The Maze Runner is the latest YA adaption to be given a fast-tracked sequel. First The Hunger Games, then Divergent, set a film-a-year pace for its YA blockbuster franchises. Now, The Maze Runner: Scorch Trials is due out less than a year following the first film’s debut. Stars of The Maze Runner, Dylan O’Brien, Kaya Scodelario, and Thomas Brodie-Sangster will reprise their roles for the sequel — as well as the other cast members left alive at the end of the first installment.
Additionally, on such a tight schedule, Scorch Trials has already cast Game of Thrones actor Aiden Gillen as Jansen/Rat Man, and has begun to fill out the rest of its new cast. This week, Scorch Trials added three new cast members to appear in the sequel.
THR is reporting that Giancarlo Esposito (Breaking Bad) will join the cast as Jorge, the leader of a group of survivors called Cranks. Earlier this week, they reported that Rosa Salazar (American Horror Story) will appear as Brenda, a member of Jorge’s group, and Jacob Lofland (Mud) will play Aris, a character who worked with WCKD prior to the events of The Maze Runner.
All three new characters – as well as Gillen’s Rat Man – will encounter Thomas (O’Brien), Teresa (Scodelario), Newt (Brodie-Sangster) and the other surviving Gladers as their story continues in Scorch Trials. Wes Ball is returning to direct the sequel, and T.S. Nowlin, co-scribe on The Maze Runner, is writing the script.
The addition of Esposito, a strong character actor, may be exciting for fans of his work in Breaking Bad or various other projects. He offers The Maze Runner franchise a bit of dramatic clout that may work well alongside Gillen’s performance.
However, it’s also possible Scorch Trials will focus more on the teenaged stars than the adults – as was the case with The Maze Runner – and Esposito’s role will be on the smaller side.
If that’s the case, Salazar and Lofland may have more prominent roles, though both are relative newcomers who have primarily portrayed supporting roles. Whether they’ll be able to hold their own with the returning and/or more experienced stars remains to be seen, though it should be noted that many of the standout performances in The Maze Runner came from the supporting actors.
Given the fast pace of casting and the Scorch Trials’ tight schedule, it may not be long before we know more about the film’s new cast as well as how their characters fit into the continuing story of the sequel.
The Maze Runner is currently in theaters. The Maze Runner: Scorch Trials is due to premiere September 18, 2014.