'Ready Player One': That huge [SPOILER] scene was almost set in 'Blade Runner'

Kevin Polowy
Senior Correspondent, Yahoo Entertainment
Warning: Ready Player One spoilers ahead!

There was no way they were going to get everything. What Steven Spielberg and his Ready Player One team pulled off in scoring the rights to that basket of Easter eggs was a gargantuan task. Understandably, there were certain intellectual property hurdles they couldn’t clear for the film, which won the box office this weekend with $41.2 million.

Included among the misses was Ridley Scott’s 1982 sci-fi classic Blade Runner, which RP1 screenwriter Zak Penn told Yahoo Entertainment was at one point targeted to be the cinematic world that Parzival (Tye Sheridan) and friends enter for the second challenge in the OASIS. (The challenge ultimately became set inside The Shining instead, which worked out: It has been lauded as the film’s best sequence.)

“They went into Blade Runner at one point in the movie,” Penn said of the film’s early drafts (watch above). “There was a whole action scene set in Blade Runner.” The scene, according to Penn, included Rick Deckard’s car and gun, and the Voight-Kampff Test, used to determine if a subject is human or replicant.

Blade Runner, like Ready Player One, is a Warner Bros. property, so you’d think Spielberg would have an easier time securing the rights with corporate synergy at play. But RP1 was in production at the same time Warners was shooting 2017’s Blade Runner 2049 starring Harrison Ford and Ryan Gosling, and the studio wasn’t keen on having the former film steal any of the latter’s retro thunder. (While Blade Runner is never referenced directly in RP1, there are still some sly nods to it.)

“But we ended up with something much better, I think, which is really probably my favorite sequence in the movie, ” said Penn, who was carefully instructed by Spielberg not to mention The Shining’s name during prerelease publicity rounds to avoid spoilers. “It was pretty exciting to get to go into that movie and use it.”

Of course, even though they were able to use elements of Stanley Kubrick’s chilling Stephen King adaptation, there was one element they weren’t able to secure: star Jack Nicholson‘s likeness, which, per Penn, involved a whole other layer of subrights clearances.

Ready Player One is now in theaters.

Watch Zak Penn discuss two of the film’s more surprising Easter eggs:

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