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Will There Be A Ready Player Two Movie?

And you thought Ernest Cline already ran out of '80s pop culture references.

The long-awaited sequel to Cline's Easter egg-laden novel, Ready Player One, finally has an official release date, and it's kicked off speculation that an announcement could be forthcoming regarding a sequel to the popular feature film adaptation of the original book. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the much-anticipated sci-fi novel is entitled Ready Player Two – because of course it is — and will be arriving on North American shelves and e-readers this fall, on November 24.

The book Ready Player One dropped in 2011 to massive commercial success, climbing all the way to the top of the New York Times bestseller list and reigning there for more than 100 weeks. Steven Spielberg acquired the rights to adapt the film, which landed in theaters in 2018. Ready Player One the movie enjoyed similar success to its source material, earning $583 million globally, a sum that made it Spielberg's highest grosser since 2008's much-maligned Indiana Jones reboot starring Shia Labeouf.

Fans expecting an immediate turnaround on the next film probably shouldn't hold their breath. Just because the second book is on the way doesn't necessarily mean the second movie will come hot on its heels. Even though the cinematic sequel isn't a foregone conclusion, here's why we think there's at least room for some optimism.

Given the first film's success, Ready Player Two is practically inevitable

Ready Player One is often credited with kicking off a wave of '80s nostalgia projects including Netflix's universally loved Stranger Things and the more divisive two-part update of Stephen King's It. While the main story of Ready Player One takes place in 2045, much of the action happens within a virtual reality multiplayer video game called "The Oasis" that reflects the mind of its 1980s-obsessed creator. Ready Player Two promises to pick up where its progenitor left off, undoubtedly returning series protagonist Wade Watts to the digital world of The Oasis, which he now controls.

The best thing Ready Player Two has going for it is the fact that Hollywood never lets a hit property lie fallow. Ready Player One earned $583 million against a $175 million budget (via Box Office Mojo). That's a major blockbuster for both Spielberg and Warner Bros., which distributed the film domestically. Sequels have been built on far less, and now that the prose is finally ready to roll, we should expect an announcement regarding the film rights in short order.

Interestingly, Cline reported that one of his biggest difficulties writing the sequel was trying to return to his own original vision instead of attempting to write a novelized follow-up to Spielberg's 2018 film. Since he's apparently gotten over that hump and completed the latest act in Wade Watts' story, Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment is likely already setting the legal gears in motion to begin development on the film sequel.