Steven Spielberg couldn't get the rights to 'Star Wars' for his latest movie 'Ready Player One'.

In his newest sci-fi romp, the filmmaker has referenced number of 1980s classic pop culture including 'The Shining', 'King Kong', 'Jurassic Park', 'Back to the Future', outfits by iconic musicians Prince and Michael Jackson as well as using New Order's 'Blue Monday' hit throughout the movie.

However, there is one franchise that the iconic Academy Award-winning filmmaker was unable to use - despite co-founding Amblin Entertainment with Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy.

Speaking at the press conference for 'Ready Player One' in Hollywood on Thursday (15.03.18), Spielberg said: ''We couldn't get any 'Star Wars' rights... They wouldn't give up the 'Star Wars' rights.''

Following his comments, Ben Mendelsohn - who stars in the new movie - joked that he could have obtained the rights after starring as Orson Krennic in Gareth Edwards' 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story'.

He said: ''You could've called me on that on, Steve. I built the Death Star, I'm just saying.''

Although not having the rights to the sci-fi franchise - which Spielberg had a financial stake in the original trilogy - the film does mention Han Solo's iconic space ship the Millennium Falcon but the ship is never seen on screen.

Spielberg also revealed that his producer Kristie Macosko Krieger worked for around three years obtaining rights from Warner Bros. Studios but was unable to secure all of them - including his own film 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind'.

He said: ''Kristie spent three years with all of the Warner Bros legal people getting the rights to all of them - and we couldn't get all of them.''

The new film - which is based on Ernest Cline's bestseller of the same name - is set in 2045 and the world is on the brink of chaos and collapse.

But people have found salvation in the OASIS - an expansive virtual reality universe created by the eccentric James Halliday (Mark Rylance).

However, when he dies, he leaves his fortune to the first person to find a digital Easter egg he has hidden somewhere sparking a contest that grips the entire world.

Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) decides to join the contest and he is hurled into a breakneck, reality-bending treasure hunt through the universe.

Cline is reportedly working on a sequel to his 2011 novel.