Phase 2 in the Maze Runner world is getting well and truly underway. This week has already brought the reveal of the first poster and trailer for the series’ second installment, The Scorch Trials (which, can we just say, are epic). Those certainly left us wanting more–and luckily, the stars, director Wes Ball, and author James Dashner have obliged in some new interviews.
Extra visited the Albuquerque, New Mexico set of The Scorch Trials to catch up with the cast and talk about what we can expect from the film. Check out the video to hear about the wide variety of locations used in filming, some of the new characters (hey there, Jorge and Brenda!), the physicality of filming, and more.
Note: Though Giancarlo Esposito (Jorge) says that Rosa Salazar (Brenda) will be playing his daughter, producer Wyck Godfrey and writer T.S. Nowlin cleared things up on Twitter–Jorge is only “a protector/father figure.”
There was a LOT going on in the Scorch Trials trailer. We’ve still been trying to move past all-out fangirling to dissect exactly what we’re seeing–which is a whole lot of action. Luckily, director Wes Ball gave EW the breakdown. Ball revealed some interesting information–some that will be familiar to book readers.
One thing we’re sure will play a major role in the movie? The Flare: the mysterious virus that turns its victims into zombie-like Cranks. “In the last movie we said these kids are immune to the virus, but in the second book we learn they actually are infected. So that will sort itself out in the movie. The question is who is immune and who isn’t. That’s a mystery we hold out,” he said.
Fans were thrilled to finally get a first look at Janson (a.k.a. “Rat-Man”), the enigmatic character played by Game of Thrones‘ Aidan Gillen. Ball also revealed a little more of what we can expect from this new figure. “He plays essentially the villain of the movie, this character named Janson – or what the book fans would know as Rat-Man. We expanded his role in this movie and he’s really fun to watch onscreen.”
The trailer also treated us to glimpses of several other exciting new faces, including Aris, played by Jacob Lofland. According to Ball, his character has been slightly changed up from book to film. “In the book he was a contemporary of Thomas, very much that version of him in the other maze,” Ball says. “But I just felt I didn’t need another handsome, strapping man to compete with Thomas. I wanted someone who would be a little more of a little brother to him. So I changed it slightly.”
Though book-to-movie changes can be touchy points for fans, we’ve loved everything Wes Ball has brought to the Maze Runner series so far, and we are so excited to see this next installment. Make sure to check out his full EW feature for more thoughts on the trailer!
Last but certainly not least, author James Dashner spoke to Radio Times about what we can expect from The Scorch Trials. From the trailer, it certainly looks like we’re in for an even darker, more intense experience this time around. Dashner concurs: “It’s very similar to the books in that way, things got a little bit darker in the second book and the movie definitely represents that,” he said.
He also gives fans a heads-up that there will be some more book-to-film changes this time around–most noticeably due to the “ripple effect” of leaving out Thomas and Teresa’s telepathy, which is a major plot element in the novel–but assures that he has full faith in Wes Ball & Co. “I think it still captures the spirit of what happens in the book and I do think people will be happy with it… My goal is to stick by [fans’] side[s] and help them understand why the changes were made and help them understand that some things that work in the book don’t work in the movie and vice versa.” Dashner said.
As book readers may have inferred from the trailer, elements of The Death Cure, the third Maze Runner novel, are being incorporated into this second film for the purpose of creating a stronger three film arc. Dashner weighed in on this decision, saying, “Basically it just made sense to move a big chunk of the third book to the second film. It’s not a death or anything like that. It’s a major exciting part of the third book that’s now in the second movie. Then when we get to the third movie, things will align back to the books more strongly.” That’s some seriously smart filmmaking, if we say so ourselves.
Check out the full interview for more great information from James Dashner, including his thoughts on not splitting The Death Cure into two films (to which we say: YES!!), an update on The Fever Code, and more.
We’ll keep you posted as more Scorch Trials news emerges!