Tye Sheridan and Olivia Cooke in Ready Player One.
(Warner Bros. Pictures)

An Underrated Steven Spielberg Masterpiece Is Getting a Sequel, but When?

It's time to level up ... again.

It’s time to level up, because a film adaptation of Ready Player Two is officially in development at Warner Bros. and Amblin Entertainment, promising to deliver a fitting followup to 2018’s Ready Player One. So, when can we expect to see the next chapter in Ernest Cline’s sci-fi universe hit the big screen?

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Steven Spielberg is, of course, no stranger to the science-fiction genre, having helmed certified classics such as E.T. and Close Encounters of the Third Kind in his lengthy directing career. However, Ready Player One marked a stark departure from Spielberg’s usual antics with a lively, colorful, and CGI-laden adaptation of author Ernest Cline’s 2010 novel of the same name.

Ready Player One stars Tye Sheridan as Wade Watts, a young orphan living in a dystopian 2045 who joins a mysterious contest in the digital world OASIS after its founder, James Halliday (Mark Rylance), dies, promising full ownership to the winner. Along the way, Wade and his allies have to face the corrupt corporation Innovative Online Industries (IOI), all while completing dangerous “challenges” that see them navigating real-life fictional worlds, with nods to Back to the Future and even Spielberg’s own Jaws.

It’s a nostalgic homage to pop culture, paying tribute to the kitschy, stylized movies, TV shows, and video games that so defined the past 40 or so years: Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, 1999’s The Iron Giant, and even Pac-Man are referenced in the film, among others. All of these Easter eggs helped skyrocket the film to critical and commercial success, as it even received a nomination for Best Achievement in Visual Effects at the 2019 Academy Awards. At the time of writing, Ready Player One sits at a solid 77 percent audience approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, making it somewhat of a given that it would receive the sequel treatment.

When does Ready Player Two come out?

Earlier this year, Showbiz 411 broke the news that, yes, a Ready Player One sequel is in active development, according to Steven Spielberg himself. He told the outlet that an adaptation of Ready Player Two, Cline’s 2020 sequel novel, is in the works, but that this time, he’s planning on ditching the director’s chair in favor of exclusively producing.

At the moment, not much is known about the upcoming Ready Player Two film, but it’s expected that Tye Sheridan will reprise his leading role. There’s also the off chance that House of the Dragon star Olivia Cooke will return for the sequel, though that seems substantially less likely given her increased demand as a Hollywood starlet.

As for the Ready Player Two release window, we’re probably pretty far off from seeing this thing arrive in theaters. Nothing has been confirmed, but from the sounds of it, pre-production has yet to begin, and a script almost certainly hasn’t been penned just yet. Of course, the film does have the added benefit of being able to work off of Cline’s novel, which … might not exactly be a positive thing, given readers’ less-than-enthusiastic reactions. With this in mind, I’d estimate that Ready Player Two will premiere sometime in the next three or four years.

Admittedly, it’ll be hard to top the success of Ready Player One, but with Spielberg taking on an advisory role as, presumably, its executive producer, the odds are ever in Ready Player Two’s favor. Recapturing the same magic as the original might prove difficult, but if it can replicate the same visual spectacle as the first film with a little help from George Lucas’ Industrial Light & Magic, we’re almost certainly in for a damn good time at the movies—if you liked the first one, that is.


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Amanda Landwehr
Amanda is a Los Angeles-based entertainment writer who lives and breathes Star Wars, Marvel, and all things pop culture. She has worked in digital media since 2021, covering the latest movie/TV releases, casting updates, fan theories, and so, so much more. When she's not rotting away behind her laptop screen, you can typically catch Amanda maxing out her AMC Stubs membership.