The 12 Biggest Book Changes in The Maze Runner Movies


  • The Maze Runner the films make changes to the original books, such as removing Thomas and Teresa’s telepathic powers.
  • The depiction of the Grievers’ attacks differs between the books and the films, with the films demonstrating more tension and urgency.
  • The film adaptation of Maze Runner: A Cure for Death removes important context for WCKD’s secret motivation, leaving the audience with unanswered questions.

The Maze runner the films adapted their story from James Dashner’s books of the same name, but also changed numerous characters and storylines. in 2014 The Maze Runner was released when teenage dystopian film adaptations were at the height of their popularity. The film series centers on a society devastated by the Flare virus, which causes scientists to perform hideous experiments on children in hopes of finding a cure.

The movies derive many of their storylines from Maze runner books; however, they also take creative liberties. Some of these changes are small and unimportant to the plot, such as the name of the organization WCKD (called WICKED in the books). Other changes from the books to the movies, however, have a significant impact on the overall narrative and character arcs.

10 The Maze Runner films reduce Thomas and Teresa’s telepathic powers

IN Maze runner books, Thomas and Teresa can talk to each other via telepathy. This allows them to communicate at any time, no matter where they are. Often Thomas and Teresa’s internal dialogue provides context for the events occurring throughout the series. When adapting the books into films, the director decided to cut out the couple’s telepathic powers due to the difficulty of incorporating telepathy into a film format (via MTV). Ultimately, by breaking the psychic connection, films can focus on the individual development of the characters. It also made Teresa’s death more significant because the two characters formed a stronger external bond.

9 Griever’s attacks look different

Grievers play an important role in the former Maze runner movie and book. However, their attacks appear to be significantly different between the two mediums. In the books, Grievers take heroes from the Glade one by one. Their stings also pose no threat to the Gladers because they have wide access to the Sorrow Serum. This contrasts with the movies where the Grievers slaughter multiple Gladers at once. Grievers kill with their teeth as well as their stings, and the children have no access to the serum until Teresa arrives with two vials. These changes provided more tension and urgency to the film.

8 Maze Runner: Death Cure removes WCKD’s secret motives

Dylan O'Brien's Thomas watches WCKD's Patricia Clarkson's Ava Page at the movies

Maze Runner: A Cure for DeathThe ending of ‘s differs greatly from The treatment of death book in many ways, but one of the most significant is the missing epilogue. In the book’s epilogue, Chancellor Ava Page writes a memorandum about WCKD’s secret motivation. After realizing they couldn’t find the cure, WICKED shifted their focus to saving the immunes, allowing them to rebuild society. This explains the phrase “WCKD is good,” which appeared in Maze runner movies. Unfortunately, the movie removed that context entirely. While the change created a better enemy for the Gladers and Right Arm, it also left unanswered a question about the meaning of the phrase.

7 Only the first phase of the WCKD experiment appears

An image of the cast of The Maze Runner standing together in front of the maze

The first one Maze runner the film focuses on the first phase of the WCKD experiment. By the time the second movie rolls around, however, the characters are no longer in the experiment. Instead, the Gladers go with the Right Arm, the resistance group fighting WCKD. In the books, the right hand only appears halfway through The treatment of death. The second phase of the experiment requires them to go through the burn, a task they do because they believe WICKED gave them the entire Flare Virus. In the third phase, each subject faces a unique test that caters to him.

6 Newt’s tragic backstory is absent

A big change from Maze runner books to movies is Newt’s backstory. The film series establishes that everyone in the Maze Trial is immune to the Flare Virus. in Maze Runner: A Cure for Death, Newt gets infected. The only explanation given for this change is that WCKD needed a control subject for the experiment. Unfortunately, this creates more questions in the Maze runner movies than answers. The books provide a tragic backstory that better explains Newt’s presence. WICKED wants to take his sister Lizzie and kills their parents when they refuse. They put Newt in the experiment as a control subject, knowing that he would eventually become a geek.

5 The films do not explore WCKD’s mind control abilities

Ki Hong Lee as Minho looking away in Maze Runner.

The Maze runner the films only briefly mention the fact that WCKD can control the minds of the experiment subjects. This is seen in Maze Runner: A Cure for Death, when Minho starts hallucinating about the maze trial, something WCKD seems to trigger to pull the drug from his blood. However, WICKED controls themes much more often in the books. For example in The Maze Runner, Gally throws a knife at Thomas due to WICKED’s mind control—an act that ends up killing Chuck, who dives in front of his friend. This is just one example of the Gladers acting through mental coercion.

4 The origin and stages of the Flare virus are not explained

Arms with veins and a crank that screams in The Maze Runner The Death Cure

The Maze runner the film franchise only briefly touches on the origin of the Flare virus. In the movies, it is stated that the Post-Flare Coalition created the virus to control the population after The Flare. The movies never explain why they decided to create the virus. On top of that, the movies barely touch on the Flare Virus stages, just showing the Cranks in their final stage. The book series explores all of these things in detail, providing more lore and world building.

3 Maze Runner: Scorch Trials cuts to the most terrifying scene in the book

The Gladers stand together and stare into the distance in The Maze Runner

One of the scariest scenes in The Scorch Trials never appears in the film adaptation. In the book, the Gladers walk down a dark tunnel where they encounter metal balls on the ceiling. These balls, created by WICKED, fall on the Gladers. When they latch onto a person, the metal covers their entire head, eventually decapitating them. Metal balls can also defy gravity by flying sideways. When the Gladers realize what the metal balls are doing, they start screaming and run as fast as they can for their lives. It’s a shame the movie left this scene out because it would have made a great action sequence.

2 The quest for the WCKD cure looks different in the books

A hand holds a vial of blue liquid with the letters WCKD written on the metal in The Maze Runner movies

IN Maze runner film franchise, WCKD conducts an experiment to induce the production of healing enzymes in immune brains. from The Maze Runner: A Cure for Death, the organization finds a way to extract the drug from the Immune’s blood. This is very different from the book series. In the books, WICKED does brain scans on the immunes, trying to figure out why they can’t get the Flare virus. in The Treatment of death, WICKED reveals that there is no existing cure for the virus, which means all the Cranks will die. In the epilogue, Ava Paige reveals that the organization discovered this earlier and shifted their focus to saving the Immunes.

1 Thomas never returns to the maze in the movies

Image of Dylan O'Brien as Thomas in The Maze Runner over an image of the maze

in The treatment of death, Thomas must return to the maze trial to save the other immunes who are stuck with the Grievers. This takes up a large part of the book. After he finally reaches the Immunes, they use the teleporter — called the Flat Transporter — to get to the Safe Haven. None of this happens in The Maze Runner: Treatment of death because by this point the plot had deviated so drastically that it wouldn’t make any sense. All the Gladers escaped the maze ordeal and Thomas was fully focused on taking down WCKD.

Source: MTV

The Maze Runner

Created by
James Dashner

Dylan O’Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Will Poulter, Patricia Clarkson, Giancarlo Esposito, Aidan Gillen, Ki Hong Lee, Barry Pepper, Walton Goggins, Natalie Emmanuel

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