UPDATED with footage: Warner Bros planted a big footprint in Hall H today, kicking it off with footage from Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One. It marked the director’s second time here after The Adventures of Tintin in 2011.
Spielberg appeared alongside YA author Ernest Cline, who also co-scripted the film. “I learned to become a storyteller from this guy … his films are woven in my DNA,” said the author, who mentioned the movie will be a huge breakthrough for showing the masses the power of virtual reality. Said Spielberg: “When I read Ernie’s book, it was the amazing flash-forward and flashback to the ’80s that I used to work in. The creation of a virtual world took 2 1/2 years of preparation.”
About the source material’s focus on the future, the filmmaker quipped, “I read the book, and said, ‘They’re going to need a younger director.'”
In Ready Player One, the creator of an MMO called the Oasis dies, and he releases a video in which he challenges all Oasis users to find his Easter Egg, which will give the finder his fortune. Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) finds the first clue and starts a race for the Egg. The movie opens on March 30 for Easter weekend.
The clip is mind-blowing, showing a young protagonist who lives in a stacked trailer park in 2044 Columbus, OH, who puts on VR googles and enters a futuristic world much like Minority Report, with homages to 1980s elements like Freddie Krueger, the Back to the Future DeLorean and Rush’s iconic “Tom Sawyer.” It begins with a dazzling purple VR ballroom with dancers in the sky segueing to caped man riding a Scorpion-Transformer like creature. A big cameo : the Iron Giant.
“He’s a major player in this story,” said Spielberg.
During today’s panel — which included stars Sheridan, Olivia Cooke and Ben Mendolsohn and co-screenwriter Zak Penn — co-star T.J. Miller got cheers talking about his Comic-Con getup. “Steven Spielberg doesn’t like to refer to his movies in a meta way, so I wore my Back to the Future shoes and E.T. red hoodie.”