Well, this was unexpected. After a few years of development, Warner Bros. is officially moving forward with a big screen adaptation of Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One and they’re doing so with the director most likely to break the brains of the novel’s biggest fans: Steven Spielberg. Yes, Spielberg is going to direct a science fiction story powered by raw ‘80s nostalgia for the same studio where he produced Gremlins and The Goonies.

The news arrives via Deadline, who have a quote from Warner Bros. president Greg Silverman:

We are thrilled to welcome Steven back to Warner Bros. We had an historic series of collaborations in the 1980s and 1990s and have wanted to bring him back for years.

Set in 2044, Ready Player One follows a young gamer who journeys into a sprawling virtual reality world to uncover an “easter egg” that will give the finder total control of the game creator’s empire. It is, to put it bluntly, one nerd-ass book, filled with constant references to movies and games from the “distant past” of the 1980s. What else would you expect from an author known for driving his Back to the Future-style DeLorean (with Ghostbusters bumper sticker) around his hometown of Austin, Texas?

It was previously rumored that the studio was after Christopher Nolan for this particular job, but he would have been all wrong for this material. Spielberg has made his fair share of dark films, but he’s still a kid at heart. He’ll understand and embrace the goofy, cheerful nostalgia of the book in a way that filmmakers half his age never could. Ready Player One is such an odd beast, seemingly written entirely for Cline to wrangle all of his geeky obsessions into one narrative, but if anyone can crack it for the big screen, it’s The Beard.

The big challenge is now is going to be licensing deals. Warner Bros. is going to have to make a lot of deals if they want to keep the countless references and jokes from the novel, but we live in a post-LEGO Movie age. Anything is possible.

Ready Player One is still a few years away. First, Spielberg has to finish post-production work on his Cold War thriller Bridge of Spies and just this week he started filming on The BFG. So get comfortable. It’s going to take awhile yet.

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