Two weeks before Wes Ball’s adaptation of young adult novel The Maze Runner hits theatres and work is already underway on an immediate sequel. That’s according to the director himself, who spoke with BuzzFeed about moulding the follow-up book — The Scorch Trails — to the silver screen and cementing the IP as a competent franchise.
“We’ve got stages, we’ve got crews coming in, Dylan will be back in a few weeks, we’re building sets, and the script is being written. It’s a bit of a race this time because we’re cautiously optimistic, but we’re feeling excited we’re about to do something that’s way more sophisticated, way more grown up, and really set up a saga here.”
It’s worth noting that the potential continuation of The Maze Runner is very much in the pre-production stage, and though Ball appears optimistic of the film’s hopes, it’s still hard to imagine the studio pushing to expand the franchise should the first outing fail to impress.
Either way, The Maze Runner is based on James Dashner’s eponymous novel and tells the story of a group of wayward teenagers who wake up in the middle of a gargantuan labyrinth with no memory of the outside world. From there, series protagonist Thomas must unlock the secrets of the maze in order to escape.
By this stage, we’ve grown accustomed to studios sanctioning sequels long before the original film makes it to theatres. However, those parties guilty of such long-sighted ambitions are often the same studios crafting expansive superhero universes or, more recently, relying on the power of nostalgia to justify two new chapters in the Terminator franchise.
But in the case of Ball’s The Maze Runner, green lighting the sequel a full fortnight before its maiden release hits theatres is akin to going all in on an expensive car without first kicking the wheels.
The Mazer Runner is expected to release on September 19th and October 10th in North America and the UK, respectively.