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See here for the movie version.

The younger Halliday in the winning sequence will be the sequel protagonist
Halliday is trying to raise a younger copy of himself to be a better man, either an AI like Anorak-Halliday or an avatar for a physically cloned version of himself.

OASIS is directly responsible of the state of the World
With the release of OASIS, people stopped caring about the state of the world since they could escape into a new better one, letting everything fall apart
  • Pretty much suggested in the work itself.
    • The work clarifies that the world was already in a bad state, but OASIS made things worse for this very reason.
    • The honorary-canon short story "Lacero" reveals that Nolan Sorrento directly blames OASIS for the state of the world, including his sister's death (her addiction to OASIS led to her taking up meth in order to play longer), and is only in the hunt for the Egg so that he can destroy OASIS when he gets it.
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  • OTOH, Wade's experiences in IOI indenture as part of infiltrating IOI to bring down the shield around Anorak's Castle have implications that the OASIS is all that's keeping the world alive; Cline based it on prison telemarketers, as a means of showing how easily slavery could be re-instituted. Better yet, Wade gets himself indentured by faking an overwhelming debt - debtors' prisons are a modern reality. Especially the part where the indents rarely successfully pay off their indenture. What if corporations like IOI are deliberately engineering the ongoing recession to force entire populations into "indentured servitude", and the only reason they haven't shackled the entire planet is because the OASIS keeps everyone's cost of living dirt-cheap?

After the end of the book, Wade and friends will work to make sure that it gets better.
At the end,
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the High Five together own GSS, and OASIS with it. With all of that power, and all of those Gunters out of a hobby, they can potentially gamify restoring civilization.
  • Again, pretty much stated in the book itself. Turning it into a game is a clever idea though.

Some of the changes made to OASIS afterwards.
After inheriting OASIS, Wade makes changes to OASIS, mostly based on his experiences prior to finding the first key. This would include removing transport fees for those who can't afford them, which would allow those who are poor to be able to go on quests, level up and earn some cash. Of course, as payback for killing the people in the stack he lived in with his aunt, as well as trying to kill him and for being constant cheaters during the Hunt, he deems that IOI will no longer have access to OASIS, deleting their in-game headquarters and perma-banning the thousands of Sixers accounts tied to them, leaving them with no access to OASIS, crippling the company permanently.
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  • Also, with Wade and Art3mis' relationship, they both begin to try to help fix the world's problems by finally getting the nation to switch to alternate sources and eventually start actually fixing the world around them.
    • Alternate resources were already in place (Wade specifically mentions both the bus he rides and Aech's RV are solar-powered) but it seems a case of too little too late. They could help support the infrastructure needed to make those resources more viable though.

This is not the only contest Halliday has programmed into the OASIS.
We see that the Swordquest game series is referenced in the story. There's a mention of the contest that was held by Atari for the games, with only three of the games in the series release prior to the Great Video Game Collapse of 1983. Since Swordquest is mentioned in Halliday's journal, it'd make sense that he's got more than one contest programmed into OASIS that even the characters of the novel aren't aware of yet.
  • There is his Pac-Man easter egg that Wade finds. People were so focused on the big prize of the egg they overlooked countless smaller quests and hunts that Halliday hid throughout the simulation.
  • There are also mini easter eggs within the egg hunt itself. In the book, we saw what happened when you got the guitar needed for the crystal key, and then played the song the scenario was based on, and the cannonical side story "Lacero" showed another one when you time traveled to the harmonic convergence.

I-Rok was at the final battle, and helped by having people target the Voltron mechs.
I-Rok may be a tool, but after being told by Aech that his/her action of telling people about Aech and Wade has lead to the deaths of people Wade knew, he/she realizes that they made a mistake and more than likely trying to atone for what happened. I-Rok may not be a good Gunter, but may have been a fan of Voltron, and when waiting for Wade with everyone else, he/she remembered that the Lions were weaker independently when not joined together to form Voltron, and transmitted it to everyone in hopes to stopping the IOI from getting the upper hand. Aech and Wade will never know how he/she helped and they earned the atonement they sought for the guilt of inadvertently getting people killed.

Some worlds need 'passports' to get on them.
In order to enter the atmosphere of some planets, you need to buy a passport-type item. Because otherwise, I'm not sure how anyone other than GSS can make money making adventuring worlds.
  • The "passports" are the transport costs; teleportation fees or fuel for interplanetary craft. Even the fastest craft takes ten hours to cross the span of the OASIS, which can leave you high and dry when you have to be at work or school.
    • The money you spend on fuel and teleportation both go to GSS; it's never mentioned how any third party developers make money designing and releasing things in the Oasis.
      • Umm... designers sell them to people? For credits? That are worth more than dollars, pounds, euros or yen?

Armada is a story within the Ready Player One universe.
Granted, the story is written by Ernest Cline, but there's a lot of similarities between Armada and RPO that it seems like the kind of story that was written by someone in the RPO universe. Chock full of 1980s references, various references to movies, TV shows and video games. It's like someone in the RPO universe decided to tap into the 1980s trend with OASIS and made the story with it in mind, even referencing VR tech that could have lead to the immersion rigs used in the OASIS.

Sorrento's backstory will be used in the movie
It looks like the movie is taking some creative liberties. Since Approval of God made Lacero canon, they might as well add it.

James Halliday faked his death, and he is still alive.
The book never really covers how James Halliday died. Though it's stated that he's dead and is even alluded to in Anorak's Invitation, there is no mention Halliday's funeral in the novel anywhere. Og mentions seeing Halliday before his death, but doesn't mention going to the funeral, nor is there no mention of anyone going to his actual grave in the real world. Halliday's gravesite would be considered a holy landmark for Gunters who live in that area of where he's buried, much like how there are fans of actors/actresses/musicians/directors/writers who still visit their favorites' graves. However, Wade doesn't mention him being buried, nor does he mention if he's cremated or anything about a funeral. And, more importantly, there's no mention of a cause of death, which would be an important detail that people would want to know or at least make mention of briefly. Since we see War Games as the first gate in the novel, it got my brain turning on a possible hint as to why we never hear anything about a funeral or grave: James Halliday faked his death. I know, it sounds ridiculous, but just follow along with me.

Halliday may have been inspired by Professor Falken's fake death from the film. One of the characters reads a newspaper article about him dying of cancer. When it comes to Anorak's Invitation, it switches to the Heathers funeral parlor and Halliday stands above a dead copy of himself covered with cancerous sores (double detail noticed: in Heathers, Veronica faked her death to avoid being murdered by JD, which helped her because he revealed his plan on school). However, Falken's death was faked, he was given a new name and he was relocated. Halliday had enough money that he could have put some aside to be able to live modestly for a while and is actually living in a cabin out in the middle of nowhere (much like Falken) and still has access to the OASIS, keeping an eye on the contest so that he could see his heir found, and he may have actually been present in those scenes where Wade encounters Anorak and Halliday in the OASIS (this would also make sense, as Wade mentions that there were many claims that people still saw Anorak, Halliday's avatar, still wandering around the OASIS. Yet, Wade mentions his encounter with Anorak at the Tomb of Horrors, but none of the other characters mention getting the key from Halliday's avatar).

It would make even more sense with the Charlie and The Chocolate Factory aspect, as the story was the main inspiration for RPO. Willy Wonka was still alive when he tried to find his heir. And, much like War Games, Wade will end up finding out that Halliday is still alive and seek him out for his help. It would be a nice trilogy type of surprise (for those that don't get what I mean, typically, true trilogies often have something that was originally believed as truth that turned out to be a lie. What greater lie could there be than the fact that Halliday faked his death? The only other thing is that the IOI actually murdered Halliday, knowing about the contest beforehand and did it to set it off because of the fact that they had wanted control of the OASIS for a while, completely underestimating how difficult Halliday's clues would be).

  • A massive addition to the above theory; his video will shows his body at a funeral parlor; "his body emaciated and ravaged by cancer", "shiny quarters cover each of his eyelids"... and "high-resolution scrutiny reveals that both quarters were minted in 1984."
    Halliday was born in the 70's - the 80s was the decade during which he’d been a teenager - it couldn't be his birthday, so it had to be some other significant date. "1984" makes me think of a plot hole in the original story; where was the government throughout all of this? Y'know, the people who currently control the single largest military force in history, and employs hundreds of thousands of thoroughly-broken geeks in endless datamining? Because a key element of dystopian fiction is that the government always plays some role; in stuff like Blade Runner and Robocop the police are a key element of corporate oppression, and Dickens-esque condemnation of "robber barons" fails to note that those individuals gained monopolies via the government destroying their competitors.

    My thought; in the novel, the government didn't realize a video game developer was about to usurp their position in the world - right down to online credits outperforming the dollar - until it was too late to engage him directly; the majority of the population was logged into the OASIS - a virtual economic superpower distributed across every electronic device in existence - and anyone who criticized the kooky old cyber-Wonka who could barely speak to his closest friends would have been either laughed at or lynched. So in 2034 they went after the one thing they could use to yank him around; his childhood crush Kira Underwood. Her car crash was faked; she was kidnapped and renditioned to an unknown location in an attempt to force Halliday to surrender the OASIS to government control. So began a decade-long cat-and-mouse game... which the feds were exasperated to find themselves evenly matched; turns out that being the world's best developer of interactive fiction means being able to make David Xanatos look like a guy waving a steak under a lion's nose to see if it eats it.
    The Easter Egg Hunt was actually a final desperate gamble; fake his own death, surrender to the authorities, but leave control of the OASIS up for grabs in such a manner that only a worthy successor could claim it - one with remarkable pattern-matching skills who understood the key concepts behind Halliday's obsessions;
    The Tomb of Horrors: A diabolically lethal maze where any misstep could mean doom.
    Joust: A game where the computer is blatantly cheating and must be countered by exploiting loopholes in its programming.
    Dungeons of Daggorath: A game where self-discipline is the key to victory.
    War Games: Cold War fiction where a single insightful individual can make critical observations entire organizations cannot.
    Blade Runner: Contemplations on empathy and humanity.
    The one-credit version of Black Tiger: being able to face adversity when one has no chance to make a second attempt if one fails.
    Rush's 2112: contemplations on individuality and freedom of expression.
    The final confrontation at the Crystal Gate - requiring the simultaneous use of three keys - demonstrates that competition is a cooperative endeavor; you can't have an honest race if one guy is kicking the others' legs out from under them instead of concentrating on his own performance.
    Tempest: Joust revisited, under more stressful conditions.
    Monty Python and the Holy Grail: Python in general and this movie in particular is a fount of wisdom on the insanity of arbitrary rules enforced by oppressive systems, the limits of religious thought, and the complete ethical indifference of power politics.
    Adventure: The ending which crowns the work; The Easter Egg was NEVER SUPPOSED TO EXIST. Atari refused to recognize the efforts of its programmers, fearing that their competitors would headhunt them. Warren Robinett hid the Egg to ensure that his efforts in creating the game would be remembered and the policies that led him to create it would be made public.

    So it is with Halliday's "Easter Egg" - he wasn't supposed to create it, and his enemies were deeply pissed that he did so, leaving them with a frustrating set of hoops to jump through; IOI was permitted to go to the extreme measures it took to win the contest throughout the first novel because it's actually a government contractor that has been trying to usurp the OASIS for decades.

    After a pre-set period of time, Wade will receive another pre-recorded message from Halliday detailing the conspiracy and stating that the whole goal of the Easter Egg Hunt was to select his successor - not just one who would go to any lengths to preserve the freedom of the OASIS, but one capable of making the connections with other people he himself could not; he was so socially crippled he couldn't even communicate his feelings to those he considered his closest friends. By the time he realized he couldn't rescue Kira alone, he was terminally ill... and decided not to let Ogden face Kira's kidnappers without the aid of a successor.

    So the goal of the sequel could be to repair a world that was already pretty badly broken even when Halliday was a kid, and rescue Ogden's wife from the people who broke it in the first place.
  • Possibly jossed for the film, but still possible for the novel.
  • Either way, it's all but confirmed that the in-game Anorak is "not an avatar" - most liekly a fully sentient AI copy of Halliday, making him practically immortal.

Wade's story isn't the true portrayal of events.
Now, before anyone who gets upset by reading this, there's something that should be kept in mind: Ready Player One is written as Wade's autobiography. What people tend to forget is that autobiographies often has the writer as the hero of their tale. Think of it like this: if Aech or Art3mis were telling the story, their portrayal of themselves and of Wade would be different from how Wade portrayed them and himself in his work. Even some of the same scenes between the characters would be different from how Wade sees it. That means Wade's tale is just as much of an inaccurate and unreliable account as the very previous attempts he knocked on at the start of his story (and not without irony).
  • Going off of this: The film is either Aech's or Art3mis's version of events, which explains an awful lot.
    • Or the film is actually the true story.

The version of Mechagodzilla that Sarrento pilots in the film is the one that will eventually appear in the MonsterVerse.
Warner Bros. made this film and are working with Legendary Pictures on their Godzilla series, so this could be an Early-Bird Cameo of sorts.
  • The King Kong used is also likely a preview of K vs. G.
    • The Kong featured in the film version of RPO isn't based on the recent iterations. It is in fact based on the 1933 King Kong, which is one of Spielberg's favorite films.

The reason why J.J. Abrams' Star Trek and Star Wars involvements are not mentioned as existing in the OASIS is because of the fact that they're both horrible works.
Though the Star Trek and Star Wars franchises are mentioned in the book, the reason why the Abrams involved works aren't mentioned is that they've become the Cousin Oliver of both franchises and even mentioning them would get you rejected from the fanbase. Granted, IRL, the current Star Wars films didn't exist prior to the novel's release. However, the first Abrams Star Trek film was released a couple of years prior to the book's publication. This would account why even Halliday didn't acknowledge the recent films in the Almanac because of the fact that he doesn't even consider any of them after the SW prequels to be legit films and probably had a dislike for Abrams' attempt as Star Trek.

I-Rok is Halliday.
Or a relative of his, anyway. We know absolutely nothing about the guy, and it is never confirmed that Halliday is actually dead. Don't forget that it's never stated that users can't have more than one account, and even if that's the case than Screw the Rules, I Make Them! could be in effect here.
  • In the book, it downright states that users can't have multiple accounts due to the retinal scan paired to an individual's account.

The film not only adapts Wade's story...
Wade states in the book there's been several adaptations of his story, including films. The film could be construed as an adaptation of his story, but it's not SOLELY his story that's being adapted, but other tales of other Gunters long after contest with the High Five inserted into it. The race, the Shining Challenge, some of the changes to the big fight could all be from other adventures by other Gunters who happened to find some of the sidequests that Halliday created (he had that Pac-Man sidequest which gave Parzival the coin. What's not to say he didn't create others?). Maybe even the characterization of IOI and the High Five is incorrect, as the original story may have actually been Gunter vs. Gunter clans as they try to complete a side quest that's been rumored to have a high prize.

Sorrento's sister is his Berserk Button.
He'd have someone killed if they as so much as tell him that "Destroying the OASIS won't bring back your sister."
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