USA TODAY US Edition
‘Scorch Trials’ adds twists to ‘Maze’ sequel
The heroic kids of The Maze Runner are out of the labyrinthine frying pan and headed straight into the fire.
At the end of last year’s first movie adapted from James Dashner’s popular young-adult book series, Thomas (Dylan O’Brien), Teresa (Kaya Scodelario), Newt (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) and crew finally escaped the maze and learned they were part of an experiment orchestrated by the shady scientific organization WCKD (World in Catastrophe: Killzone Experiment Department). The sequel, Maze Runner: The
Scorch Trials (in theaters Friday), introduces the youngsters to the post-apocalyptic world outside the maze and gives them new allies and enemies. Director Wes Ball breaks down six fresh aspects of the second movie:
The planet pretty much went to hell when it was decimated by solar flares, and the teenagers see the ruins of cities taken over by sand and rust — a huge change from the greenery-filled Glade of
“The big metropolises have turned into ghost cities and been swallowed by sand. It was a distinct look for a world, that the color palette on this movie could be totally different than the first one,” Ball says.
Ball always envisioned Patricia Clarkson’s Ava Paige — briefly glimpsed in the first movie — as the figurehead of WCKD and the new character Janson (Aidan Gillen), Ava’s second-in-command who’s relentless in his hunt for the escaped Gladers, as the real villain.
“He really becomes the threat that the kids are going to have to deal with,” says Ball, adding that fans will learn more about WCKD’s true intentions.
“It’s a larger question of the organization that started out with good intentions and becomes more corrupt as it desperately tries to save the world.”
FOLKS WITH FLARE
The solar blasts created the Flare, a virus that turns people into zombie-like creatures. So how to differentiate them from, say, walkers on The Walking Dead?
Ball explains that the Flare comes on externally, creating big, black holes in the victims’ eyes and bodies, while also driving them insane.
“The virus basically takes over your system and spreads and grows like a cancer, so ultimately it consumes the human inside.”
THE FREE-AGENT WILD CARD
When moviegoers meet Jorge (Giancarlo Esposito), “you’re not quite sure (on) what side of the line he’s going to fall,” Ball says. He’s no fan of WCKD, but when Thomas and his group want his help in hightailing it away from the bad guys, his loyalties seem only to be to his confidante Brenda (Rosa Salazar).
“I love the idea, potentially, that he might have been a really bad person in another life and Brenda became his redemption. But at the same time, he is definitely a pirate — he’s all about the idea of doing what you have to do to survive.”
A POTENTIAL ROMANCE
From the start, Ball wanted Maze
Runner to be “the boys’ adven- ture” and keep the lovey-dovey stuff to a minimum. But Brenda and Thomas feel an immediate connection that the eventual movie trilogy will explore.
Brenda wears her heart on her sleeve and lives in the moment, while the other main female character, Teresa, is all about the long term.
“It’s going to be a lot of exploring how the women in Thomas’ life stack up against each other.”
THE REBEL ALLIANCE
A group like WCKD is going to create resistance, and that comes in the form of the Right Arm, a band of freedom fighters led by Vince (Barry Pepper).
The Right Arm is very important for the third movie — Maze
Runner: The Death Cure, tentatively scheduled for Feb. 17, 2017 — “because there are groups of people out there who don’t have loyalties to WCKD and they’ll have to ultimately come together to topple this organization.”