Ernest Cline has revealed Ready Player One director Steven Spielberg never mentioned the book's dig at Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull. While Raiders Of The Lost Ark is almost universally considered the best, fans hold a special place in their hearts for all three of the original Indiana Jones movies. The trilogy is considered a sacred text in fandom – which can't be said of belated 2008 sequel Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull.
The fourth movie always ran the risk of disappointing audiences after such a long wait, but the movie's over-reliance on CGI, stale comedy and the inclusion of Shia LaBeouf's sidekick Mutt quickly saw fans turn on it. It also included the infamous "Nuked The Fridge" moment, which is the much-maligned scene where Harrison Ford's adventurer takes shelter in a lead-lined fridge to survive a nuclear blast. The movie was still a massive success, but many agree it lacks the heart of the first three, and most fans prefer to ignore it.
The Ready Player One novel takes a not so subtle jab at the sequel too, with OASIS creator James Halliday stating at one point he preferred to beleive Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull didn't happen. Ernest Cline addressed this in a new interview with CinemaBlend, revealing that if Spielberg took any offense, he hasn't brought it up:
[Steven Spielberg] never said anything about that. You know, he's got a pretty thick skin, and that little dig is done in the context of 'the first three are a holy trilogy,' and it's also a very geek thing. That was a way to build Halliday's character. So many geeks from that era are so reverent and Halliday's maybe a little too reverent about the 1980s and the first original three came out in the 1980s, you know? So anything outside of the 1980s didn't count. It was less a dig about Steven and the movie and more about Halliday's obsession with and fixation with the 1980s.
Spielberg is currently prepping Indiana Jones 5, which will probably take place in the 1960s. Returning screenwriter David Koepp was also responsible for Crystal Skull, so when Koepp visited the Ready Player One set to talk with Spielberg about the next sequel, Cline admits he was afraid of how Koepp would react to the gag.
I will tell you that David Koepp came to the set of Ready Player One to talk about Indiana Jones 5, and I really wanted to go over and say hello, but I didn't because I was like 'Oh I bet he read this book,' and he's like 'Back off.' I never met him. I didn't go over there. It's just the worst thing. I remember when I met him I was like 'I hope he doesn't bring that up.' He never did.
While Spielberg hasn’t disowned Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull, he seems more than aware of the backlash it received. Some fans tried to pin blame for certain creative choices on George Lucas, but Spielberg insists any fault lays with him, including the fridge nuking moment. Co-star LaBeouf also claimed he and Harrison Ford weren't happy with the movie while they were making it, and that it "dropped the ball" for fans.
The film version of Ready Player One doesn't feature many overt references to movies Spielberg directed, outside of the appearance of a T-Rex during one action scene. This was a conscious decision on the filmmaker's part - so obviously, the Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull jab didn't make it in either.
- Ready Player One (2018) release date: Mar 29, 2018
- Indiana Jones 5 (2021) release date: Jul 09, 2021