Ready Player One Trailer: Every Reference & Cameo

Ernest Cline's Ready Player One is many things. Beyond its core story, it is a tribute to popular culture, geek culture and 80's culture. There are so many references to video games, Dungeons & Dragons and major players in the geek world that one might think it was fanfiction... if they could only figure out which fandom it was a part of. The book is so referential that the audiobook version of it is read by Wil Wheaton, allowing listeners to hear Wil Wheaton talk about how well Wil Wheaton had represented the virtual world of the Oasis.

Now, the first trailer for Steven Spielberg's adaptation of the novel has been released. As any fan of Ready Player One might expect, the trailer is chock full of cameos and references from a wide range of media. In fact, there are so many packed in there that it's hard to catch them all. In case you missed any, here's our list of every reference and cameo in the first trailer for Ready Player One.

The Van

Our hero, a teenager named Wade Watts, explains the state of the world while climbing through the Stacks (which are communities of trailers that are literally stacked one on top of another) until he reaches his private sanctuary. Much of the van that Wade keeps his VR gear in has already been dissected from promotional images; it's a geek's paradise, filled with everything from a He-Man lunchbox to stickers representing various fandoms. There's also a busted iPod and a number of other pieces of retro equipment. The entire van set is a mix of in-universe items (such as news clipping detailing information about the OASIS) and references.

Pure Imagination

Once Wade puts on his VR gear and starts logging in to the OASIS, the music shifts. If you listen closely, the new arrangement is actually based on "Pure Imagination" from Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. This is significant not only in that the game takes place in virtual reality (hence, in the imagination) but also in that Wade's character has been compared to Charlie from that film by a number of reviewers.

Deathstroke and Harley

After logging in, we see Wade entering a room where a grand party is going on. Leaving as he comes in are two DC Comics icons: Deathstroke the Terminator and Harley Quinn. (Some have claimed that it's Deadpool and Harley, but Warner Bros. is making the film so the masked man with the swords has to be from Warner-owned DC Comics. Given the physical similarities between Deathstroke and Deadpool, it's an easy mistake to make.)

The Iron Giant

After a screen identifying it as a Warner Bros. film, we're greeted with an outdoor shot showing Wade and another player with the Iron Giant from the animated film of the same name. Spielberg claims that the Giant plays a major role in the film. In the animated film the Giant was voiced by Vin Diesel, but there's no indication so far that Diesel will be providing voice work for Ready Player One.

The DeLorean

Another splash screen, and then we see a car peeling into a roundabout surrounding a fountain. We only get a brief view from a distance, but that's a DeLorean. Not only that, but it's THE DeLorean, the time machine that Doc Brown built in Back to the Future. In the novel it's even more impressive... it's known as Ecto-88, and combines the DeLorean with Ecto-1 from Ghostbusters. It's also powered by KITT from Knight Rider (which is also the case in the movie; there's a split second shot later in the trailer where you can see KITT's iconic light bar on the front of the DeLorean. No sign of Ecto-1 modifications, though).


The classic video game Joust plays a key part in the book's plot, and we get a glimpse of some of the Joust birds in all of their glory. The creatures that the mechanical scorpion is fighting are those birds; when it kills one, you can even see a bright green egg pop up. You may also notice that the scorpion rider is wearing what may be an Ultraman helmet and carrying a sword that may be Excalibur.

1 2
Key Release Dates
  • Ready Player One (2018) release date: Mar 29, 2018
Yes, Marvel's Punisher Is A Serial Killer (Not a Hero)

More in SR Originals