When Will 'Maze Runner 3' Hit Theaters? 'Death Cure' Can't Come Soon Enough

Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials , the second installment of the Maze Runner trilogy, hits theaters on Friday, Sept. 18, but fans are already clamoring to know when they can get their hands on the third and final film, The Death Cure. So when will Maze Runner 3 be released in theaters? It can't come soon enough; after all, the first movie in the franchise, released in 2014, was a big hit, and though it failed to enjoy the same level of success as The Hunger Games, it earned more than enough at the box office to warrant a sequel adapted from the second book, Th e Scorch Trials. The third movie was confirmed to be released by 20th Century Fox, so the only question is: when?

According to the studio, Maze Runner: The Death Cure will hit theaters on Feb. 17, 2017. It's no surprise that a third film is on its way, as intentions for the next movie were announced before Scorch Trials was even released. Not much is known about the third, and supposedly final, film in the Maze Runner series, though both director Wes Ball and star Dylan O'Brien are expected to return. Unlike The Hunger Games, Twilight and Divergent, Ball, who has led the franchise since the beginning, has said he has no intention of splitting the final book into two films. As a result, it's clear that Ball intends to have some of the events of The Death Cure take place off-screen, in a time period between the end of The Scorch Trials and the beginning of The Death Cure.

"This next one will be cool because we're gonna cut maybe a year later. Yeah, so it'll be cool. Some things have happened off screen, which is gonna make the movie feel even bigger," Ball said in an interview with Collider.

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Ball didn't reveal what events, exactly, would be left out of the third film, but he did say that the film would be tonally very different from the first and second installments. As you'll recall, The Maze Runner, released in 2014, was the latest in a string of big screen adaptations of hit young adult series. Written by James Dashner, the book that inspired the film tells the story of Thomas, a teenager who wakes up with no memories in an enclosed field called the Glades. He and the handful of other boys in the Glades must fight their way out through the maze keeping them prisoner. In the sequel, out this month, the Gladers battle the organization W.C.K.D., all while attempting to get through a new and dangerous landscape called the Scorch, hence the movie's name. So clearly, there's a lot at stake for the follow-up film.

"We're working on the third one right now, working to make it even better and even cooler, and doing the same thing we did on this last one where it's a different movie. It's gonna be a different kind of an engine, a different kind of genre almost and a different sort of color palette and terrain. It's gonna be cool. It's gonna be very, very cool I think," Ball told Collider.

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Shooting on Maze Runner: The Death Cure is expected to begin in February 2016, and as said, it's likely to be the last movie in the series. However, there could be hope for a fourth. After the release of the original Maze Runner trilogy, Dashner published The Kill Order, a prequel to The Maze Runner about the events that led to the creation of WICKED and the Glade. With one more book to adapt, who knows what the future holds for The Maze Runner?

Images: 20th Century Fox; Giphy (2)