For 20th Century Fox's presentation here at SDCC, The Maze Runner was front and center with some cool footage from the film to kick off their panel. It starts with the character Thomas waking up in an elevator climbing up a dark tunnel. When it stops, sunlight spills in and he's met with laughs and jeers from a group of boys. Thomas starts running and one of the boys says, "we've got a runner." Thomas trips and falls and then the big reveal: a closed off grazing zone of sorts known only as "The Glade." And beyond the glade? The entrance to what appears to be a massive maze. Couldn't help but think The Maze Runner is definitely channeling some Lord of the Flies.
The panel moderator introduced the film's director, Wes Ball, the novel's author, James Dashner, and stars Will Poulter, Kaya Scodelario, and Dylan O'Brien. The new Maze Runner trailer was also previewed at the panel, which looked a lot like The Hunger Games meets Divergent - only with boys. There's a certain mystery to the film that is certainly intriguing, and production value is clearly top-notch. I'm not completely sold on The Maze Runner yet, but getting to the bottom of a pretty cool premise could get me there.
The moderator turned the panel over to audience Q&A, starting off with: "What scenes from the book didn't make it into the movie?" Ball assured fans of "The Maze Runner" novel that your favorite scenes in the book will appear in the movie. The filmmakers had to condense the story to make it cinematic - nothing new. The next question hit on an interesting concept - is Maze Runner actually a breath of fresh air as a YA dystopia with a strong male character as its protagonist? According to Dylan O'Brien , Katniss from Hunger Games would probably beat up Thomas in a fight. She'd shoot an arrow at him and he'd run away. Hey, at least he's humble.
Fox also preview concept art for [The Maze Runner](movie:575895)'s sequel, The Scorch Trials.
Fox also screened footage that features the Grievers, guard dogs (if you will) of the maze. Ball aimed to create a frightening monster that was half-mechanical and half-organic. They look relentless. The selected scene featured a chase between Thomas and a Griever, which looked awesome. Super tense.
The Maze Runner opens in theaters September 19, 2014.