It's out of the frying pan and into the fire for Dylan O'Brien in the first trailer for "Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials." Actually, it's more like out of the giant mechanical labyrinth and into the post-apocalyptic wasteland.
Set for release Sept. 18 from 20th Century Fox, "The Scorch Trials" picks up where the first "Maze Runner" movie left off last year: Young hero Thomas (O'Brien) and his comrades are no longer forced to sprint through ever-shifting corridors, but they are still searching for answers about who they are and how they ended up in a futuristic nightmare.
A mysterious man played by Aidan Gillen -- whose presence immediately calls to mind the actor's string-pulling character Petyr Baelish on "Game of Thrones" -- teases that he has those answers. "Don't you want to understand ... why this all happened?" he asks, "I just need to know whose side you're on."
Of course, this being a dystopian YA fantasy (based on James Dashner's books), grown-ups are not to be trusted. After doing some snooping around, Thomas tells his friends, "They're hiding something. ... They lied to us. We never escaped; it's all just been part of their plan."
The trailer then culminates in a montage of chases, gun battles and explosions, set to an ominous voice-over about the fate of humanity.
While Thomas and friends are dealing with all that, "The Scorch Trials" will face its own set of tests as Fox and returning director Wes Ball try to build on the surprise success of the first film, which grossed $340 million worldwide on a modest $34-million budget.
Plenty of other would-be YA franchises have fizzled while trying to become the next "Twilight" or "Hunger Games," but the "Maze Runner" got off to a strong start without costing a fortune or raising expectations too high. Soon enough we'll see if the sequel can keep up the pace.