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The "High Five"
- Chromatic Arrangement: In the film, Parzival is prominently blue, Art3mis and Daito wear red and Aech and Shoto wear yellow.
- Kid Heroes: They're all, at maximum, about twenty.
- Nerd Action Hero: Online nerds who are still able to outplay IOI in the real world.
- Meaningful Name: Art3mis and Parzival are both named after famous hunters (The God of the Hunt and the knight who found the Holy Grail), while Shoto and Daito are named after the pair of swords a samurai wears. Aech simply phonetically reflects the letter of her first and last name.
Parzival/Wade Owen Watts
Portrayed by: Tye Sheridan
Voiced by: José Antonio Toledano (Latin-American Spanish), KENN (Japanese)The protagonist of the novel, Wade Watts is a kid in the slums of Oklahoma City who becomes the first person to find the Copper Key, starting the true hunt five years after it began.
- Alliterative Name: His mother told him his father, a comic book geek, named him thus because he thought it sounded like a Super Hero Secret Identity.
- Badass Bookworm: Like any prominent gunter. However, he doesn't actually work into this role until after he obtains the Copper Key.
- Blue Is Heroic: In the film, Parzivals avatar has a general blue motif. Parts of his hair is blue, his eyes are blue, his blue denim vest is the most prominent article of clothing and the various tattoos on his body are blue.
- Classical Anti-Hero: Wade spends much of the story as an unsure underdog and has a lot of angst about interacting with others and his budding love life.
- Conveniently an Orphan: He is orphaned at the beginning of the story and later his aunt and her boyfriend are killed. This removes his tethers to any one location.
- The Cracker: He is, without too much difficulty, able to hack the US government's databases to create a new identity for himself after his remaining family is killed, and then hack it again to resume it once his new identity is burned. He also hacks IOI's most secure system from what amounts to an iPad mounted in the wall of a sleeping tube. He does this fairly conventionally though, buying codes and backdoor exploits on black market sites rather than working from scratch.
- Deceased Parents Are the Best: A landmark example; most would think they were both pretty bad, but he still remembers them fondly for giving him the things in his life he cherishes.
- His father died when was just a few months old; shot dead while looting a grocery store during a power blackout. He still thinks fondly of him because his mother said he deliberately gave him a superhero's Alliterative Name and left behind flash drives with complete runs of comics.
- His mother was a VR prostitute and drug addict who died from bad drugs when he was eleven; he was the one who found her body with the needle sticking out of her arm. He still thinks fondly of her as the person who gave him his first OASIS console, despite her declared intent that it was a "virtual babysitter" so she could ignore him while she turned tricks and shot up. OTOH, Wade has fond memories of logging onto the OASIS together to play games and go on interactive storybook adventures. She was an absolute mess, but it seems like she at least tried to be a good mother.
- In comparison, his aunt is a drug addict who steals his food vouchers and trades them for drugs. He has to feed and clothe himself by scavenging and repairing electronics to trade or sell - and every time she finds the stuff he's repaired, she sics her current boyfriend on him to steal it and buy more drugs. He's more depressed about pretty much everyone else who died because of Sorrento's bomb than her.
- Dogged Nice Guy: After Art3mis breaks off contact with him, Wade tries to win her over for weeks through grand gestures, spamming her with gifts, and reliving classic movie Dogged Nice Guy acts. It would likely fall under Stalker with a Crush (Wade even refers to himself as cyberstalking her) if she didn't eventually reciprocate.
- Godlike Gamer: Becomes one of the greatest players of the OASIS after a series of events starting with him finding the Copper Key and eventually leading him to become a Physical God.
- Guile Hero: As shown by his Batman Gambit to open the shield over the Crystal Gate.
- Had To Be Sharp: He's your basic MacGyver — an ace scavenger, electrician, programmer — because his aunt steals his food vouchers and trades them for drugs, forcing him to feed and clothe himself by scrounging and repairing electronics to sell or trade. It's also made him really sneaky because the damned junkie steals that stuff too — if she catches him with it. If.
- Hero Protagonist: He is a good guy, the main character and the narrator, to boot.
- Heroic BSoD: Wade suffers this as Art3mis breaks up with him, he loses touch with Aech and, worst of all, the head of IOI clears the second gate and finds the third key before him.
- Hikikomori: He lived a secluded life before he found the Copper Key but he became even more so during his time at Columbus.
- Homeless Hero: His home was destroyed but he fortunately had just started making money so he could move to a different city.
- Humongous Mecha: For clearing the Jade Gate, he gets a copy of Leopardon that he can pilot.
- Half the Man He Used to Be: The mech's ultimate fate.
- Magic Knight: His avatar is a highly skilled wizard and warrior.
- Nephewism: He was raised by his aunt after his parents died.
- One-Letter Name: A variant, in that Aech calls him "Z".
- Parental Abandonment: Yeah. His father was killed while looting when he was a few months old, his mother died of bad drugs when he was eleven - and she had already given him his first OASIS console as a "virtual babysitter."
- Physical God: After obtaining the Egg, he becomes even more powerful than Og, due to Halliday giving him Anorak's powers and the kill switch of the entire OASIS.
- Rebel Leader: By the finale. Emphasized with how all of the gunters are chanting his name as he flies in to start the battle.
- Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: Why he declines Sorrento's offer for money in exchange for helping him.
- Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Wade has few qualms about breaking real world laws in order to stop IOI from violating the spirit of the contest after IOI murdered his aunt and her boyfriend in an attempt to kill him.
- Took a Level in Badass: From a level three user who can't even get off of the school planet of Ludus to a level ninety-nine gunter who is celebrated the world over. Also in the real world. After Art3mis breaks up with him, he throws himself into the hunt, shaves his head, drops his fat, and starts constructing an elaborate Batman Gambit to expose IOI.
Portrayed by: Lena Waithe
Voiced by: Jocelyn Robles (Latin-American Spanish), Kimiko Saitō (Japanese)Wade's best friend in the OASIS, she starts as a professional arena fighter who also works as a gunter.
- Abusive Parents: Helen's mother disowned her and forced her out of their house for being a lesbian.
- Action Girl: Since her real name is Helen and she's used a male avatar her whole life.
- Adaptational Sexuality: The film never explicitly names Aech's sexuality in any way, unlike in the book where she identifies as lesbian.note
- Alliterative Name: The source of the account name. Both first and last name start with H.
- Badass Bookworm: Like any prominent gunter, but Aech was a notable arena fighter even before Wade finds the Copper Key.
- Bald of Awesome: Aech has no hair in the film.
- The Big Guy: Her avatar, in both the book (a tall, broad-shouldered Caucasian) and the movie (a cyborg orc).
- Black and Nerdy: Though to be fair, every other gunter is just as nerdy.
- Butch Lesbian: To the degree that most people don't even know she's a girl until they meet her face to face. Wade isn't even surprised, since they talked about girls a few times.
- Cannot Keep a Secret: Parzival gave him a tip for the first key under the promise not tell anyone. The fact that Daito won the key right after makes Parzival doubt that Aech kept the promise.
- Disappeared Dad: Aech's father died in Afghanistan when she was little, so not technically disappeared, but true for all intents and purposes of the story.
- Gamer Chick: Is actually this in real life.
- G.I.R.L.: Inverted since it's a female playing a male avatar.
- Girls Are Really Scared of Horror Movies: Even before her gender is revealed, she admits she doesn't like scary movies.
- The Gunslinger: It's noted that his specialty is the First-Person Shooter genre. He makes his living winning the prize in weekly deathmatches.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Parzival. Actually a case of Platonic Life-Partners.
- Humongous Mecha: For clearing the Jade Gate, she gets a copy of Gundam RX-78 that she can pilot.
- One-Letter Name: The avatar name, likely because a straight One-Letter Name wouldn't be usable on the OASIS, or because "H" was taken.
- Oneof The Kids: She's the oldest among the Five.
- Samus Is a Girl: Aech presents herself as male in OASIS and is known as a professional competitor, and not just in Egg hunting. Meeting face-to-face is when Wade finally realizes Aech is a woman. They share a moment of Stunned Silence before everything just "clicks" as his mind adjusts to this revelation and they laugh together.
- Sassy Black Woman: She's definitely sassy, but the fact that she's also black and female is not revealed until the end of the book.
- Torso with a View: Aech's avatar has a torso joined by struts, which is shown to be practical when bullets fly right through the gap without causing damage.
- Twofer Token Minority: Threefer, actually. She's African American, female and homosexual.
- Weapon of Choice: Seems to prefer an MA5B Assault Rifle.
- Wrench Wench: In the movie, her Establishing Character Moment is fixing Art3mis's destroyed Akira bike after Kong crushed it on the last leg of the race.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Her friendship with Parzival is genuine but highly competitive.
Art3mis/Samantha Evelyn Cook
Portrayed by: Olivia Cooke
Voiced by: Leyla Rangel (Latin-American Spanish), Maaya Sakamoto (Japanese)A female gunter whom Wade has a geek crush on.
- Action Girl: She is very formidable in the OASIS and is much higher level than Parzival when they first encounter each other.
- Badass Biker: Shows up in the race riding the rather distinctive bike from AKIRA.
- Badass Bookworm: Like any prominent gunter but she is also bright enough to keep a physical copy of her notes.
- Deadpan Snarker: She doesn't stop cracking wise for most of the movie. She even does it non-verbally when she smirks at Parzival in his borrowed Clark Kent glasses.
- Expository Hairstyle Change: More like an expository facial-mark change. Her avatar's face is unmarked throughout most of the movie. During the final battle — possibly as a fuck-you to Sorrento, for whom she has made no secret of her hatred and who is tearing shit up in MechaGodzilla at the moment — the Iron Giant reveals her in its hand with a port wine stain over her right eye to match the one she has in reality to shoot out the eye-window and toss in a grenade made to look like one of the old Madballs toys from the 90s.
- Freakiness Shame: She genuinely believes that her port wine stain on her face is completely and utterly revolting and enough to drive anyone away from her. It doesn't deter Wade in the slightest and in fact he seems to find her more attractive for it.
- Gamer Chick: This is a requirement for any female gunter and has a lot of knowledge of arcade games.
- Girls with Guns: She is a notable gunslinger in the OASIS but isn't shy from swords, either.
- Humongous Mecha: For clearing the Jade Gate, she gets a copy of Minerva X that she can pilot.
- Lady in Red: When she and Parzival meet in the Distracted Globe nightclub in the movie, she combines this look with an impressive display of Absolute Cleavage.
- Letters 2 Numbers: Her name is spelled "Art3mis" instead of simply "Artemis".
- Love Interest: She is this to Parzival to varying degrees throughout the story.
- Magic Knight: The first prominent one Wade interacts with in the OASIS.
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Parzival and Aech (Mr. Deathmatch Planet) know her nickname as "The Sixer Fixer," in the film as one of the first lines about her. This is accurate. When she explains her motivations it becomes clear why she has such a crusade-minded focus on beating the challenge and beating IOI.
- Peeka Bangs: How Samantha hides her birthmark in her first couple of real-world scenes.
- She Is Not My Girlfriend: Well really, "you are not my boyfriend." At one point in the novel, she tells Parzival that she doesn't want to see him for a while unless it's related to the hunt. When he asks if she's breaking up with him, she tells him no, because they weren't really together.
- Small Girl, Big Gun: In the film she frequently uses the M41A Pulse Rifle from Alien, a bulky monstrosity of an assault rifle that looks positively enormous in the hands of someone as slender and petite as her OASIS avatar.
- Weapon of Choice: Seems to have a preference for the M41A Pulse Rifle, of Alien fame, even utilizing the pump-action grenade launcher.
- What the Hell, Hero?:
- Subverted. Art3mis flies off the handle at Wade when she learns that he lied about having beaten the Ancient Tomb Lich and thereby obtaining The Copper Key, but she's not really as angry about his dishonesty as she is about the fact that he beat the Lich on the first try when she had been trying for five weeks. She later apologizes for blowing up and acknowledges that he was only doing what any Gunter in his place would have done.
- Played Straight. In the movie Art3mis and Parzival's relationship is far less complex, but when Parzival starts speaking freely about himself to her, even dropping his real name and other useful information right in the range of I-R0k's eavesdropping she gets increasingly worried and embarrassed, and coldly shuts him off throwing a tantrum and berating his choice. Eventually, Art3mis was right, as I-R0k, reviewing their arguments, gets enough information to find and track Wade and Samantha in real life.
Portrayed by: Win Morisaki
Voiced by: Arturo Castañeda (Latin-American Spanish), Win Morisaki (Japanese)Shoto's "older brother" in the OASIS, he's rather brash and irritable. He is murdered by IOI when they throw him off a balcony in his home while he is protecting Shoto as he goes for the Jade Gate.
- Asian and Nerdy: Though this is not an unusual level of nerdiness for gunters.
- Badass Bookworm: Like any prominent gunter but his fluency in Japanese helps Parzival complete a challenging quest chain which awards Daito the Beta Capsule
- Bash Brothers: Daito and Shoto are rarely seen apart and they fight many battles together.
- Big Guy Fatality Syndrome: Novel-only. He dies protecting Shoto as he goes for the Jade Gate - both in-game which was likely to happen anyway and in real life as IOI agents came to his house and physically threw him off a balcony.
- Character Death: He's one of the few characters actually killed in real life.
- Comic-Book Fantasy Casting: In the film, prior to turning into the Gundam, his original avatar's face is revealed having a likeness to Toshiro Mifune, his possible namesake.
- Defrosting Ice Queen: Gender flipped. Goes from full on Hero Harasses Helpers to leaving his Ultraman capsule to Wade in his will after Wade helps him and Shoto on a mission.
- Destination Defenestration: He is thrown from his apartment in real-life.
- Fire-Forged Friends: He is initially very cold to Parzival but eventually leaves the beta capsule to Wade in his will.
- Good Is Not Nice: Especially evident in the only meeting of the full High Five.
- Hero Harasses Helpers: He says that he and Shoto work by themselves, despite Shoto's protests.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Though he had no way of knowing that it would also be a real life one.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: He is this with Shoto though he refuses to meet Shoto in real life.
- Hikikomori: His obituary states that he lived his life as a shut-in.
- Humongous Mecha: In the movie, he brings out the RX-78 Gundam in the final battle at Planet Doom, to stall Sorrento in his Mechagodzilla.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: His avatar in the film is based on Toshiro Mifune.
- Sacrificial Lion: His death shows that Sorrento has no limits.
- Spared by the Adaptation: In the movie, the Five manage to survive their ordeal. However, Daito is one of the first to lose his avatar, and thus ends up sidelined, defending Wade from IOI.
- Samurai: His avatar is styled after this, complete with full battle armor.
- Sibling Yin-Yang: Though they aren't blood siblings, he's this with Shoto.
- Squad Nickname: "Daisho" with Shoto due to their samurai outfits and sword-based handles.
Portrayed by: Philip Zhao
Voiced by: Álvaro Salarich (Latin-American Spanish, Zhou), Ricardo Bautista (Latin-American Spanish, Sho) Yumiko Kobayashi (Japanese, Zhou), Yoshitsugu Matsuoka (Japanese, Sho)Daito's "little brother" in the OASIS, he serves as a voice of reason. Following Daito's murder, he stops caring about getting the Egg and aims for revenge instead.
- Adaptational Nationality: Akihide is renamed Zhou and is Chinese in the film.
- Age Lift: He's 11 years old in the movie.
- Asian and Nerdy: Though this is not unusual for gunters.
- Badass Adorable: Is a cute eleven year old Chinese kid, whose avatar is the first person to manage a direct hit on I-R0k, is generally fearless, and in real life, is perfectly willing to strike a woman with a heavy object to help save his friends. All combined with an attitude to match.Wade: Dude, you're the world's most badass eleven-year-old.
Toshiro: He knows.
Sho: Shut up! Let him tell me.
- Badass Bookworm: Like any prominent gunter. Specifically he is seen being able to clear the Zork level in a matter of moments due to his rote memorization of the puzzle.
- Bash Brothers: With Daito as they take on entire armies together.
- Cool Sword: Following Daito's death, Parzival gives him a +5 Vorpal Blade Masamune.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Though in his case, it's not fatal in real life. He fights Mechagodzilla in Raideen to have revenge and give his friends an opportunity to open and enter the Crystal Gate. The mech and his avatar are destroyed by Mechagodzilla's Wave-Motion Gun.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: Daito and Shoto are partners in everything though Daito refuses to meet him in real life.
- Hikikomori: Even such that he, like the other High Five, does not meet Parzival in person before the quest for the Egg is complete even when they enter the OASIS right next to each other in real life.
- Humongous Mecha: For clearing the Jade Gate, he gets a copy of Raideen that he can pilot.
- Instant Awesome, Just Add Ninja: In the movie, his avatar is styled more of a ninja.
- Nice Guy: He wants to make friends much more quickly with Parzival than Daito does.
Portrayed by: Ben Mendelsohn
Voiced by: Raúl Anaya (Latin-American Spanish), Taiten Kusunoki (Japanese)Head of Operations at the Oology Division of Innovative Online Industries, Sorrento hopes to gain the Egg so that IOI can take control of the OASIS, putting charges on using the simulation at all.
- Affably Evil: At least to Parzival when he interviews him. He seems genuinely disappointed that Wade chose to let his aunt and her boyfriend die rather than help IOI.
- Big Bad: He is the main antagonist of the film who wants to win the game in order to turn the OASIS into a monetized pay-to-play advert-filled standard MMO to grossly increase IOI's profits and deprive most of the poor of their access to it.
- Co-Dragons: He employs I-R0k as his dragon in the OASIS while also having F'Nale in the real world.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: He's not corrupt because he steals from the company, but because he's willing to commit murder against the contestants without regard to collateral damage to win the contest.
- Culture Blind: During his first encounter with Wade, Sorrento has his nerdy technicians and researchers tell him references to pop culture through an earpiece to try and earn Wade's sympathies. Sorrento himself has no interest in pop culture except for how much he can profit from it.
- Dragon with an Agenda: According to the short story Lacero, Sorrento was never planning on handing the OASIS over to IOI should he have won the Egg Hunt. He was in fact trying to destroy the OASIS forever, and would have headed straight for Hailday's Big Red Button in the event he had won.
- Evil Laugh: Once he destroys Leopardon in the book.
- Final Boss: In the battle near the end. Aech even lampshades it, given the OASIS is basically an MMO game.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: Halliday's memories show that Sorrento used to be a coffee-serving intern in the early days of Gregarious Games.
- Graceful Loser: Downplayed doubles as Know When to Fold 'Em. He finally corners the High Five in their van and has his gun trained on Wade, who can't see him as he's still inside the OASIS. But after seeing Wade in blissful awe of the golden Easter Egg he received from Halliday's avatar, Sorrento cannot bring himself to shoot him Because He knew that there was no point shooting Wade at that point because if he had it would not have won him the contest since Wade had already won, acknowledging that, that is why Sorrento surrenders himself without incident when the police arrive..
- Hero Killer: In the film, he uses Mechagodzilla to melt Daito's avatar and activating the Cataclyst wipes out Parzival and Sho.
- Humongous Mecha: His Mechagodzilla dwarfs any of the other Humongous Mecha.
- Karma Houdini: The book's climax suggest that he may get away with his many wrongdoings due to lack of solid evidence and very good corporate lawyers. (Although Wade points out that after winning the contest he can now hire the latter as well.) In any case, he sure expects this to be the case.
- Mighty Glacier: His Mechagodzilla is Nigh Invulnerable and obscenely strong, but it's very slow.
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast: He is revealed to be the titular character of the Andy Weir short story Lacero. Lacero can be translated from Latin as "I rip", indicating Sorrento's intentions for the OASIS if he gets the Egg.
- Nigh Invulnerable: Nothing seems to be able to damage him in his Mechagodzilla vehicle... except for a beam fired by Art3mis' Minerva X and Ultraman in the book, and her gunfire to the mech's eye followed by a Madballs bomb in the film.
- Obviously Evil: When your name is Nolan Sorrento and you literally look like a 1980s executive villain, it's not much of a stretch to assume you're the bad guy. He even lampshades it himself.
- Scaled Up: A variant. In the finale, Sorrento pilots Mechagodzilla against the gunters.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Since Halliday didn't set down rules, he feels free to cheat. This is common of all of IOI.
- Smug Snake: In the film, he's casually and arrogantly dismissive of Parzival's importance at first, then of his chances despite Wade repeatedly proving him wrong. When he finally realizes Wade is about to win the Egg, he suffers a Villainous Breakdown and rushes to stop him, but winds up too late.
- Speech Impediment: Has a noticeable lisp in the film, to a point it almost sounds like Ben Mendelsohn's doing an impersonation of actor James Coburn.
- The Unfettered: He's willing to murder people to win the contest. Even gunters find this beyond extreme. And while I-r0k's film version doesn't mind THAT so much, he does get twitchy when Sorrento arms the Cataclyst, knowing full well he can just respawn and come back to finish the challenge with no one to bother him.
- Wave-Motion Gun: Mechagodzilla's Breath Weapon is strong enough to tear a Humongous Mecha in half when it's still powering down.
- We Have Reserves: He starts to kill his own men while piloting Mechagodzilla in the finale. It doesn't matter much to him, since they're using hacked rigs, meaning each person can just find a new avatar.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Shown in the now-canon short story Lacero written by Andy Weir, Sorrento entered IOI to find the Egg and destroy the OASIS, which he believes indirectly caused the world's current state and directly the cause of his sister's death, who became so addicted to the game that she resorted to taking meth to search for the Egg, ultimately dying of an overdose. That doing so would annihilate all of humanity's economy, communications and collective knowledge is just a price he's willing to pay for his revenge.Techie: OASIS does tons of good for people. Their schools are the best primary educational system in the world, and theyre free.
Sorrento: Yeah whatever. A few PR stunts doesnt absolve GSS of their sins. You know what they are? Drug dealers. They sell is escapism and the whole world is addicted. And its every bit as destructive as heroin. A few schools wont wash the blood off their hands.
Ogden "Og" Morrow
Portrayed by: Simon Pegg
Voiced by: José Gilberto Vilchis (Latin-American Spanish), Kōichi Yamadera (Japanese)Co-creator of the OASIS and close friend of Halliday, he left Gregarious Simulation Systems some years prior to Halliday's death due to his belief that it was becoming a Lotus-Eater Machine.
- Big Good: By the finale he serves as protector for the remaining High Five and is the biggest advocate against the IOI.
- Beware the Silly Ones: Do not crash his OASIS party and start a fight. He has Superuser rights since he helped create it.
- In the real world, he is obscenely rich, and is able to quickly spirit the kids away to safety when he learns IOI intends to have them killed off, using a fleet of limousines and private jets when most people can't even afford bus fare. This ends up facilitating IOI's defeat in the final battle.
- Cool Old Guy: He's in his seventies and still acts like he's a teenager at heart.
- The Mourning After: He never remarries after Kira dies.
- One of the Kids: He acts like any gunter, even calling out IOI on live television and laughing about it.
- Physical God: He has powers in the OASIS unobtainable by anyone else. (Until Parzival wins the contest.)
- Passing the Torch: Halliday entrusted him with acting as the "referee" of the Egg hunt, asking him to step in if anyone betrayed the core of the contest; finding a successor who loved the OASIS as much as he did.
- Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: Ogden's avatar can do pretty much whatever he wants, including snoop on private chat rooms. An unusual benevolent example, as Ogden is using his powers to keep an eye on the High Five so he can help them out if they need it.
James Donovan Halliday / Anorak
Portrayed by: Mark Rylance
Voiced by: Arturo Mercado (Latin-American Spanish), Tetsuo Goto (Japanese)Creator of the OASIS and starter of the hunt for the Egg, Halliday was a computer programming genius prior to his death. An Eccentric Millionaire, he's modeled after Howard Hughes and Richard Garriott.
- Abled in the Adaptation: Downplayed in the film. That version of Haliday was ostensibly still an eccentric genius with an Ambiguous Disorder, but he was evidently not as severely affected by it and was quite a bit more lucid. In this version of the story, it is more readily obvious that he both was somewhat aware of his own flaws and shortcomings and was struggling to overcome them, and rather than just quietly pinning for Kira from afar, he actually dated her for a while.
- Ambiguous Disorder: It is speculated in-universe that he had Asperger's Syndrome, but this remains speculation rather than a formal diagnosis. The film portrayal is more on the nose with blank asocial behavior and an inability to communicate with Kira that go way beyond the usual Hollywood Nerd or Silicon Valley tropes.
- Bad Boss: It's offhandedly mentioned that he would often fire employees on the spot for not knowing obscure 80's pop-culture trivia. Ogden Morrow would always discreetly re-hire them.
- Cannot Talk to Women: He only managed to talk to Kira's Dungeons & Dragons character, Leucosia, as a way to communicate with Kira herself. Averted in the film adaptation
- Celibate Eccentric Genius: Though he was in love with Kira.
- Creator Backlash: Implied In-Universe, as he posthumously advises Wade that "Reality is Real" and gives him the means to annihilate the OASIS.
- Creepy Monotone: Speaks this way. This does not make him any less a decent person.
- Disco Dan: He had a particular obsession with the 1980s (the decade that he lived in as a teenager). He had an encyclopedic knowledge of nearly all movies, tv shows (animated and live-action), anime, books and games (be they video games, tabletop games and so on) of that era and would impulsively fire employees that did not share his obsessions (though his friend and partner Ogden Morrow would discreetly rehire them).A famous eccentric, Halliday had harbored a lifelong obsession with the 1980s, the decade during which he'd been a teenager, and Anorak's Invitation was crammed with obscure '80s pop culture references, nearly all of which were lost on me the first time I viewed it.
- Eccentric Millionaire: Very much so. It's speculated postmortem that he had a form of Asperger's Syndrome.
- Green-Eyed Monster: Why he stopped talking to Ogden until just before his death; he had a crush on Kira, and was heartbroken when she married Og without ever realizing James wanted her. Notably, Og was sympathetic, knowing James' asociality.
- Lonely at the Top: As he admits to Parzival.
- My Death Is Just the Beginning: His death began the hunt for the Egg.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: The author compares Halliday to Bill Gates, based on Howard Hughes and Richard Garriott. The film explicitly compares him to Steve Jobs. There is a 'lot of Willy Wonka in him as well; from his eccentricity and obsession with making dreams reality and especially the Egg hunt itself, which he entrusted Ogden with ensuring that the new controller of the OASIS would love it as much as he did — though he also warns Wade that as amazing as the OASIS is, he has to live in the real world or miss out on the greatest pleasures.
- Passing the Torch: The entire point of the Egg.
- Physical God: His avatar in the OASIS was one.
- Posthumous Character. The book begins five years after his death.
- Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: Even more so than Ogden's avatar. His office holds the kill switch to the OASIS itself, meaning he could end the simulation permanently at any time. He gives this power to Parzival for getting the Egg.
- Virtual Ghost: Subtly hinted at. Halliday is gone, but his influence is still felt very strongly in the OASIS. Wade even talks to a very advanced AI version of Halliday's avatar after obtaining the Egg.
Portrayed by: Susan Lynch
Voiced by: Kerygma Flores (Latin-American Spanish), Gara Takashima (Japanese)The sister of Wade's deceased mother. She lives with her current boyfriend, Rick, and regularly pawns off Wade's possessions to pay for rent for the three of them.
- Adaptational Heroism: In the movie, Alice also has an abusive relationship with Wade, but some of her other worse qualities are removed. Shes not shown to be addicted to drugs or forcibly taking Wades stuff, and is actually working to collect enough money to move her family out of the small trailer theyre living in, and shes only furious at Wade because he has been taking stuff from her. This is perhaps to make the audience feel a bit sorry for her when shes killed by Sorrentos bomb.
- Asshole Victim: Deconstructed Character Archetype for her and her boyfriend. Even though they were jerks, Wade doesn't think they deserved to die.
- Character Death: She and her boyfriend are killed when a bomb under the trailer they live in blows up when Sorrento tries to kill Wade for rejecting his proposal.
- Decomposite Character: Most of her more negative traits were given to Alice's latest boyfriend in the movie.
- Evil Aunt: She is not evil, but abusive towards Wade along with her abusive boyfriend, Rick.
- HeelFace Door-Slam: She dies at the moment she expressed concern to speak with Wade to reconcile with him.
- Jerkass: Her only scene involves selling Wade's possessions and yelling at him.
- Jerkass Has a Point: Granted, the way she treated Wade could've been better, but Wade really does lend her gloves to Rick without her permission and enable him to freely spend the money that could've been used to sustain their daily lives and move out of the Stacks buying items in OASIS, only to lose them all when he zeroed out in a PvP match.
- Lower-Class Lout: In the novel, she is a drug addict and much of a degenerate as Rick, not some much in the movie though.
- Nephewism: Fitting, considering Wade's Alliterative Name and his father's love of comic books already make him sound like a character out of the Marvel Universe.
Karen Underwood / Kira
Portrayed by: Perdita Weeks
Voiced by: Marianna Santiago (Latin-American Spanish), Hikari Yono (Japanese)Ogden's late wife. Halliday's unspoken love for her and jealousy of Og was the reason why they did not speak for a decade prior to his death.
- Awesome Mc Coolname: She changed her name to make it cooler to herself and her peers.
- Damsel in Distress: In the film, Kira is recreated as an integral NPC character to retrieve the jade key, the objective being to rescue her from zombie dancers in the Overlook Hotel's ballroom and then ask her to dance, something Halliday was unable to do in real life.
- Gamer Chick: "The quintessential geek girl." She even changed her name to Kira after seeing The Dark Crystal.
- Happily Married: With Ogden before she died.
- The One That Got Away: For Halliday, cause he never took the leap.
- Posthumous Character: She died well before the events of the book and before Halliday died to kick off the plot.
Portrayed by: T.J. Miller
Voiced by: Irwin Daayán (Latin-American Spanish), Setsuji Satō (Japanese)A minor Gunter that Aech lets into his chat room, because he's fun to mock.
- Adaptational Intelligence and Adaptational Badass: I-R0k in the movie isn't a Gunter and isn't an absolute tool. Instead, he's a game merc, and despite doubling as The Snark Knight, he's the most competent sidekick Sorrento got in game, outranking and outgunning the Sixers as a whole. He even refuse to openly antagonize or charge at Parzival instead asking Sorrento for time and resources to track him down, and despite Sorrento's impatient meddling he manages to get enough clues to track Wade in real life, also proposing to buy Wade's loyalty - or kill him off -, instead of fighting openly the newly minted celebrity Parzival. Also, he's shown being a capable and hypercompetent fighter, with a carefully built avatar that took 10 years to reach its level and possessions and able to find almost effortlessly everything he needs.
- Black Cloak: Wears one as part of his usual getup, complete with a hood that he's always seen wearing.
- Cloudcuckoolander: He often goes off on weird tangents, though it doesn't make him any less scary and competent at his job.
- Cold Sniper: During the climax, he takes a high position and uses a long-range rifle to shoot off Aech's Iron Giant fingers.
- The Dragon: He is Sorrento's dragon in the OASIS while F'Nale plays that part in the real world.
- The Ghost: I-R0k's human controller never shows up onscreen.
- Hired Guns: He's a gaming mercenary who tracks down objects and information that Sorrento wants and/or needs.
- Hyper-Competent Sidekick: Thanks to a healthy dose of Adaptational Intelligence and Badassery. He is by far the most capable of Sorrento's underlings and many times comes off as smarter, or at least savvier, than Sorrento himself. He's able to rather quickly piece together Parzival's true identity, which he also manages to do despite Sorrento nearly botching his surveillance by sending a Sixer hit-squad after Parzival and Art3mis. He also provides Sorrento with the Impenetrable Energy Shield and possibly Mechagodzilla that becomes pivotal for keeping the Heroes from the third key, and when both those fall, I-R0k makes a fairly solid Last Stand against the High Fives, even managing to finish off Aech's Iron Giant form.
- In Name Only: The film version is a completely different character from the book version.
- Know-Nothing Know-It-All: He insults Parzival for having a low level avatar and makes a big show of finding out about the game Earthworld... at which point Parzival and Aech both make it clear how much more they know than he does.
- Meaningful Name: Only applies in the movie where he is much, much more capable than the novel version. Everything I-R0k does in the film is scarily competent and hes easily one of the most dangerous foes of the High Five in the OASIS. I-R0k even lampshades this himself in-universe. I-R0k gets results. Hes more than earned his name.
- Skeletons in the Coat Closet: His armor in the film is essentially a massive skull.
- Spear Carrier: It's implied that his posts on gunter forums boasting about Parzival and Aech eventually lead the Sixers to Ludus, thus giving them their first big break towards getting the Egg.
- Torso with a View: His avatar has a skull face on the chest with the eyes and nose holes carved through him.
- Vile Villain, Laughable Lackey: This only applies in the film, and is a downplayed example in that, despite his competence, I-R0k's neck issues and occasional immaturity are Played for Laughs, but his boss Sorrento is never funny.
- Vocal Dissonance: His avatar has an extremely menacing appearance, however, his voice is not as intimidating courtesy of being provided by T.J. Miller.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: He disappears from the film completely after Sorrento activates the Catalyst.
Portrayed by: Hannah John-Kamen IOI's chief of "debt services," in charge of acquiring indentured workers for IOI through the purchase and consolidation of financial debt, and of operating the "loyalty centers" in which those workers toil.
Voiced by: Gisella Ramírez (Latin-American Spanish), Ai Kayano (Japanese)
- Canon Foreigner: Only appears in the film.
- Dark Action Girl: Her job includes forcing people into the Loyalty Centres and bombing Wade's stack home, which kills his aunt and several others. She also has martial arts skills that enable her to fight off three or four of the High Five at once.
- The Dragon: Sorrento's dragon in the real world.
The Sixers are a section of the Innovative Online Industries who concentrate on finding Haliday's Egg.