Best-selling author James Dashner has made a name for himself in the world of Young Adult novels with franchises like The 13th Reality and The Maze Runner series, as well as his latest Mortality Doctrine novels. Dashner has seen his Runner novels come to life on screen with film adaptations, the most recent of which is set to come out on Blu-Ray/DVD on December 15. I recently had a chance to talk with the man himself and get his feelings on the films and his newest books.
MP: Congrats on your success with The Maze Runner book and film franchise. How does it feel to see the characters and the world come to life on screen?
Dashner: Thanks, man. Oh, man, it's definitely been a highlight of my career. Just, you know, having loved movies my whole life and loving storytelling and having it be such a big part of my life. Being involved in this whole moviemaking process from beginning to end has just been surreal. It's just awesome.
Now, novels when they get adapted into film do tend to have some differences. I did notice, though, with Scorch Trials that there was almost a whole new story. Was this a creative choice on your part or was it the studio's choice?
You know, I fully support it. Fox and the whole team from director Wes Ball to writer T.S. Nowlin and the producers, they're really good at keeping me in the loop and keeping me involved. But I'm also smart enough to realize that they're the experts at making films.
You know, I get feedback and all that, I really do leave it in their hands and something I've just been telling the fans quite a bit is "Be patient." I know the second movie has quite a bit of difference from the book. But that the third movie will make a lot of things make sense and bring things back in line to the book, and I think the readers will be very happy with the whole trilogy as a whole.
So, Wes Ball is returning for the final installment and he says that he will not split it up like, you know, Hunger Games and Divergent. So what are your thoughts on a solo finale?
I am so ecstatic about that decision. Wes and I have been saying this to each other from the beginning that we wanted to keep it as one film. I think that the book, The Death Cure, would be really difficult to split into two movies. It would feel really disjointed and I'd much rather have one solid, fantastic film than two mediocre films. So, I'm very happy with the decision.
So, I understand you're currently promoting the third Mortality Doctrine novel.
Yes, that is correct. It just came out last week, and I'm touring a few more cities next week.
And how's the tour going so far?
It's been great, you know, I think this series is really starting to catch on. The Maze Runner hysteria with the movies and everything took over my life for a while, but I feel so passionate about this new series I've worked on. I'm really proud of it, and I think it's a great story that will really appeal to any Maze Runner fan and so it's fun to see them really starting to discover it. I'm proud of this third book, so it's been fun to get out there and talk about it.
I read in a past interview you had with MTV that you had hoped to see this franchise come onto the screen. Has there been any further development in getting it made?
Yes, we recently just optioned it. We haven't quite announced it yet, so the details are still in the works, but fingers crossed, man, I think it would make a really good movie. It's really how I envisioned it, even before I wrote it, was cinematically, so we're really hoping it happens.
Who do you hope to see play Michael and Kaine in the movie?
Oh man, that's a great question. I remember everybody asking me about this with Maze Runner when it was first starting to garner movie interest. I mean, I've grown so close with the Maze Runner cast. You know, in a dream world, I'd have that whole cast come back kind of like American Horror Story or something, and they do different characters. They're so great. You know, maybe it'd be fun to see one of the supporting characters from The Maze Runner series, like Aml Ameen or Thomas Brodie-Sangster to play the main character of Michael, that'd be a real thrill. You know, it's another one of those things, it's kind of in the hands of the experts at the studios, so it'll be exciting to watch.
With the rise of binge-watching television and Netflix among teenagers and young adults, have you ever thought about your novels being adapted for the small screen?
Oh yeah, definitely, I think it might even still be a possibility. The series The Mortality Doctrine I think would lend itself well to a week-to-week type show with little segments and, you know, I've got a lot of other books published before, and they're still in my head to be published. TV is definitely an area of interest for me, so we'll see what happens. I'm definitely going to work on something in that direction.
The final entry into The Maze Runner film franchise, The Death Cure, is set for a February 17, 2017 release date and will begin principal photography this coming February.
Get your copy of Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials on Blu-Ray and DVD December 15, and pick up a copy of The Game of Lives today!