and nods to pop-culture.
“As you read the book,” Tye Sheridan points out, “You get a couple of sentences in and you’re like ‘Oh, what is that?’ and you’re like [types on imaginary keyboard].” But, for 21-year-old Sheridan, the Ready Player One novel also served as a “crash course on the ‘80s,” which I’m sure helped. Yes, he’s a leading man at 21. Yes, we’re all old. Fun fact, he doesn’t know who Dobby from Harry Potter is! Who’s the real winner here? (It’s still him.)
“You go to the bathroom… and you’ll casually miss like, 2000 references,” says Philip Zhao, who plays Sho and is just as infectiously entertaining as he appears in the movie. He’s not far wrong, either. Ben Mendelsohn’s favourite choice of Mad Max was something I didn’t even pick up on during my first watch of the movie.
It’s clear just from the smiles as the cast reminisce about Ready Player One’s Easter egg-filled extravaganza that the movie just demands several re-watches, and is sure to become a staple of many a Blu-ray collection for some time to come.
Hankering for some more VR wackiness? Here's 11 more movies with amazingly unrealistic virtual reality worlds.