'Escape Room 2' First Look: The Deadly Game Expands In A 'Tournament Of Champions'

After being made on a budget of just $9 million, the suspenseful puzzle thriller Escape Room went on to be a major box office success, raking in over $155 million worldwide. That was more than enough for Sony Pictures to get a sequel off the ground immediately, and now we're finally getting a hint at how the deadly game will expand in the next chapter.

The first photos from Escape Room: Tournament of Champions have arrived, but in order to talk about what's happening in the sequel, we're gonna have to spoil the hell out of the first movie, so you've been warned.

The original Escape Room found six strangers caught up in an elaborate puzzle that trapped them in mysterious rooms, had frightening links to key moments from their past, and delivered lethal consequences for anyone who wasn't strong or smart enough to survive. The last two survivors were Zoey (Taylor Russell) and Ben (Logan Miller), and the final scene saw the duo preparing to fly off to dig into the mystery of Minos, the company behind this deadly game. But little did they know that their flight was about to become part of the ever-growing puzzle.

Escape Room 2 Photos

We're hoping the sequel picks up right where the first film ended, but when it comes to the next round of puzzles, the contenders will be a little more experienced. Director Adam Robitel told CinemaBlend:

"What we're going to find out is that though we had an insular view in the first movie of just Zoe's story, what we're going to realize is that on any given day, there are multiple games happening all around the world. Ben and Zoe are going to quickly realize that there are some other people in this movie, other characters who've also been through the games and suddenly now it's sort of like a game of champions. They've all played the game before. It's sort of a meditation on trauma, and how people deal with trauma. But also, what they've learned through their first trial by fire."

Escape Room 2 Photos

Even though the mystery at the center of Escape Room is getting bigger, the formula from the first movie will remain mostly the same. Robitel talked about some of the new characters coming into the mix, including Rachel (Holland Roden), Brianna (Indya Moore) and Nathan (Thomas Cocquerel). We'll learn about their past much in the same way that the first movie introduced us to the original characters:

"What I try to do is set up questions for each of them, like I did in the first movie. We're leaning into, 'Why does this person have a scar?' And 'Why is this guy seemingly reading the last rights to somebody?' There's one character who has a very odd physical — not malady, but like an anomalous immune system, and so there's weird things that happen with pain. And so we're setting up all these questions [proving] that they're not your average characters. They each have a little mystery that speaks to the games that they went through."

Escape Room 2 PhotosEscape Room 2 Photos

This feels like it's turning into an escape room version of The Hunger Games. But my concern is that if the franchise continues to be successful that the mystery of the company behind these games won't have a satisfying conclusion when the time comes to reveal who is behind all this madness and why. But for now, the premise of the film series is entertaining enough to keep me paying attention. Here's the official synopsis:

Escape Room: Tournament of Champions is the sequel to the box office hit psychological thriller that terrified audiences around the world.  In this installment, six people unwittingly find themselves locked in another series of escape rooms, slowly uncovering what they have in common to survive...and discovering they've all played the game before

Escape Room: Tournament of Champions will be coming to theaters this summer on July 16, 2021, and starting today, you can stay tuned to a thread of puzzles on the Escape Room Twitter account. See if you have what it takes to keep up.