Actor Dylan O'Brien may have denied the recent rumors about being at the top of Sony and Marvel's casting choices for Spider-Man, but he still has a pretty busy year ahead of him. O'Brien recently completed filming on The Scorch Trials, the hastily produced sequel to 2014 sci-fi The Maze Runner, and is currently busy shooting the fifth season of MTV's supernatural drama Teen Wolf.
Given the commercial success of The Maze Runner, which grossed ten times its original production budget at the box office, the completion of the trilogy was more or less a given - and the possibility of adapting author James Dashner's prequel The Kill Order remains open. Director Wes Ball has alluded to adapting the third book in the series, The Death Cure, in the past when he stated that he didn't want to follow the increasingly popular trend of splitting the third installment into two movies.
Now it looks like The Death Cure has officially been given the green light by 20th Century Fox, however, as Deadline reports that The Maze-Runner and The Scorch Trials screenwriter T.S. Nowlin has been hired to write a script based on The Death Cure as well. If Fox keeps up the current pace and timing of the films then The Death Cure can probably be expected to hit theaters around September of next year.
The Maze Runner starred O'Brien as Thomas, a teenager who wakes up with a bad case of amnesia after being transported to a community of boys who are tasked with finding their way out of a vast, constantly shifting maze. The puzzle is made more difficult by the fact that the maze is populated by murderous robotic monsters, and that remaining in the maze after dark is practically a death sentence.
The franchise also stars Kaya Scodelario as Teresa, Thomas Brodie-Sangster as Newt and Ki Hong Lee as Minho - three of Thomas' allies from the Glade, who are all set to reprise their roles in The Scorch Trials. Without giving too much away about the end of The Maze Runner, the upcoming sequels will further explore the strange world that Thomas woke up in and how it came to be that way.
It's fairly safe to assume that Ball will return to direct The Death Cure, though this isn't confirmed yet. He comes from a visual effects background, which is a useful starting point for handling a sci-fi franchise like this one. The Maze Runner received middling-to-positive reviews from critics; and while it might not be about to overtake The Hunger Games in terms of popularity, it does seem to have found a moviegoing audience that would like to see the story continued.
The Scorch Trials arrives in theaters on September 18th, 2015. The Death Cure will probably release in fall 2016.