Believe it or not, the first novel in The Maze Runner series came out almost 10 years ago. It took five years for 20th Century Fox to turn that young adult thriller into a blockbuster picture, one that would take star Dylan O’Brien from small-screen fame to big-screen action star and kickstart a film franchise that would go on to amass almost a billion dollars across three installments. The latest, Maze Runner: The Death Cure, may have suffered from some behind-the-scenes drama, but its Blu-ray release is among the best you’re likely to find these days.
Director Wes Ball, who has the distinction of directing the entire trilogy, goes to great lengths to offer deep and detailed insight into the production of not just The Death Cure but The Maze Runner story so far in this movie’s Blu-ray extras. Granted, the diehard Maze Runner fans will be the main audience here, but anyone else who’s even remotely interested in the day-to-day production work that goes on behind the scenes, or just how many people it takes to make a film like this, or the reality of life on set for weeks and months at a time, these extras are surprisingly thorough to the point that they almost put on a filmmaking clinic. I’ll break down what’s in store below in the Blu-rays bonus extras:
Deleted/Extended Scenes with optional commentary from Ball, Nowlin, and Jon Hartwick Jr.:
- No Symptoms / Without Minho – Extended scene between Jorge and Brenda that was cut for time and feeling too expositional. Plus, a conversation between Frypan, Newt and Thomas that made sense in the script but wasn’t needed in the final cut.
- Running Out of Time – More between Janson and Dr. Paige, and a first look at WCKD’s inner workings and a hint at Janson’s affliction.
- Sewer Scene / Serum Vault – Extended scene with Gally, Newt and Thomas, including a reveal of how Gally fell in with Lawrence. The production used existing tunnels in Cape Town for this scene.
- Subway Tunnel – More of Gally, Newt and Thomas’ perilous underground journey, a scene, which was an “unfortunate and expensive cut.” It’s followed by a bit of world setup explaining life in the city.
- Freeway Jump / “Trust Each Other” – Aboveground, Gally, Newt and Thomas must make a dangerous jump from a disconnected freeway ramp—a real, existing structure in Cape Town–to a narrow ledge of an abandoned section of the wall in order to do surveillance; this sequence is later revisited in the VFX breakdown. Plus, a heart-to-heart from Gally which was the subject of a disagreement between the members of the creative team.
- Newt’s Broken Leg – Newt’s story of how he originally broke his leg in the maze, a scene that Ball wanted to include in an extended cut of the film.
Lawrence Camera Shutdown – Brief scene showing Lawrence’s tech team hacking WCKD’s security system and the leap of faith that Thomas, Newt, and Gally have to make.
- Preparing for Battle – The Right Arm gears up for the final fight and Lawrence spares a thought for his past before his sacrifice, which Ball wanted to include in an extended cut.
- Frypan’s Grand Entrance – Frypan descends from a crane to join his friends; the scene was cut for pacing reasons.
- Lawrence Is Gone – Brenda warns Thomas about Lawrence and his team’s disappearance; a scene Ball regrets not keeping in the movie.
- Teresa and Ava Wait – After Newt’s sacrifice, Dr. Paige tells Teresa, who’s waiting for Thomas, to gather her research and prepare to take a transport out of the falling city, just before Thomas arrives.
Unlocking the Cure
- The Final Run (10 minutes) – The cast and crew look back at the journey so far and what will transpire in the final chapter. It includes an extensive look behind the scenes of the production, plus stunt work and the crazy number and variety of cameras used.
- Dystopia: The Completed World (5 minutes) – A look at the world of The Maze Runner and the locations all three films have visited.
- Allies Reunited (5 minutes) – A character featurette that lets the cast look back on their time together and their maturation over the three films.
- A Look Back: The Director’s Journey (5 minutes) – A retrospective look at Wes Ball’s career from his short film “Run” to directing the entire Maze Runner