EXCLUSIVE: Though it doesn’t release the sci-fi action thriller The Maze Runner until September 19, 20th Century Fox has exercised the option to buy The Scorch Trials, the second book in the four-novel series written by James Dashner. The studio has set T.S. Nowlin to adapt. The Maze Runner, which was adapted by Noah Oppenheim, Grant Myers and Nowlin, marks the directorial debut of student Academy Award winner Wes Ball and has an ensemble led by Dylan O’Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Will Poulter and Aml Ameen.
Ball will supervise Nowlin’s adaptation of The Scorch Trials. In The Maze Runner, a group of youngsters find themselves in The Glades, and have to find their way through a seemingly impenetrable maze. In The Scorch Trials, the main kids have escaped, but now they face an even more treacherous challenge on the open roads of a devastated planet. Nowlin most recently wrote on Fantastic Four, and he and the director went to Florida State University’s film school together and are also planning a feature adaptation of Ball’s short film Ruin for Fox. Nowlin’s credits include Agent 13, set at Universal with Charlize Theron and Rupert Wyatt attached, and Our Name Is Adam, which Mary Parent will produce and Tom Cruise will star in for Paramount. The Gotham Group’s Ellen Goldsmith-Vein and Lee Stollman are producing The Scorch Trials along with Temple Hill’s Wyck Godfrey and Marty Bowen, and Joe Hartwick Jr. Emma Watts and Jason Young are overseeing.