Ready Player One wanted to include a Game of Thrones reference

With March approaching, we’re finally nearing the period of tentpole releases. Beginning March, right until July, we’ll witness Hollywood’s extravagant summer period chock full of blockbuster releases. Leading the pack is Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One slated to open March 29. The movie has been challenging to make even for the veteran director and recently, Empire Magazine did a special issue on both the director and the movie that reveals an interesting piece of info from behind the scenes of the movie’s complicated licensing process.

The novel, written by Ernest Cline, is packed with pop-culture references from the 80s and beyond. Understandably then, this poses a bigger problem for film than it does for a book since movies are where the logistical realities of licensing kick in. As it turns out, even with the clout of Steven Spielberg, the filmmakers were unable to secure all the licenses that they wished for. The Empire edition reveals that screenwriter Zak Penn had originally penned in a reference to a Game of Thrones dragon in the script, which the filmmakers were unable to secure a license to use. Similarly, they were unable to secure the rights to Ultraman and thus, had to expand the role of the Iron Giant instead. For those who’ve read the novel, Ultraman plays a key role in the final battle Parzival and his team have with the Sixers headed by Nolan Sorrento of IOI who himself is on a Mechagodzilla.

One wonders what could’ve been the reason behind failing to secure a license for Game of Thrones. The creators could’ve surely used the added publicity and it would’ve even counted as the show’s first cinematic appearance. I guess George R. R. Martin wasn’t too keen on lending out rights this way, even though he’s shown interest in the past for a Westworld crossover where one of the worlds could be Westeros. Perhaps we’ll find out more in the behind the scenes featurettes that will hit the web in the lead-up to the movie’s release.

What do you think of the lack of these key figures? Does Ultraman not being in the movie suck? Would you have loved Drogon to make an appearance? More importantly, are you even excited for Ready Player One at all? Let us know what you think in the comments below: