Wes Ball's directorial debut The Maze Runner was something of a surprise franchise-starter last year. Starring Teen Wolf's Dylan O'Brien (who had scant few film credits to his name at the time) in the lead role with a supporting cast of unknowns and little-knowns, the adaptation of James Dashner's young adult science fiction novel succeeded where adaptations of better-known YA sci-fi books had failed (R.I.P. The Giver and Ender's Game), grossing ten times its original production budget at the box office and scoring a sequel based on the second book in Dashner's trilogy: The Scorch Trials.
It's impossible to discuss Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, or even to watch a trailer for it, without spoiling the ending of The Maze Runner. After being trapped in a strange prison at the center of an enormous maze, Thomas (O'Brien) managed to lead his surviving friends to freedom, only to discover that the world had been ravaged by a massive solar flare and a deadly virus. In Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, Thomas has supposedly been rescued, but he starts to suspect that his new guardians (led by Game of Thrones' Aidan Gillen as Assistant Director Janson) are not what they appear.
20th Century Fox apparently isn't too concerned about giving away the fact that Thomas is not safe and Janson is not a good guy. The trailers for Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials have shown the teens escaping their new refuge and venturing out into the baked, barren desert known as 'The Scorch', and a new clip released over at Collider shows the moment at which Thomas realizes that he's been deceived - and that it's time to start running again.
Another Game of Thrones actor, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, also features heavily in the clip as Newt, one of Thomas' fellow escapees and a competent second-in-command/adviser. The Maze Runner had a pretty high body count, but other survivors include Kaya Scodelario as Teresa, Ki Hong Li as Minho, Alexander Flores as Winston and Dexter Darden as Frypan.
Early tracking is indicating that Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials could break box office records for September, with Box Office Mojo predicting a potential opening weekend gross as high as $50 million. A third film in the series, The Death Cure, entered development earlier this summer and is set to conclude the trilogy in a February 2017 release.
Will Thomas and his friends survive the latest trials set in front of them and manage to escape from WCKD's snare once and for all? Will The Scorch Trials surpass its predecessor at the box office and in the eyes of critics? There are just a few weeks left before we find out.
Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials opens in U.S. theaters on September 18th, 2015, followed by The Maze Runner: The Death Cure on February 17th, 2017.