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‘The Maze Runner’ Trailer: Hey, What’s ‘The Maze Runner,’ Anyway?

Before ‘Divergent’ even hits theaters, we’ve got a new young-adult franchise to familiarize ourselves with.

It used to be easier to track the big young-adult franchises on the horizon. As Harry Potter drew to a close, Twilight emerged. The Hunger Games followed the same pattern. But just as we’d mastered all the districts and figured out who we really wanted Katniss to end up with, we were asked to pay attention to something called Divergent, another series of hot Y-A novels about to get turned into culture-dominating, dollar-gobbling films. And now, before that one has even hit theaters, we’ve got a trailer for something called The Maze Runner, directed by newcomer Wes Ball.

First: Any noteworthy scents wafting off that trailer? Some Stargate throughout, and some combo Star WarsIndiana Jones when the guy’s about to get smushed.

Now: What is The Maze Runner? A 2009 book by James Dashner, a prolific, award-winning young-adult author. He has a screenwriting credit on the adaptation, too.

Who’s The Maze Runner about? Teenagers. Teenagers in a dystopia.

The kind with names like Katniss and Peeta? There’s a Newt, a Gally, and a … Zart — but regular old Thomas and Teresa stand front and center.

Do I know these actors from anything? The leads are Teen Wolf’s Dylan O’Brien and Kaya Scoledario of the original, British Skins. There’s also Thomas Brodie-Sangster, who plays Jojen Reed on Game of Thrones, and We’re the Millers costar Will Poulter.

Why so many dudes? Teresa is the first girl to appear at the Glade.

HuhAt the GLADE, where Thomas arrives at the trailer’s outset. (Also: He has amnesia. Wee!) The Glade’s a jungly space at the center of an enormous, changing, deadly maze. From which no one has emerged. And it’s populated by stinging monsters called Grievers.

Will The Maze Runner be “about” something? Whereas our past and present crazes have offered/attempted to offer meditations on grief, isolation, and coming of age (Potter); totalitarianism and mob mentality (The Hunger Games); flawed utopian designs (Divergent); and romance via vampires vs. werewolves (Twilight), The Maze Runner seems like it’ll be about … running, jumping, and slaying. Maybe with some conspiracy-unveiling thrown in. And definitely with some unstable hormones.

I’m pro-Y-A everything. How long are these bad boys going to entertain me when I purchase them all tonight? There’s a trilogy (Books 2 and 3: The Scorch Trials and The Death Cure) and one prequel, The Kill Order. They’ll distract you for 1,430 pages, or 40.5 hours if audio books are more your speed. (They’re good for Y-A. Or so I hear.)

That’s too much. You have until September 19. You’ll be fine. Go read.