The Ready Player One Easter Eggs definitely deliver when it comes to Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and other DC Comics heroes. Those who have seen the film should make sure to check out our collection of every Ready Player One Easter Egg and Cameo from movies to video games, but with Warner Bros. opening the proverbial gates to any and all cameos and references to DC films, TV shows, comics, and animation, the film doesn't disappoint. Not only are Superman and Batman key figures in the story, but joined by cameos fans won't want to miss.
The supervillains of the DC Universe get to join in on Ready Player One's fun just as often as the Justice League, so audiences won't have to choose a favorite. Whether it's the Man of Steel, the Dark Knight, the Princess of the Amazons, or the Fastest Man Alive, the geek love for DC's icons is alive and well in the movie's future. So with one last SPOILER warning, let's get started on breaking each Easter Egg down.
18. Climb Everest With (Michael Keaton's?) Batman
The movie wastes no time embracing the historic popularity of DC's characters, proposing that Oasis users would want to spend time with superheroes regardless of context. Why make your dream of climbing Mt. Everest come true if just as easily one can "climb Mt. Everest... with Batman." The scene depicted alongside the first namedrop of a Justice League member may demonstrate exactly why, showing Batman's climbing partner dangling dangerously below him, supported only by the grip of the Dark Knight.
The first appearance is more clever than it appears, since younger viewers may not make the link between Batman and his effortless ability to climb a sheer surface. While that gag was a regular one on the Batman '66 TV series - showing Batman and Robin "walking up" the side of a building - the actual Batman shown isn't a match for Adam West. True to the 1980s nostalgia of the film, the Batman appears to be wearing the black and yellow-insignia-ed suit of Michael Keaton's portrayal (not the only Tim Burton nod in the movie, either).
17. The Flash Cameo
The sheer volume of possible cameos is made instantly clear when Wade's narration of the opening sequence swoops from isolated recreation or vacation planet to the first 'entrance' point. As users stream into the Oasis, viewers realize how James Halliday designed the Avatar system to make dreams come true. As Wade explains, people stay in the Oasis "because of all the things they can be. Tall, beautiful, scary, a different sex, a different species, live action, cartoon-- it's all your call."
Superheroes rise to the top of that fantasy list for obvious reasons, but keep your eyes peeled on one user as they slide into, then out of the left side of the camera's view. Their regular appearance is replaced by the red and yellow bodysuit of The Flash just as they disappear from sight - perhaps an inside joke about the speedster's ability. It's a memorable look, but it's probably better off not thinking too deeply about how a person could use Flash's powers in a shared virtual world.
16. The '66 Batmobile Easter Egg
It's not exactly fair that Batman should get mentioned in the opening sequence AND follow it up with a race challenge featuring some of the most iconic fictional vehicles. After all, signature vehicles are kind of Batman's thing. For every iconic or less-than-memorable version of Batman there is a Batmobile to match. As much as fans of the 1980s would love to see Tim Burton's Batmobile blast the competition away with its jet engine, it's the '66 version of the car that can be seen in the race's starting grid.
Considering how fresh the loss of Adam West is for Batfans, the extra love shown to George Barris' invention makes sense (and the paint job and bubble windshields make it impossible to miss). But the size of the driver's cowl - particularly the volume of its ears - and the rubber-looking shoulders and cape suggest it is, once again, a version close to Keaton's. It's possible that Spielberg's effects team stopped short of placing West into the film out of respect. Either that, or the user figured that Batmobile's Emergency Tire Inflators, Bat-tering Ram, and Bat-Beam were made for a race this crazy.
15. Sorrento's Evil Superman Avatar
Over the course of the movie corporate antagonist Nolan Sorrento makes a few efforts at seeming cool, geeky, or in any way 'hip' to the entire idea of fun and fantasy that shaped the Oasis. And there is nothing that sums up the idea of an over-aged, out of touch businessman trying to seem 'with it' than his choice of Avatar. From the sheer size and bulk of the Avatar, right down to the clean-shaven jaw and iconic curl of hair, there's no mistaking it: Nolan Sorrento chose Superman himself as his idea of a hero.
He loses points for imagination right from the start, and even more for not using any special powers. But then, he may actually earn some back by ditching what makes Superman so iconic, dressing him in a dark, generic suit of body armor. The design may fall closer to Shrek's human form than Henry Cavill's, but some inspiration from artist Alex Ross' version of the Man of Steel is visible in the hair and facial features. The point is, Nolan's attempt at being an 'evil Superman' just makes the Injustice version even better by comparison.
14. Wonder Woman Logo on Art3mis' Bike
The skill and speed with which Art3mis runs Halliday's unwinnable race means audiences don't actually get much time to examine her vehicle of choice. The design is torn right out of Akira, but the decorations she's made show that the popularity of Wonder Woman doesn't slip as we move into the future. Try to catch a good look at her motorcycle, and you can spot an obvious Wonder Woman logo located on the front right fairing, alongside the insignia of The Greatest American Hero.
The logo used isn't the modern version, since the nostalgia demands an older one. Still, the yellow 'W' surrounded by the band of blue and stars introduced in the late 1980s is just as easy to spot. And to think some at DC felt that introducing so many elements into Wonder Woman's imagery was a mistake at the time. The best part? It's not the only nod to Diana in the movie, either.
13. ACE Chemicals
The version of New York City may be referred to as "Liberty Island" in the film (a nod to the Grand Theft Auto video game series), but the most well-known fictionalized version of The Big Apple is, without question, the Gotham City of DC's Universe. The connection was obviously intended from the start, but the filmmakers take things a step further - to make sure that Easter Egg hunters in the audience would also jump out of their seats. Specifically, after Wade has prevented Art3mis from being caught by Kong... directly in front of the ACE Chemicals factory.
Famous for being the birthplace of The Joker, ACE Chemicals appeared in Batman v Superman, and again when Joker helped 'create' Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad. In Ready Player One the company's logo can be seen for a split second behind Art3mis, painted on a brick building set back from the racetrack. In the middle of the day, it's not anywhere near as ominous. In fact, it's mainly a tease of both those criminals' coming cameos.
12. Lex Luthor's Superman Movie Quotes
When Parzival finally gets the chance to spend some time with Art3mis while Aech rebuilds her bike, he relies on his knowledge of Halliday to prove he's a true Gunter. The best example he can give? By reciting Halliday's favorite movie quote, which Art3mis helps complete: "Some people can read War and Peace and come away thinking it's a simple adventure story. Others can read the ingredients on a chewing gum wrapper and unlock the secrets of the universe. A line from Lex Luthor delivered in Superman (1978), the first modern blockbuster to make audiences believe in the impossibility of superheroes.
There's a bit more to this reference viewers should know in order to appreciate it. On a literal level, the line resonates with the plot of Ready Player One quite well: the key to solving Halliday's challenge is to look through a grand adventure or idea to the core, and see the grand meaning in small details of his life. In the film the line is delivered by Gene Hackman to his less intellectual peers, showing Halliday may have empathized with Luthor. The scene also makes a joke on the meaning and delivery of "voilà" which is picked up by I-R0k later.
11. The Arkham Knight Cameo
Not every cameo tied to DC's Universe comes from the movies or TV shows. In the end, the video game adaptations of the Batman universe - specifically those dreamed up by the developers of Batman: Arkham Asylum at Rocksteady Studios - prove just as popular. The popularity of a game series from the 200s alongside classic gaming are controversial, but considering how big a splash the Arkham designs made on the geek community, it's understandable. And as far as 'painfully cool' designs taken to the extreme go, the poster boy is undoubtedly the Arkham Knight himself.
The villain of the third Rocksteady Arkham game made a splash with his perversion of Batman's cowl and body armor when he made his debut. If you never played the games, just take a look at the Halliday Journals patron exiting the building just as Parzival enters after losing the first race. And credit to the animators: the Arkham Knight's scanning of Parzival is pitch-perfect for the character.
10. Christopher Reeve Superman Reference
Parzival isn't ready for the instant fame he receives for being "first to the key," but gets a crash course when a mob of fans surrounds him upon his return to the Halliday Journals. He's saved by Art3mis (in costume as Mortal Kombat's Goro) who explains that from here on out, his research may need to be conducted in disguise. Luckily, she has just the item he needs: Clark Kent Glasses. Able to instantly change the appearance of Parzival into an unassuming, mild-mannered reporter (without altering his appearance choices underneath).
While that name is a broad one, and a clever play on the idea that Superman has only ever needed a pair of spectacles to hide his superhuman frame, the homage is clearer. From the hairstyle to the suit, right down to the exact same frames, Spielberg gets Parzival as close to Christopher Reeve's rendition of Clark Kent as possible.
9. Injustice Supergirl Cameo
Beetlejuice is obviously the person who makes themselves known when Parzival enters the Halliday Journals, but he's not the only recognizable face. Lara Croft returns, as do several other Avatars seen earlier and later in the film (the Arkham Knight, for instance, returns to the front of the crowd when Parzival broadcasts his speech later on).
But as soon as Beetlejuice announces Parzival's presence, quickly look to the blonde woman jumping up from the nearest table. If the cape, tights, and red boots and gloves don't give it away, the 'S' on her chest should. Supergirl's presence adds another dose of DC Comics lore to the movie, albeit in a subtler fashion than others. For clarity, this is actually a perfect replica of the Supergirl introduced as part of the Injustice comic series and fighting games. She's not the only Injustice cameo coming, either.
8. Deathstroke Cameo
The line of spaceships outside The Distracted Globe nightclub will need further examination to spot any potential DC Comics nods, but the nightclub scene offers plenty. The parade begins when Parzival makes his entry into the club, and the bright purple lights may conceal the first cameo that's hard to miss (provided you have an eye for silhouettes). The figure walking by is accompanied by a mystery woman, but his double bandoleers, guns, and swords suggest one answer. Even before his eyehole-less mask is discernible, he's a lock for Deathstroke The Terminator.
Famous as the deadliest contract killer in the DC Universe (a title he shares with several killers, and at least one more on our list), Slade Wilson has sported a lot of looks and costumes. The high collar of his suit here calls back to the period between his two most iconic looks. First, the chainmail and cuffed boots of the 1980s, and later the more heavily armored look of the Arkham games, Injustice, and even Joe Manganiello's appearance as Deathstroke in Justice League.
7. Harley Quinn & The Joker Cameo
Considering her popularity after both a) the Arkham series of games, and b) her big screen debut in Suicide Squad, it's not surprising to see Harley Quinn make not one, but two cameo appearances (at least). First, she can be spotted with two other women in a Distracted Globe booth - until I-R0k intrudes, sits, and tells them to beat it. Harley is impossible to miss in her identical Arkham look, even if we're deprived of hearing any lines of dialogue that are recognizable in her Brooklyn accent.
Harley apparently left that rude encounter and sought out the man of her dreams (nightmares?) since both she and The Joker can be seen on the dance non-floor when Parzival and Arty3mis dance. The black eye make-up on this version of Joker draws the strongest connection to Heath Ledger's version from The Dark Knight, and the hat isn't a match for his most iconic seen in The Killing Joker. Most likely solution is that the filmmakers weren't pointing to any ONE Joker.
6. DC's Injustice Heroes Team Up With Joker
Once Art3mis succeeds in dropping the magical ball of protective energy around Anorak's castle, the real fight finally begins. As Parzival raises his stero high over his head to the tune of "We're Not Gonna Take It," shots of rampaging heroes come a mile a minute. Which means it may be hard to see the Joker (spotted earlier dancing with Harley) actually team up with a few other DC Comics heroes in the infantry charge.
Joker is to the right of the screen, but the real cameos for DC fans is to the left. Batgirl makes her first brief appearance before getting a shot to herself later on, but behind her on either side are two more Injustice heroes that shouldn't be missed. The heroes are Aquaman - whose shoulder armor is visible on the extreme left of the screen - and The Flash, in his instantly-recognizable Injustice bodysuit (which could even be mistaken for a version of the TV version of The Flash in a glance).
5. The Catwoman Cameo
It wouldn't be right for Batman to get a handful of appearances in the movie (along with the Joker, Harley Quinn, Batgirl, and the Arkham Knight) without also showing some love to the only Gothamite to actually show some love to the Dark Knight. We're speaking, of course, about the one and only Selina Kyle: the Gotham City cat burglar who has remained a constant source of romantic interest and torture over Batman's half-century career. Viewers of Ready Player One were robbed of an opportunity to finally see Batman and Catwoman together in the Oasis, but she is on hand as one of the Avatars joining Parzival without hesitation (thrill-seeking always was her addiction).
Her cameo comes during Parzival's speech, when it's shown projected on a canopy in the public plaza seen in the films opening. The Arkham Knight is easy to spot stepping into the frame to observe the call to arms, but it's Catwoman who steps in before. It's a view from behind so the black silhouette and tiny cat ears on her cowl are the details to spot. She can later be seen from the front in the infantry charge (to the far left of frame alongside the rest of the female furies (Bloodrayne, Shepard, Lara Croft, and Cassie Cage).
4. Batgirl Battle Cameo
Batman and Superman may be getting the most reference action to this point, but another DC heroine joins the fun in a full-blown cameo that may be among the hardest to spot. That being said, your average fan of Barbara Gordon's Batgirl doesn't need much more than a glimpse to go on. We can offer some details that will make her easier to spot. The cameo comes in the final battle sequence, after Parzival has made his way through to the final challenge - and after Sorrento has triggered the Cataclyst to wipe out every player in the Oasis.
The resulting explosion claims I-R0k before he can reach his escape portal, and from there, it's total chaos. Don't get distracted by the first explosions of sound and light consuming players, though. As the shot jumps to a new group of heroes about to be erased, Batgirl's unmistakable cowl, cape, and flowing hair are placed in the foreground mid-beating of an unsuspecting Sixer. Her looks have remained mostly consistent from the shoulders up, so it's hard to tell if this is also the Arkham version or a similar comic design.
3. Deadshot Cameo
We know it's not easy to keep the likes of Deadpool, Deathlok, and Deathstroke straight these days, but hopefully his appearance in the Suicide Squad movie will earn Deadshot some recognition. If not for his costume, than at least for his impossible-to-miss red sight mounted over his eye. The member of Task Force X (and wouldn't you know it, another one of DC's elite assassins who reportedly "never misses") can be seen immediately after Parzival raises the stereo over his head to signal a charge.
Several character come pouring over the small summit upon which Parzival is perched, and Deadshot is among them. His gear and guns are actually more generic in this brief glimpse than some of his most ostentatious comic looks, but give credit where it's due. It isn't Deadshot without his wrist-mounted firearms, and those are most definitely present for the film's climactic assault on Anorak's Castle.
2. The Batman Sticker on Wade's Goggles
Just because geeks now have the opportunity to be Batman inside of the Oasis, that doesn't mean they have any less desire to slap the hero's insignia on almost anything in need of some cool-factor-improving. The majority of Wade's time in the Oasis is launched from his van, concealed in a pile of vehicle a short distance from his home in the Columbus Stacks. After he loses his race and heads home to consider Art3mis' accusations that he was wasting his time, Wade starts to wonder if he's missed an important clue.
The line that "Halliday hated rules" jogs his memory enough to necessitate a visit back to the Halliday Journals. To get there, Wade hurries to his bag to remove a portable version of his Oasis goggles. Stickers paying tribute to classic game publisher Midway, and the original Space Invaders can be seen, but the Batman logo is the biggest of them all. Since a different Batman symbol can later be seen on a goggle rig in the Rebels' base, it seems Batman is as omnipresent a property three decades from now.
1. Also on Aech's Jacket
The Wonder Woman Easter Eggs continue once the real-world version of Aech-- sorry, Helen rescues Wade from capture. There may be a little too much going on for viewers to actually take a good look at Helen's denim jacket, but the pins and badges she uses to decorate it are a feast for fans of 1980s pop culture. There are nods to the Thundercats that may be easiest to spot, but there's more than one DC Comics reference contained right beside them.
First, there's the same Wonder Woman symbol seen earlier on Art3mis' bike, given a boost by a small badge depicting what looks to be George Perez's Diana with arms crossed in her now-famous Amazon pose. On the opposite side of her jacket, you can spot a small Supergirl badge, too.
Those are all of the DC Comics Easter Eggs, tributes, references, and homages that we found scattered throughout Ready Player One's running time. There are guaranteed to be more as repeat viewings take place and HD images surface online, but for now, be sure to let us know if there are any others you spotted so we can keep this list growing!
- Ready Player One (2018) release date: Mar 29, 2018