Fans who loved all the Star Wars references in the Ready Player One novel will no doubt be disappointed to find out that Steven Spielberg’s film adaptation has far fewer, trading them in for more Star Trek Easter eggs instead. Still, you can’t get away with making a movie obsessed with 1980s science fiction without tossing at least a few in there.
Ready Player One hit theaters on Thursday. Despite Spielberg implying earlier this March that the film would go without any Star Wars nods, he changed his tune a few days later, and the final version of the film does indeed reference Star Wars more than once. It’s worth noting, however, that Spielberg cherry-picked only a few items from the original trilogy because that’s the pop culture era characters from Ready Player One are obsessed with.
Here are all of the Star Wars references and Easter eggs people supposedly noticed in Ready Player One:
Spoilers do follow for Ready Player One.
1. Sound of a TIE Fighter
Tons of sci-fi shops pop up in Ready Player One, and the folks over at Radio Times claim they noticed the iconic screech of an Imperial TIE Fighter at one point but didn’t actually see one. We can’t confirm this one, but it’s entirely possible.
2. Group of Stormtroopers
Digital Spy claims, “OASIS citizens styled as various Star Wars characters can also be spotted throughout the film including R2-D2 and a group of stormtroopers.” If this is indeed true, then the stormtroopers probably appeared either during the beginning scenes when Parzival walks around a terminal-like kind of social space or in one of the two huge battle sequences that take place on Planet Doom. Vulture writes that they’re seen as avatars in the “battle royale” sequence early in the movie.
In an interview earlier this month with Fandango’s managing editor Erik Davis, Spielberg said, “If you look very carefully you’ll see R2-D2 somewhere,” adding that like many of the film’s Easter eggs, Artoo is in “in the periphery of the painting.” The droid probably doesn’t appear in a battle. If he’s anywhere, then he’s in the aforementioned social space, the library, or even in a special ship we’ll mention a bit later. Vulture, however, writes that Artoo appears as a “toy seen on the floor,” which could either be in Aech’s workshop or the young James Halliday’s bedroom very late in the movie.
When Parzival successfully completes the first contest by driving backward through an underground version of the course, he gets the first key and gains a spot at the top of the leaderboard. James Halliday’s in-game avatar, Anorak, then greets Parzival and actually calls him “padawan,” which is of course the Star Wars term for a Jedi trainee.
5. Millennium Falcon
The Falcon gets a mere namedrop partway through the movie when Nolan Sorrento tries bribing Wade Watts to join IOI and help them get the Egg. In addition to millions of dollars in payment, Sorrento also offers Wade an in-game replica of the Millennium Falcon.
This admittedly seems a bit weird considering that Parzival’s best friend Aech made an Iron Giant replica, which doesn’t seem all that difficult if Aech can also fix a totaled Akira motorcycle in 10 minutes. You’d think that tons of people in the OASIS would be flying around in their own Falcon.
To be fair, it’s entirely possible that in 2045, Disney will be just as uptight about its licensing rights as it is in 2018.
In what’s both a nice nod to the Ready Player One book and the most notable Star Wars Easter egg, an X-wing starfighter appears during the movie in a queue of spaceships waiting to fly down to the planet that houses the Distracted Globe nightclub. Parzival and Art3mis visit the planet looking for a clue to the second key, but in this one shot, you can see the unmistakable backside of the X-wing starfighter. It’s entirely possible that this is also the rumored R2-D2 cameo because the astromech droid might be sitting in the back for all we know. It’s a little bit too hard to see whether or not that’s the case.
Ready Player One is now out in theaters.
Check out the trailer to see what other cameos you can notice: