Like its original novel penned by Ernest Cline, the Ready Player One movie is packed with pop culture references, and contrary to initial reports, Star Wars is among them. Last week, director Steven Spielberg confirmed that when we visit the OASIS later this month on the big screen, there will be Star Wars Easter eggs sprinkled throughout the story. However, don’t expect to see any references to the prequel trilogy or current Star Wars movies, as that doesn’t fit within the nostalgic time period that influences this virtual world. Spielberg said:
It is worth noting that Ready Player One‘s references don’t solely hail from 1980s entertainment. There are some nods to 1990s pop culture as well, as evidenced by the Iron Giant running around and a T-rex from Jurassic Park rampaging. In fact, if we really wanted to split hairs, then technically The Phantom Menace would qualify, as that came out in 1999. Nevertheless, Steven Spielberg’s reasoning to Yahoo Movies does make sense. In 1977, A New Hope kicked off the franchise that’s still taking the world by storm, and The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi followed in 1980 and 1983, respectively. These three movies were enormously influential on pop culture in the 1980s, so it would be weird not to reference them in some way during Ready Player One. The newer Star Wars movies have certainly been popular, but since they don’t into the pop culture era during which OASIS creator Ogden Morrow grew up, they don’t make the cut.
Thankfully for Steven Spielberg, he didn’t have any issue obtaining the right to reference Star Wars, and other movie studios, game companies and toy companies were also more than happy with the director using their intellectual property for Ready Player One. As for the Star Wars references thrown into the movie, Spielberg noted that fans should be on the lookout for R2-D2 and an X-Wing starfighter in the “periphery of the painting.” Aside from users in the OASIS getting to interact with character vehicles and other elements from 1980s and 1990s pop culture, these references are important in the hunt for the Easter egg Ogden Morrow left behind before his death. Whoever finds that Easter egg will obtain Morrow’s fortune and gain control of the OASIS.