WonderCon attendees were treated to an exclusive look at “The Maze Runner” during the Fox Theatrical Panel on April 19, and MTV News was on hand to witness all the excitement.
While many fans in the audience were focused on star Dylan O’Brien and his body of work (a special shout out to the “Teen Wolf” Stiles cosplayers), fans of the novel were not disappointed:
Exclusive Footage Reveals More of the Maze
In a scene only hinted at in the trailer, Thomas (O’Brien) and Minho (Ki Hong Lee), explore further into the maze. Their exploration is interrupted when a scanner senses their presence. They know that the monstrous Grievers who stalk the Maze are close behind; but it’s not the Grievers they have to worry about.
The maze begins to shift around the two: doors close, giant columns of concrete shoot up from the ground and begin to form walls around them. Thomas and Minho are forced to run for their lives, and barely make it out without being crushed to a pulp.
Though this scene does not exist in the book, director Wes Ball felt it was important to include something that really gave viewers an idea of what the maze is: not only is the maze a presence in the film, it’s one of the monsters, as well.
No Memory, But a Lot of Character
When the boys are first transported to their new home, called The Glade, they arrive with no memories of their previous lives. In fact, they can’t even remember their own names. While O’Brien and Will Poulter, who plays Gally, were not familiar with the novel prior to being asked to audition for the film, they joked that the roles required very little preparation. ”
You don’t have to do a lot of background research,” O’Brien said.
Ball emphasized that it’s really a character-driven piece. Even though there are monsters, they strove to really get into the minds of the characters and present what it would be like to wake up with no memories in a strange place.
When pressed to reveal whether the actors had lived up to his vision of the characters, Dashner had a hard time finding an answer.
“Well it’s really hard to… hard to uh…” Dashner began.
“Talk about it with the actors sitting right next to you?” Poulter quipped.
Nevertheless, Dashner had nothing but praise for the cast and how they helped translate his vision to the big screen. His one hope is that in twenty years people will be able to look back at the film and mark this as what really launched O’Brien and the rest of the cast’s careers.
Kaya Scodelario, Resident BAMF
Though the only female member of the entire cast, Kaya Scodelario plays a pivotal role as Theresa. Though book fans were sad to learn that Thomas and Theresa’s telepathic connection from the book isn’t explicitly explored in the film, Ball assured the audience that it was communicated in actions rather than cheesy voiceovers.
O’Brien and Poulter were liberal in their praise of Scodelario, saying that they don’t believe another girl could have played the part. ”
We all loved Kaya. She was the only girl in the movie, only girl in a cast full of guys,” said O’Brien.
The actors recounted that Scodelario’s first moments on set really showed she was a force to be reckoned with. Poulter recalled that all the guys were, “throwing sports equipment at each other,” something he was quick to not recommend to audience members.
Kaya arrived, cigarette in her mouth, caught a football that was coming towards her, and threw it right back with perfect form.
O’Brien Goes Beyond the Goofball
When asked about the similarities and differences between his Thomas and Stiles, his character on “Teen Wolf,” O’Brien joked that they were both played by him.
“Thomas is more stoic, calmer, more introverted, quieter… Sort of more like me,” O’brien said more seriously. “Stiles is my goofy side.”
While the goofy side certainly came out on set, the role of Thomas is a far cry from the roles O’Brien has played in the past. Thomas brings out a whole new side of his talent.
“The Maze Runner” opens in theaters on September 19.