At the end of "The Maze Runner," Thomas (Dylan O'Brien), Newt (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) and the rest of their surviving Glader gang were thrilled to leave the Maze for metaphorically greener pastures. But when the film's sequel, "The Scorch Trials," picks up this fall, they'll learn pretty much straight away that you should never, ever trust WCKD -- because their new setting is just as scary and a whole lot hotter.
"There's a whole new world that we dive into," O'Brien told MTV News when we visited the film's Albuquerque set last fall. "In the first one we were just in the Glade, in the Maze, and in this one you really see what's on the outside... which is basically a desert. This mall that we're shooting in right now is underground, it's literally just covered; buried in sand. You get to see WCKD."
Of course, most of the stuff you'll see in the Scorch comes from James Dashner's hit book -- but being that no scenes took place in a mall in said book, it's safe to say that director Wes Ball might just give you something a little bit darker (and scarier) than what you might be expecting.
"It's about being scared, and locked in to these dark places with just flashlights," Ball said. "I love that kind of really broad, very real sensibility. We're not doing a lot of movie lighting, it's just flashlights, and it just makes it terribly scary to go out into the open world... giant desert with sand dunes swallowing the whole world, basically. It's fun to open up the movie... even though these characters are out of the Maze, they're still lost. So we get to play with those ideas in a completely new kind of setting. That stuff's been the most fun so far."
These treacherous sand dunes, the villainous (and mysterious!) plague-ridden people called the Cranks, and of course that damn heat make the Scorch a little less "fun" for the Gladers, but for the actors playing them, the change in scenery was very much appreciated.
"Being on the sand dunes and just seeing the light going down... it was really quite spectacular," Brodie-Sangster said. "The general aesthetic of the whole film is very different looking. It's not as green, it's very dark, it's very smoky. None of us, at this stage, know what's going on at all, whereas in the first film... we kind of have a rough idea of what's going on. Thomas has no idea what's going on. It's a constant learning process for us, and the audience."
As long as there's no Grievers around... emIright?!
"Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials" dashes into theaters on September 18.