20th Century Fox hosted a big Comic-Con panel in Hall H on Friday 25 July. Comic-book fans might have been disappointed that there was no word (or footage) from the new Fantastic Four reboot which opens next year, and no update on X-Men: Apocalypse, but the footage from The Maze Runner seemed to please fans and impress newcomers.
With stars Dylan O’Brien, Kaya Scodelario and Will Poulter joining director Wes Ball and the book’s author James Dashner on-stage, two scenes from the film were presented, alongside a previously unreleased trailer.
The first clip – destined to draw Hunger Games comparisons – saw O’Brien’s Thomas in an industrial lift, being raised upwards at great speeds, until he finally emerged into the sunlight of ‘the Glade’, with its residents gathering around to inspect the newcomer. Thomas then sprints for his life across the grass, before tripping and collapsing in a heap. From the industrial aesthetic of the lift, to the contrast with the grassy Glade, and the imposing concrete maze hanging in the back, the scene was tense and atmospheric, as amnesiac Thomas struggles to get his bearings.
“There’s not much to go off of, but that’s almost cool, it’s almost easy – it’s very natural for what the character’s going through,” explains O’Brien. Scodelario, meanwhile, wasn’t daunted by joining a big group of boys. “We had a wonderful time, we all bonded straight away,” she smiles. “It feels very brotherly with them, they look after me.”
The second substantial clip shown featured the maze’s predators, the Grievers. Ball admitted that he’d kept these creatures concealed during the marketing campaign, but he wanted to give the Con crowd a treat, and revealed a sequence in which Thomas is chased through the maze by one of the biomechanical arachnids (think a Mirkwood spider crossed with a Terminator and you’re part way there). It was another tense clip, suggesting that this might actually be a little scarier than it’s other YA stablemates. Ball claimed to have taken inspiration from Alien and Jurassic Park.
And before the panel wrapped up, Ball revealed some concept art for what they hope will be the next film in the series: The Scorch Trials. Based on the second book in Dashner’s trilogy, the film will have a completely different look and feel, suggesting that this won’t be a franchise that sticks to a formula. (Although if this one’s a hit, what’s the betting that the third book will be split in two for the film adaptation?)
The Maze Runner opens in the UK on 10 October 2014.
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