Exclusive: ‘Maze Runner’ Star Ki Hong Lee and James Chen Talk ‘Love In Time’

love in time ki hong lee

Maze Runner fans can still see Ki Hong Lee cracking jokes, fighting against WCKD, and generally being a badass as Minho in The Death Cure – in theaters now – but luckily, we already have another cool project of his to look forward to.

Lee has teamed up with Tapas Media, the next-generation digital publishing company that specializes in bite-sized comic books and novels, for Love in Time – a new K-Drama science fiction digital comic. Ki Hong will serve as creator-writer alongside Chris Dinh (Single by 30Crush the Skull) and James Chen (Wendy’s LookBook, Studio71).

Love in Time will include 48 chapters and revolve around a male protagonist that features the likeness of Ki Hong Lee. Infusing a multi-arcing love story and time travel together, the creators promise a cerebral plotline that will question what lengths we would all go to save those who we love?

We’re looking forward to seeing Ki Hong take on new adventures on the page, and we were thrilled to have the chance to chat with both him and James Chen about this new endeavor (and a little Maze Runner for good measure).


Talk to me about the origins of ‘Love In Time.’ What were some of your inspirations, and how did the story come to be?

James Chen: We’re big fans of both time travel films and K-Dramas. I think we all grew up with Back to The Future as one of our favorite films, and there have been so many others since. We’ve also been enamored with K-Dramas, especially how the storytelling aspects have been evolving so quickly. We’ve been brainstorming and pitching projects for each genre respectively for some time, but one day we came up with a very intriguing logline that combined both worlds: would you risk your own existence to protect the person you love? We excitedly started developing from there.




The male protagonist will feature the likeness of Ki Hong Lee. Was that the plan from the inception of the story? Ki Hong, can you talk about how this affects your involvement in the artwork process (if at all)?

JC: We had designed the protagonist with Ki Hong in mind. Chris [Dinh] and I have felt that Ki Hong has had a such a strong presence as a leading male, both as an action hero in the Maze Runner and as a comedic and romantic lead in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. And as a Berkeley grad, he’s got the brains to boot. So, when we were imagining a lead character that was a combination of all those things – hyper-intelligent, strong & athletic as well as charming with a great sense of humor, we naturally thought of Ki Hong.

Ki Hong Lee: I think it was either Chris or James who told me about the idea and I was hooked. I see it as a chance for me to get involved more as a creator because I have something invested. If it’s going to have my likeness, then I want to help shape where the story goes and be involved in the other decision-making processes that are involved in creating a digital comic.

love in time ki hong lee
Ki Hong Lee, co-creator/writer and protagonist of ‘Love in Time’

I love the premise of love story plots playing out through time travel. Are you able to tease any specifics of the story?

KHL: Our protagonist is a scientist from the future who’s been trapped since the 1800s. After waiting in isolation for over 200 years, he’s finally on the verge of going home when he meets and falls for an aspiring musician. He goes against everything he was taught and takes a peek at her history and discovers that she gets murdered soon after their meeting. Will he risk altering the future and his own existence to save her? Stay tuned.

JC: The plot mechanics are most similar to films like Back to the Future or Looper where the protagonist is stuck in the past. So there won’t be much time jumping back and forth. Though, unlike the ‘Back to the Future’ mythology, we will be exploring the different interpretations of the singular vs. multi-dimensional timelines.

Were there any particular time periods that you were especially excited to explore in this project (whether or not they made it into the final version)?

JC: The majority of the story will be set in modern day, but we will be dabbling a bit both in the past (1800s) and the future (2200s).

K-Dramas have found a passionate audience in the US and around the world. What do you think makes them so appealing? For someone who hasn’t been introduced to K-Dramas yet, why should they check out ‘Love In Time’?

JC: What we really enjoy about K-Dramas is how they can make you laugh out loud in one moment and ugly cry just a few minutes later. K-Dramas have been through a rapid evolution in just the past ten years and they can really amplify the emotional rollercoaster of the story. For us, we’re hoping to take our favorite story components of K-Dramas and infuse them with a slightly more Western cinematic sensibility.

Ki Hong, I also want to touch briefly on The Maze Runner as The Death Cure just hit theaters. What has it been like to say goodbye to Minho and the Maze Runner series? Is there any message you’d like to share with fans who have been following this journey since the beginning?

KHL: Closing out the Maze Runner series has been such a blessing. I am truly thankful for the opportunity to be able to breathe life into Minho. I think we have had such great support from the fans of the series. So, I want to say “Thank You” and much love back to you and everyone who was there from the beginning.


More details and launch dates for Love in Time and Tapas Media’s other exciting upcoming projects will be announced at a later date. Stay tuned!

Are you excited to read Love in Time?



Chloe Palka

Senior Editor

Fangirl, avid reader, & Anglophile. Current obsessions include: Dylan O'Brien, Teen Wolf, Game of Thrones, brunch, SDCC, and gingerbread lattes. Not a queen, a Khaleesi. Contact: chloe@fangirlish.com.

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