Author James Dashner's The Maze Runner novel franchise is now on its way to officially joining the relatively short list of young adult sci-fi books-turned movie properties... which survived beyond one big screen installment, that is. The Maze Runner: Scorch Trials - the more brand-friendly title that 20th Century Fox has given the movie adaptation of Dashner's Maze Runner sequel novel - now has both a locked release date and its first new casting addition, to boot.
THR is reporting that Aidan Gillen - known to many foremost (and/or solely) as Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish on Game of Thrones - has been cast as Janson (a.k.a. Rat-Man), who serves as one of the antagonists in the Scorch Trials narrative.
It's a bit of type-casting, no doubt, but Gillen's also done fine - and varied - work outside of playing the scheming Littlefinger, including roles on such other notable series as Queer as Folk, The Wire, and Love/Hate. That's not to say that Gillen's Scorch Trials role will make exemplary use of his range as an actor, mind you, but... well, even if he does pretty much wind up playing just "Littlefinger in the Maze Runner universe," he ought to do a good job of it.
The list of returning players in Scorch Trials includes everyone relevant who was still alive by the time the Maze Runner film reached its conclusion (we'll hold off on spoilers for now). Meanwhile, director Wes Ball will once again be calling shots when production begins at the end of next month, with a script penned by T.S. Nowlin (co-writer on the first Maze Runner movie).
On the YA dystopia adaptation scale of Divergent being the best of the worst - and The Hunger Games being the best of the best - Maze Runner arguably serves as a solid middle-ground for the sub-genre, despite being hampered by its franchise-building duties (read our review for more on that).
Now that Ball and his team have gotten their feet wet in the blockbuster pool - and have the foundation of the first movie to stand on - perhaps the Scorch Trials film adaptation will be a step-up from its predecessor. Might as well hope for the best, anyway.
The Maze Runner is now playing in theaters. The Maze Runner: Scorch Trials opens in U.S. theaters on September 18th, 2015.