'The Maze Runner' trailer: A deep dive with author James Dashner
What is beyond the maze?
It doesn’t matter if you’re a greenie, a runner, or if you have no idea what either of those words means. That’s still one of many central mysteries plaguing the group of unlucky boys stranded in the Glade of The Maze Runner — a new film from director Wes Ball based on novelist James Dashner’s hugely popular dystopian series. The story opens with a disoriented teen trapped in an elevator. He only knows his name: Thomas.
Soon Thomas (Teen Wolf’s Dylan O’Brien) finds himself among a group of boys, all living in a field surrounded by impossibly high walls. It’s a maze, and no one knows why they are there or how to get out. Mythologies swirl and the stakes keep rising as the boys try to uncover the mysteries of their plight. It doesn’t help that things “start changing” when Thomas arrives. To describe much more could spoil things for the uninitiated—but now that the trailer has finally arrived, Maze Runner devotees have a treasure trove of clues to dissect.
James Dashner was nice enough to talk to EW about the trailer, his favorite parts, and all the details that will leave die-hard fans either howling or scratching their heads. Check out Dashner’s deep dive after the jump.
James Dashner: The trailer begins just like the book did. Although I described the opening sequence as total darkness in the book, that wouldn’t make very good sense for a movie. I think Wes Ball captured the spirit of that pivotal opening moment so perfectly, showing the terror in Thomas’s eyes and the dirt and sweat and jerky movements of it all. The sounds are so perfect, cranking and squealing and metallic jolts. I got chills when the doors opened.
Dashner: From the first time I saw it in test footage, the view of Gally jumping into the Box from up above has been one of my favorite images. So perfect. I love Wes’s vision and directing style. And, of course, Will Poulter just nails it as Gally.
Dashner: I saw so much footage throughout the process without sound, and something that always struck me was how well Dylan O’Brien can act, just with his facial expressions and body movements alone. This guy is a star, period.
Dashner: You can imagine the goosebumps I got seeing the 20th Century Fox logo for the first time in an actual trailer. I mean, how many times did I see that in the Star Wars movies growing up!
Dashner: More than anything else, the capture of the Maze walls as Thomas spins around matches my vision 100 percent. I can’t believe how perfectly they nailed that in this film.
Dashner: Two quick things you might notice: There’s a large treehouse/lookout thing in the Glade that’s cool and becomes symbolic in a way…
…and people have scratched their names into one of the walls.
Dashner: I love the calming, leader-like voice of Alby (Aml Ameen) as he first talks things through with Thomas. I feel like it gives an immediate depth and realness to the movie behind the trailer.
Dashner: You also hear a brief roar of the Griever, which is exactly how I imagined it.
Dashner: People are going to go nuts when they hear Newt (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) speak for the first time. He and Minho are fan favorites in the books by a long shot.
Dasnher: Appropriately, right after that you see Minho (Ki Hong Lee) run into the Maze, then you see him studying a model scale of the maze that was one of my favorite set pieces. That’s a perfect example of a small change from book to movie that makes such good sense. In the book, the maps were on paper. Well, that’s beyond boring on the big screen. Much better to have a big, 3-D model!
Dasnher: Next, you get two really quick shots that will make people howl and speculate. First, walls closing on someone inside the Maze. I don’t wanna say who that is, but fans will probably guess…
…Second, right after that, you see a very metallic looking leg. I just love that! We’re giving fans the briefest, slightest glimpse of a Griever, but saving the best for the actual movie going experience.
Dashner: You see a few shots of things that are slightly changed from the book to make it a more immediate, visual, tangible experience. Sections of the maze that are varied, not all stone.
….A greasy, grimy, gooey device.
…Red laser-like lights.I don’t know how much I can say about those, but they are awesome and add so much to the film, while still keeping very true to the spirit of the book.
Dashner: My absolute favorite shot in the whole trailer, so indicative of Wes’s direction: When the newly arrived Teresa says, “Thomas!” and all the boys slowly look up at him, no subtlety in their accusatory eyes.
Dashner: There’s a very quick shot of Gally looking through a window, under water. I’m going to enjoy very much hearing my readers wonder what in the world that’s all about.
Dashner: I so love that quick shot of Minho screaming as the camera pans up on him.
Dashner: I had no part in designing this trailer, but I can’t believe how perfectly it ended. People have asked me for three years what scene from the book I most looked forward to seeing translated to the big screen. All I’ll say is the last thing you see in the trailer is exactly what I answered each and every time.
Dashner: And then that title sequence!!! I don’t even know what to say about it. So perfect. When I saw the trailer for the very first time, at this point I just started bawling, so many emotions exploding at once. To see my world come to life, so stunningly and so professionally, and to love it so much, just overwhelmed me.
The Maze Runner hits theaters Sept. 19.