Ready Player One author Ernest Cline's other novel Armada will get its own film adaptation from Universal Pictures. Steven Spielberg of course adapted Cline's debut novel into the nostalgia heavy action-adventure Ready Player One, which won Easter weekend's box office with $53.2 million over four days, the second-biggest opening weekend of 2018 behind only Black Panther.
Cline followed up his 2011 hit novel Ready Player One with Armada, which also went on to become a New York Times bestseller. Like Ready Player One, Armada revolves around a young man who spends much of his life lost in playing video games. This time, the hero discovers that his favorite online game is actually a simulator intended to prepare players to defend the earth against an alien invasion. The storyline, as '80s movie fans already know, is very similar to the 1984 film The Last Starfighter.
As reported by Deadline, Cline's Armada will - predictably - follow the hugely successful Ready Player One to the big screen. Dan Mazeau (Wrath of the Titans) has been tapped to write a new screenplay draft, after Cline penned the first draft. Dylan Clark (Planet of the Apes) and Dan Farah (Ready Player One) will produce, with Scott Stuber as executive producer.
Like Ready Player One, Armada includes heavy pop culture nostalgia elements. In the story, the lead character Zack Lightman stumbles upon a notebook left behind by his late father which details an elaborate conspiracy theory revolving around sci-fi movies and novels. This gives Cline an excuse to drop in references to everything from Star Wars to The Last Starfighter to Ender's Game. Eventually, aliens from Jupiter's moon Europa do actually attack earth. Zack and his fellow video game nuts must then put their skills to use defending earth from a base on the moon.
As has become clear from his literary output thus far, Ernest Cline really loves pulling together his various pop culture influences into narratives involving young video game loving male heroes on epic quests. Some have complained that the movie adaptation of Ready Player One leaned too heavily on nostalgic reference, while others have bemoaned the rather vanilla nature of the lead character played by Tye Sheridan. It doesn't sound like Armada will stray very far from the same basic formula, though there's always the possibility that future script drafts will find a way to put a novel twist on the story's central elements.
Whatever one may think of Ready Player One, there's no question that it's on its way to become a big international hit. Therefore it should come as no surprise that Cline's other, very similar work will also head for the big screen. Cline also reportedly is working on a Ready Player One sequel, another predictable development. It will be interesting to see who Universal ultimately taps to direct Armada.
- Ready Player One (2018) release date: Mar 29, 2018