Back in March it was announced that there would be a Maze Runner: Scorch Trials Graphic Novel. Now we have our first preview of the graphic novel courtesy of MTV, which comes out today!
Check out the great interview with the writers Collin Kelly and Jackson Lanzing below.
MTV News: How did you both get involved in this project? Were you fans of the Maze Runner series before you started writing for the book?
Jackson Lanzing: The blunt answer is that they came to us and asked. Back when the first movie opened, we worked with Stephen Christy at BOOM! and the filmmakers behind the movie (Wes Ball and T.S. Nowlin) to put together a short prequel comic for the blu-ray. That story followed Minho before Thomas’ arrival in the Maze – with art by our frequent collaborator and friend Marcus To – and was how we became familiar with the world of the books and the films. That story’s actually reprinted in the new book, so you get a sense of where we came from.
Collin Kelly: Ball and Nowlin actually wrote a story for the same project: the really excellent “My Friend George.” You can read that in the new book as well.
Lanzing: Far as this book’s concerned, it all started with a phone call from Dafna Pleban, our editor at BOOM! Studios. We’d done “Hacktivist” and “Regular Show” at BOOM! — and have “Joyride” coming out early next year — so they know us pretty well over there. When they asked us to dig into the heart of the “Maze Runner” series – and basically gave us carte blanche to tell stories we found interesting — we jumped at the chance. There are a ton of unexplored corners in the “Maze Runner” franchise. Dashner’s story is laser-focused on the characters — which leaves a lot of room for expansion and growth in the wider world of the story. We were a little concerned that they’d think our ideas were too crazy, but when we were told that we could freely add specifics to the mythos, we rolled up our sleeves and got to work.
Kelly: We were joined by some truly awesome artists. Nick Robles turned our story of Group B – “The True Maze” — into a work of frigid beauty, while Andrea Mutti (who is doing incredible work on “Rebels“) brought out the darkness and pain of Jorge and Brenda’s origin in “Scorched.” Meanwhile, in “World Gone Wicked,” we asked Tom Derenick to tell the full history of the fall of the world, from the first Scorch to the rise of the WCKD… and he absolutely killed it.
MTV: How much interaction did you have with James Dashner or the screenwriters of the “Maze Runner” movies before starting? Did they offer any advice or ideas?
Kelly: When we first came into the project, James Dashner and the team over at Fox had already put together a loose idea of what stories they wanted told: the tale of Jorge and Brenda; an exploration of the second maze; a history of how the world fell, and WCKD rose. That was basically it — starter sentences. From there, we had tons of freedom to innovate on the story and the way it was told. The last thing we wanted was to write stories that people expected — hopefully, even the most fervent fan of the franchise will find things in this book that surprise.
Lanzing: James also wrote our forward and was involved in the approvals process, so fans of the books can rest easy that this comic has his blessing — even if it’s a bit of remix.
MTV: I was really interested in the parallels between the Gladers and the Icers in Aris’ story (“The True Maze”), especially because we don’t know much about what kind of maze Group B worked in from just looking the original text. Can you explain where the idea to put Group B in that environment came from?
Kelly: One of the only things we knew about Group B was that they were primarily female. From that single seed, we began exploring what that would actually mean to a society. While we found it hard to buy the idea that it would be so brutal and cruel as Group A, it also would be far from a utopia, because these girls are still scared human beings. Once we saw that their society was going to be evolving differently, we realized that that was probably part of WCKD’s plan all along… and as such, there’s no way they would put them in the same kind of maze as the boys. From there we went wild with ideas, but what we eventually settled on — a frozen caldera of constantly shifting ice — felt authentic to the universe, while still providing something unexpected. If the boys were going to be tested by the heat of their jungle microclimate, we wanted the girls to freeze.
Lanzing: Think about it for a moment. These kids never get any instruction from WCKD. The Gladers (or Group A) came up with “running the maze” on their own, so the term “Runner” doesn’t apply universally to those who map the maze. Neither does the term “Glader” or “Greenie” or “Griever” — those are terms coined by Alby and his society. With Group B, we had an awesome opportunity to create an entirely different society that worked by similar-but-different rules — one that had different terminology, governing systems, and monsters. And since their maze is ice, they don’t run — they skate and climb. It’s a reflection of Group A in many ways, but in other ways the Icers have their own story — one that could fill a whole book. We loved telling their side of the story.
MTV: Who was the character you were most interested to explore in this graphic novel? Which are you most excited to see audiences connect to?
Kelly: We loved the idea of exploring how damaged, frail Aris came to be one of the few Group B survivors, and of course Jorge is a fascinating character study of a man left behind by the world. But honestly? If the audience can connect to Ava Paige — if they can read this story and say, “I finally understand this twisted woman who killed the world trying to save it” — then we’ll have done our job.
MTV: For you, what’s the most exciting thing about getting to play around in the ‘Maze Runner’ franchise?
Lanzing: Getting to answer some questions and pose interesting new ones, so that the fans and new readers alike can fully understand the wider context of this crazy post-apocalyptic Maze Runner world. How did WCKD form? What tore Mary Cooper and Ava Paige apart? Where did the Cranks come from? Why put kids in giant mazes to cure a worldwide plague? What was the second maze really like? And how did Brenda and Jorge survive in the Scorch all those years?
These are questions that invite exciting answers — and more importantly, dynamic stories about interesting, damaged characters. Since those are our favorite kind of characters, this project was a joy to explore.
Here's a preview of the book:
I don't know about you, Gladers, but I'm super excited to check out the story behind Group B and so much more in the The Maze Runner: Scorch Trials Graphic Novel out today!
Check out the new The Maze Runner: Scorch Trials poster.
Absolutely enthralled with the image of the Gladers (any guesses who the specific Gladers are?) running for their lives across a dilapidated building, which in turn serves as a bridge across an extensive ravine.
So far Scorch Trials promotional work has been spot on in depicting the depth and nature of The Scorch, the dire need of our Gladers to survive, and the utter terror and desolation that remains of the world.
Keep a look out in theaters near you to see if this new, stunning poster shows us! Remember: The Maze Was Just The Beginning...
Check out the cover for the new The Scorch Trials film tie-in paperback cover releasing August 4th.
This special movie tie-in edition will feature an eight page full-color insert with photos from the film, an exclusive fan sticker (because who doesn't love stickers?!), and a special foreword written by director Wes Ball.
Check out the synopsis below:
Solving the Maze was supposed to be the end. Thomas was sure that escape from the Maze would mean freedom for him and the Gladers. But WICKED isn't done yet. Phase Two has just begun. The Scorch. There are no rules. There is no help. You either make it or you die. The Gladers have two weeks to cross through the Scorch-the most burned-out section of the world. And WICKED has made sure to adjust the variables and stack the odds against them. Friendships will be tested. Loyalties will be broken. All bets are off. There are others now. Their survival depends on the Gladers' destruction--and they're determined to survive.
The book will be released in hardcover, paperback and ebook formats on August 4th, 2015.
Cast and crew of The Scorch Trials talks with MTV about the scorching atmosphere they shot in New Mexico.
Dylan: There's a whole new world that we dive into. The first one, we're just in the Glade and in the Maze. In this one, you really see what's on the outside. We have Jorge's lair. We have 'what is the world now', which is basically a desert. This mall that we're shooting in right now is underground; it's literally covered and buried in sand. We get to see WCKD.
Wes: The types of scenes are so different than the first movie. With the Cranks it's about being scared and locked in these dark places with just flashlights. I love that really raw and real sense. We're not really doing a lot of movie lighting. It's just flashlights, which makes it terribly scary. They go out into the open world and the giant desert, sand dunes swallowing the whole world, basically. It's fun to open up the world, essentially. Even though they're out of the Maze, these characters are still lost. We get to play with those ideas in a new setting. That's been the most fun, so far.
Thomas: It's a lot bigger. Being on the sand dunes and seeing the light going down, it was quite spectacular. The general aesthetic of the film is very different. Lots of green, it's very dark, very smoky. None of us at this stage know what's going on at all. In the first film, we kind of had a rough idea of what was going on, but Thomas has no idea what's going on (in this one). So it's a constant learning process for us.
Kaya: We have a moment where we just acknowledge the horizon and acknowledge that this is the first time that these kids have seen distance and openness. I think that's really interesting this time around. We're a lot more exposed this time and more vulnerable, but there's more hope in that. Keep going. There's no barrier. Just a load of crazy Cranks.
You can tell the cast is so excited by the changes that the Scorch brought!