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‘Maze Runner’ film series has its own identity: cast

Though a film adaptation of a popular science fiction novel, the cast of “Maze Runner” series proudly boasts that the film trilogy has successfully meshed the elements of the book with elements of other genres to form its unique characteristics.

“One of the things I’m most proud is we formed our own identity. With our cast, and story, (the series) has very much become its own thing, paved its own way with this generation,” Dylan O’Brien -- who plays protagonist Thomas -- said Thursday at a press conference held in Seoul. The event was part of the promotional tour for “Maze Runner: The Death Cure,” the final installment of the trilogy directed by Wes Ball.

Dylan O‘Brien (left), Thomas Brodie-Sangster (center) and Lee Ki-hong pose for photos during a press conference for “Maze Runner: The Death Cure” in Seoul on Thursday. (Yonhap)
Dylan O‘Brien (left), Thomas Brodie-Sangster (center) and Lee Ki-hong pose for photos during a press conference for “Maze Runner: The Death Cure” in Seoul on Thursday. (Yonhap)

O’Brien explained that while the movie is based on sci-fi, it adds elements of adventure and romance.

The “Maze Runner” series revolves around a group of teens who are thrust into a harsh environment in a post-apocalyptic world. The first movie was about the group -- jointly led by Thomas and his friend Newt, played by Thomas Brodie-Sangster -- fighting its way out of a maze called the Glade, while the second was about the Gladers struggling against the organization of W.C.K.D.

Mystery surrounding W.C.K.D.’s plan is tackled in the final film, which kicks off after Minho -- a critical member of the Glade played by Lee Ki-hong -- has been abducted by the organization. The actors said this film had the strongest starting point of the three, allowing the characters to demonstrate more personality.

“I thought it was more fun (than the other movies) because the book already had a lot of materials and there were several storylines with the characters. It was certainly the most action-packed out of all the movies,” Lee said.

“But I didn’t like it because it took the other guys way too long to rescue my character,” he jokingly added. “What took you guys so long?”

Minho’s rescue represents an adventure for the main characters, which simultaneously sets up for conflict later on.

The key element of the film, the cast stressed, is the growth that the characters go through.

“My character at this point is more like a weathered leader. ... That’s really what the whole arc is about, a scared boy turning into a man,” said O’Brien.

In the film, his character’s perspective about good and evil is challenged, he noted.

“In the first two movies, he was utterly defiant in his actions against W.C.K.D. But for the first time, my character’s perspective is shifting. ... It’s a struggle through all the realization that maybe he hasn’t been entirely right.”

Despite the characters leaving the maze in the first film, the harrowing path that they go through in the second and third film mirrors the winding path of the Glade. “Maze represents a lot of what the characters end up go through,” O’Brien noted.

Wrapping up the series, the actors said the charm of the film seems to be in its characters.

“I feel like it has something in it for everyone, especially the characters. There are an array of characters that everyone can latch on to. It is so diverse,” said Lee.

“Maze Runner: The Death Cure” hits local theaters on Wednesday.

By Yoon Min-sik