(Release Info U.K. schedule; January 26th, 2018)
"Maze Runner: The Death Cure"
In "The Maze Runner" Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) woke up as he was being delivered to "The Glade'. He had no memory of who he was or why he’d become a member of a community of young people; among them Minho (Ki Hong Lee), lead maze runner; Newt (Thomas Brodie-Sangster), a good friend and advisor, Gally (Will Poulter), a leader and adversary and Teresa (Kaya Scodelario), the only female glader, with whom Thomas may have a potentially dark history. Together they're trapped, surrounded by 200 foot walls and an ever-changing maze. Bad turns to worse when 'The Gladers' finally escape 'The Maze' only to discover they're in the middle of a desolate wasteland called 'The Scorch'. In "Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials", Thomas and the surviving gladers met new allies while discovering clues about a mysterious group behind all of their tests, an organization known as 'WCKD'. With "Maze Runner: The Death Cure" the motives of 'WCKD' become clearer, Dr. Ava Paige (Patricia Clarkson), 'WCKD’s' executive director is close to what she believes is a cure for the disease known as 'The Flare', an infection that has decimated the world’s population. But the cure comes by sacrificing the few young people left in the world who are apparently immune. In order to free those who've been rounded up as test subjects, including his friend Minho, Thomas must now band together with fellow survivors, old and new, and take the battle to what may be the last remaining city and the final stronghold of 'WCKD'. He must break into the super-secure 'WKCD' headquarters and try to bring down the organization from the inside. Action reaches new heights in this mission-oriented third and final segment of 'The Maze Runner".
"The Maze Runner" was the first of a trilogy of stories based on the James Dashner novels. In the original 'Maze Runner' the involuntary inhabitants of the mysterious encampment knows as 'The Glade' were surrounded by an ever-changing maze with 200 foot walls. They're a colony of young men with a singular goal; escape the glade by solving the maze. When Thomas showed up and, shortly after, 'The Glade’s' first girl inhabitant Teresa, everything began to change. The way out led them to the truth; they're members in an immense and cruel test. In "Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials" 'The Gladers', as they're now known, discovered that once out of the maze they're not the only participants forced to endure tests. There were in fact other mazes, other survivors and they were to learn of the organization that had selected them, 'WCKD'. Thomas, who had become the presumptive leader of the group, didn’t trust the message he was hearing that 'WCKD' is good.
Breaking free from the compound where they’d been housed after being rescued Thomas led the survivors of the original maze and others he had encountered in the new facility out into 'The Scorch”, a desert wasteland that appeared to be all that was left of the world. Looking for a rumored safe haven, the group became trapped when Teresa, conflicted about 'WCKD' and it's true mission, gave up the hidden location of the surviving assemblage and a 'WCKD' resistance group known as 'The Right Arm'. Having been betrayed by Teresa, and vowing to save Minho, who has been abducted by 'WCKD', Thomas concluded 'The Scorch Trials' with a single declaration to kill Ava Paige. The woman who had become synonymous with the organization enigmatically named 'WCKD' had now become his nemesis. When "Death Cure" opens, it's clear the team have had time to come up with their plan. They're a different group, organized and on the offensive. It’s a plan so audacious it requires that they steal an entire moving train car in their attempt to save Minho.
"Maze Runner: The Death Cure", picks up roughly six months after "The Scorch Trials" ended. In the final battle of 'The Scorch' the survivors of 'The Flare', a disease that has devastated the world’s population, have defined their purpose; to find a safe haven away from the influence of 'WCKD'. Uncertain if this last city had even survived, 'The Gladers' knew that somehow gaining entry would be difficult. To then break in to the 'WKCD' headquarters where Minho was being held, that was impossible. In the first movie the challenge was to solve the maze, to break out of 'The Glade'. A big part of the group, led by Gally, wanted no part of that. They looked at 'The Glade' as their home and they were safe. 'In Scorch Trials' we're out of 'The Maze', had a building to live in and were taken care of but there was a price to pay. In "Death Cure", Thomas wants to break in to the place that caused all of this to save his friend Minho, which he promised he’d do. Most thought it was a crazy plan. The Thomas character is someone that takes that step forward into the unknown when everyone else takes a step back. It’s a film about not leaving a man behind. And that's Thomas’ journey. Newt is skeptical of it, so are some of the other 'Gladers'. You've a big choice to make when you’re going after one man who has been captured, what do you do with all of those other young people who you’re trying to save? How does that balance out? So it’s a conundrum of sorts.
As the target of Thomas mission, Dr. Ava Paige sees the 'WCKD' agenda as a very challenging moral dilemma. She's someone who truly cares for the immunes but she has a drive to succeed that's above all else. It’s an almost heartbreaking relationship with Thomas. If there’s someone who can deeply affect and touch Ava, it’s Thomas. She goes on to explain how failure isn't something her character handles easily. And she has that very powerful line to Janson (Aidan Gillen) when she says, 'it’s not about giving up, it’s actually knowing when you’ve lost'. As much as all the characters have maintained the family bond through the first two films, this time with a direct assault on 'WCKD' the strategy has become one of divide and conquer, requiring the group to split into teams to become even stronger. She has a very strong agenda, obviously, and people’s feelings, thoughts, emotion are not a large part of her life. What's important to her is survival. As we moved through the three episodes, through the three installments, in this third one you see a slightly more personal side to Ava. You see how she lives in a way. You see she’s more affected by human contact or human interaction. Ultimately you find out in the end she really thought she's doing the right thing.
Janson is an employee if you like, of the 'WCKD' corporation. But a very ambitious employee. He’s almost like a secret policeman or something. The Janson character is initially introduced into the story, or to the kids, if we can call them that, as providing a potential way out or maybe a good guy within this corporate prison environment. But it turns out he wasn’t that. We got to see that through the course of the film. At this stage in the story he's even more driven and ruthless and reckless and ambitious you know, with an eye running the show. Though Ava Paige is behind the ever-repeating message 'WCKD' is good there’s plenty of doubt about that in Brenda’s (Rosa Salazar) mind. She doesn’t believe for a moment that 'WKCD' is the altruistic organization they present themselves to be. They’re trampling on the people in order to make money while at the same time telling people we’re trying to help. They’re harvesting the serum from innocent children. They’re trying to capitalize on a very devastating epidemic. They’re not doing it for us, and they’re not doing it for the good of the people, and they’re not doing it to save lives, they’re doing it so that they can make a coin.
In the first film, 'The Gladers' primary goal was to escape. In the second film, they're on the run, staying barely a step ahead of 'WCKD'. Now, as they turn the tables and are on the offensive they find help from an unlikely source; Gally. Thought to have been killed while turning against the others in the last moments before escaping 'The Maze', their old companion and Thomas adversary is on the forefront of the war against 'WKCD'. As many fans of 'The Maze Runner' novels know, Gally makes his surprise return in the third book. Gally was the one who, when back in the maze, never wanted to rock the boat. Now, he’s back and he’s a soldier leading the war against 'WCKD'. The others, especially Thomas, don’t trust him but now Gally wants to defeat 'WCKD', he wants to bring them down. As 'The Gladers' pursue their mission to rescue Minho, they also have a chance to save many of the other immune children captured by 'WCKD' and to be used as test subjects. The tests 'WKCD' is conducting are their attempt to see if the immunes might have what's needed to make a serum to cure 'The Flare'.
The first film, with 'The Maze', was all cement and decay. The second story was the sand and rust of 'The Scorch' and this film, "The Death Cure", is a world of glass and steel. They each have their own tone and color palate. But it’s the world of steel and glass, a world that 'The Gladers' are not even certain exists that will become the target as they take the battle to 'WCKD'. The battle against 'WKCD' actually started at the end of 'Scorch Trials'. In the third book there’s this whole idea of a resistance, a group opposed to 'WCKD'. Having the warring factions show up at the end of the second movie is a slight deviation from the book. There are things that aren’t exactly like the book but they’re inspired by the books. The fans of the books are very loyal to the stories and very protective of them but some things just work better in a cinematic universe.
The whole movie’s really a rescue mission and it’s a special sequence in this exciting trilogy. "Scorch Trials" started at the exact moment that the first film ended. With this film, it been about six months and you can see that these guys have been busy. They’ve taken that time to get organized, to come up with a plane and to go save Minho. You’re in a place where people still band together and they rise up. Where people have an interest in what’s going on around them and they say it and they vocalize it and they fight. People here, they will fight, they will rise up. Having rescued a train car full of young people, all immune to 'The Flare', headed for the test labs of 'WCKD', the ultimate goal is get everyone to the safe haven. Once again, it's a place that no one was sure really existed.
The locations are absolutely stunning and unique and you’re getting a little bit of a throwback to 'The Maze', 'The Grievers’ might make an appearance you get sort of everything. It’s a culmination of all three books and "The Death Cure" really brings it all together. It’s an amazing adventure. The design is fantastic. It’s very easy to act on those sets, you know. It’s not like, oh here’s a white wall and over there it just stops and there’s a bunch of people standing around. It really feels like a world that you can inhabit, like the real thing, because it’s all there. You know you can walk down that corridor and there’s another corridor and you can walk into that corridor and there’s a lab and then it brings you back to the other corridor. It’s quite easy to feel it. It’s not only giant but it’s also very specific in that it reflects a modern day dystopian western.