Going in, we thought The Maze Runner had definite potential, but given some of the other recent young adult missteps, and the fact that the release was pushed back seven months, gave us pause. Still, it turned out to be pretty good (read our review here), not great, but solid. And the box office performance was similar, not great, but solid. (A modest budget doesn’t hurt—this cost less than half of the cheapest Hunger Games movie.) 20th Century Fox had already announced that they were working on the follow up, The Maze Runner: Scorch Trials before they delayed the film, but it now that the film is a success they’re really getting rolling. That includes adding Giancarlo Esposito to the cast.
There are SPOILERS beyond here for those of you who haven’t seen the movie or read James Dashner’s novel of the same name.
The Maze Runner centers on a group of young men, and one young woman, who are trapped in a place called the Glade, which is surrounded by giant walls and the titular maze. In this set up there are no adults, and before the very end, there’s only one in the entire movie. Moving forward, the Gladers, or at least a good chunk of them, escape their prison and emerge into the real world, and as such, Scorch Trials is going to need some more adults. They’re all going to be corrupt as hell for the most part, but still, they’ll need to be around in some capacity.
Esposito, as reported by THR, is the second notable new addition to this grown up cabal. Game of Thrones and The Wire star Aiden Gillen recently signed on to play the main villain in the sequel—as enjoyable as the first film was, it does suffer from not having a primary antagonist.
Scorch Trials sees the remaining group of kids forced into yet another life or death test, as they have to trek across a barren, sunburned region called the Scorch. Out there they encounter a group of survivors called Cranks. Esposito is set to play their leader, Jorge, a character who also appears in the third book of Dashner’s trilogy, The Death Cure.
Most known for his coolly villainous turn on Breaking Bad, Esposito is money in everything he does. He even gave good crazy, manipulative, and vindictive in NBC’s short-lived Revolution, and he’ll make a nice addition to this cast.
Most of the key players are back for The Scorch Trials, including director Wes Ball and stars Dylan Thomas, Kaya Scodelario, Ki Hong Lee, and Thomas Brodie-Sangster. They’re also bringing along new addition Rosa Salazar, who will play Brenda. Turn around on this project will be rather short, as filming is slated to begin next month, and the release date is already less than a year away, September 18, 2015.