Director Wes Ball has overseen the creative drive of both films in The Maze Runner trilogy so far, with his second film in the series, The Scorch Trials, heading to theaters September 2015. So far, the cast and crew have been forthcoming with specific details regarding the latest production, citing the differences between the films and the novels by James Dashner, as well as making a point of where Ball's series stands apart from such like-minded, post-apocalyptic genre fare as the Divergent films.
Based on what we've seen so far, Ball is on track to keep the tension mounting over the course of the franchise's sophomore theatrical outing, and will pave the way for the third film in the series, The Death Cure. Reportedly, the film's distributors at 20th Century Fox are more than satisfied with the filmmaker's efforts, and have just awarded Ball with everything he could have possibly hoped for when he accepted the task of helming the first film.
According to Variety, Ball will return as the director of the third and final film, with shooting set to begin in December 2015. When asked for comment at the New York City red carpet premiere of The Scorch Trials, the director had this to say regarding plans and production for the third film:
"Ultimately our goal is to create an awesome three-movie trilogy. Not many people have done that, and now I have the opportunity to do that. I am directing the third film and we’ve already been busy preparing and working on the final conclusion of this saga."
Where some feature franchises based on YA novels have seen changes in terms of the crew behind the camera (see the Harry Potter films), Ball was adamant to "do justice" to Dashner's novels from beginning to end, adding:
"We are setting up a lot of things that aren’t necessarily apparent in the second movie, but it will pay off big time in the third movie. So that has been my approach, and I’m glad that I can finish the series. I’m lucky and thankful that they asked me to direct all three films. At first I wasn’t sure if I was going to do it or not, but honestly, it was the cast that I wanted to work with again. They are such great people."
As there is already competition for YA viewer attention in the aforementioned form of the Divergent film series, as well as the Hunger Games and the upcoming The 5th Wave, Ball and 20th Century Fox are likely attempting to offer fans of Dashner's novels a more aesthetically consistent viewer experience. Considering so many of these YA franchises often see changes with regard to directors, knowing that 20th Century Fox has already ensured its Maze Runner franchise will end with the same individual behind the lens as when it began, then The Scorch Trials could be an exciting lead-up to The Death Cure.
Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials will begins its theatrical release on September 18th, 2015. Maze Runner: The Death Cure opens in theaters thereafter on February 17th, 2017.