"Next time an innkeeper says all he has left is 'dangling room', let's pass."


"Next time an innkeeper says all he has left is 'dangling room', let's pass."

MAZE RUNNER: THE SCORCH TRIALS

The Abridged Script

FADE IN:

EXT. FORTIFIED COMPOUND

They LAND outside a BIG CONCRETE FACILITY which is being beset by INFECTED! The REBELS rush the GLADERS into-

DYLAN O’BRIEN

Woah, WOAH. Paging Mr. Context? We’re not gonna do any kind of recap about the zombie virus or the evil science collective or these guys rescuing us from the death maze?

THOMAS BRODIE-SANGSTER

What, to catch up the many people who didn’t bother with the first movie but are going to see this one anyway?

DYLAN O’BRIEN

Maybe they’re obsessive Alan Tudyk fans? Okay, fair point.

They head INSIDE where they are greeted by rebel leader AIDAN GILLEN.

AIDAN GILLEN

Welcome, kids! I know you’ve had it rough, but now you’re safe where the evil scientists from WCKD can never find you. I know a giant concrete fortress covered in soldiers and helicopters might not SEEM like a particularly discreet hiding place, but just trust me.

DYLAN O’BRIEN

Trust you? Fuck off, you’re Littlefinger. You’re doing the same smug, shifty-as-fuck little smile and everything. They might as well just give you a Hitlerstache and call you Baron von Murder.

THOMAS BRODIE-SANGSTER

By the way, hey there, GoT buddy! Man, I wonder if this is the first time you and I have ever even been in the same zip code as each other?

AIDAN GILLEN

Anyway, here you’ll find a lot of teens we’ve rescued from WCKD’s other mazes. It’s a bit utilitarian, but it’s only temporary; once a week or so we select a group and take them to a big farm upstate with lots of room to run around and chase chickens and play all day.

KI HONG LEE

Sounds legit to us!

THOMAS BRODIE-SANGSTER

Yeah! We, just like the other hundreds of survivors of the other death mazes, find no reason to be at all suspicious of a bunch of heavily-armed adults abducting us, locking us up in a mysterious facility, and occasionally hauling us away to never be seen again!

JACOB LOFLAND

(scuttling up creepily)

Psst, Dylan. I’m the longest-standing resident of this place and I don’t trust these guys. I think instead of sending people to some kind of happy shiny paradise, they’re actually taking them to some secret back room to be harvested by scientists, because I’ve seen The Island like FIFTY TIMES and that shit gets into your head, man.

DYLAN O’BRIEN

All right, I’ll help you sneak into the secret lab tonight. To deal with the door lock, I’ll swipe an access card, and to deal with the lab guards, I’ll trick the lab into not having guards in the first place.

INT. SECRET LAB

DYLAN and JACOB sneak into the LAB to find a bunch of kids DANGLING FROM THE CEILING, crammed full of TUBES! Then they have to HIDE as AIDAN comes in and activates a huge wall-sized COMMUNICATIONS SCREEN to talk to MAIN VILLAIN PATRICIA CLARKSON.

PATRICIA CLARKSON

Hello, Aidan. I thought we should have a conveniently-timed chat about how you’re totally evil and work for me and whatever other bits of exposition we can cram in here. How are things in evil exploity kidnap world?

AIDAN GILLEN

Awesome! Our evil experiments on the immune kids are going great. Your idea of making them run around a maze getting eaten by monsters sure has made them all the more immune to the zombie virus, however the fuck that’s supposed to work. Anyway, got to go and grab Dylan and his friends and turn them into tube puppets, bye now!

(leaves)

DYLAN and JACOB hurry back to warn the others. JACOB slips into a VENT to do something MYSTERIOUS while the others all start ESCAPING.

DYLAN O’BRIEN

Hang on guys, they’re keeping Kaya Scodelario in the med bay, and we need to grab her before we leave! And if we don’t find her there, I guess we’ll just grab a bunch of cotton swabs or tongue depressors, which would contribute as much to the plot and have an equal amount of personality.

They grab KAYA and make it to the EXIT but find the door LOCKED, and are cornered by AIDAN and a bunch of GUARDS.

AIDAN GILLEN

Give up, Dylan. My men here could immediately knock you out with these instant knock-out guns, but instead I’m going to stand here and try and talk you down as though you weren’t completely helpless and at our mercy.

But then the door OPENS to reveal JACOB.

JACOB LOFLAND

Hey presto! The thing I ran off to do was unlock this door somehow! I could have explained as much when I left you guys, it would have taken me all of five seconds, but this way there was SUSPENSE!

DYLAN O’BRIEN

Dude. Did you just open that thing from the fucking OUTSIDE?!

JACOB LOFLAND

Yeah! I knew a way to bypass all the guards and locked doors and simply slip out undetected by anybody!

(pause)

Oh. Ohhh, I see now how that might have been a useful thing to mention earlier.

The TEENS all FLEE out into the DESERT.

EXT. DESERT

DYLAN O’BRIEN

We need to head to the mountains. I overheard Aidan mention that that’s where we’ll find The Right Hand. They’re a bunch of rebels who attack WCKD facilities and rescue the teens that are being held there.

KI HONG LEE

That sounds eerily familiar. Please don’t tell me this is going to turn out to be one big matryoshka doll plot with evil scientists all the way down.

To hide from AIDAN’S SEARCH HELICOPTERS, they take refuge in a half-buried SHOPPING MALL.

DYLAN O’BRIEN

Hey look, there was some kind of makeshift community down here. But it looks like it was hastily abandoned at some point. Hmmm, I wonder what could possibly be down here, in the middle of this zombie apocalypse, that caused everyone to flee in a panic?

THOMAS BRODIE-SANGSTER

Whatever, there’ll be plenty of time to figure all that out after we activate these loud generators and turn on these bright lights and I find somewhere to plug in my electric guitar so I can practice a thrash-metal instrumental I call “We Are Here, Eat Our Stupid Asses”.

In the middle of all their POKING CARELESSLY AROUND and MAKING LOTS OF NOISE, suddenly they’re attacked by ZOMBIES!

DYLAN O’BRIEN

AW CRAP! Run, everybody! Run as fast as you can! Especially you, cameraman! Start sprinting as wildly and frantically as possible! Don’t even stop to take off your pogo stilts, just RUN!

The CAMERA flails madly down EXTREMELY DARK CORRIDORS lit only by a half-dozen FRENETICALLY-SWINGING FLASHLIGHTS, as the ZOMBIES try desperately to escape the TEENS! Oh wait, maybe the TEENS are trying to escape the ZOMBIES. And somebody gets ATTACKED and possibly BITTEN? And somebody else gets ATTACKED and possibly NOT BITTEN. Or maybe a BASKETBALL GAME happens in FAST-MOTION on the MOON, who the fuck can tell.

DYLAN O’BRIEN

Phew, we got out of there. Presumably, as we are outside now.

ALEXANDER FLORES

But alack, I am zombie bitten!

DYLAN O’BRIEN

OH NO, NOT... er, "Alexander"? Are you sure you were with this group, sir?

ALEXANDER FLORES

Yes! I was in the first movie and everything!

DYLAN O'BRIEN

(checks IMDb)

So you were! Whattaya know.

KAYA SCODELARIO

Wait, he’s infected? How can this be?! The guys from WCKD said we were immune!! And yes, last movie it was made clear that the virus had killed off a whole bunch of us and therefore no we weren’t immune at all. But they SAID!

DYLAN O’BRIEN

Of course we’re immune, it’s a very important plot point that we are. It’s just that we’re immune to the virus in such a way that getting exposed to it causes us to get sick and die one hundred per cent of the time. OBVIOUSLY.

They keep TREKKING across the DESERT, dragging ALEXANDER with them. Suddenly ALEXANDER grabs a gun and tries to KILL HIMSELF!

DYLAN O’BRIEN

No, Alexander! Don’t do it! We’ve completely reversed our position on mercy kills for infected guys since last movie apparently!

ALEXANDER FLORES

Look, you want to be a zombie movie, it comes with a few obligatory clichés. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some lines I’m supposed to deliver now. Let’s see.

(opens booklet entitled “A Beginner’s Guide to Dying in a Zombie Movie”)

“I’m not gonna make it.” And, uh...

(flips page)

“Don’t let me turn into one of those... things!”

DYLAN O’BRIEN

Very well, you can kill yourself I guess. We’ll miss you, whoever the hell you were!

(leaves)

They keep traversing the DESERT, the whole time seeming surprisingly unaffected by the HEAT considering they’re traveling across a place called the SCORCH in a movie called THE SCORCH TRIALS set during a post-apocalypse caused by a solar flare which supposedly SCORCHED the planet.

DYLAN O’BRIEN

Hey look, as night falls I can see a half-ruined section of city has its lights on. We’ve made it!

THOMAS BRODIE-SANGSTER

What, you think that’s the mountain-based rebel faction which has been successfully hiding from WCKD’s helicopter patrols? That huge, obvious, brightly-lit bunch of buildings that’s visible for miles around and isn’t anywhere near the mountains?

DYLAN O’BRIEN

Well we’re being chased by a sudden lightning storm now so we have to go inside either way, does that make things better?

They flee the LIGHTNING and head into the TOWN.

DYLAN O’BRIEN

Phew, we made it. And none of us was struck by lightning, thank God!

KI HONG LEE

(raises hand)

I was. I got struck by lightning.

DYLAN O’BRIEN

Oh.

(pause)

Um. How you doing there, buddy?

KI HONG LEE

(shrugs)

Can’t complain.

A girl named ROSA SALAZAR comes and takes them into custody.

ROSA SALAZAR

Hello. I’m a likeable, interesting character whose actions move the plot forward, played by an actress with more personality than a damp dishrag.

DYLAN O’BRIEN

You don’t say! Kaya, you’re hereby relieved as female lead of this franchise.

KAYA SCODELARIO

D’oh.

ROSA takes them to the town leader, GIANCARLO ESPOSITO.

GIANCARLO ESPOSITO

It’s our policy here to sell immune kids to WCKD, but I’m enticed by this rumor you bring me, about The Right Hand hiding in the mountains. I also have heard this rumor, and when two whole people hear the same rumor that means it MUST be true!

DYLAN O’BRIEN

So if we agree to take you there, you’ll let us go?

GIANCARLO ESPOSITO

Er, no. While I’m in charge of this place, I’m not in charge ENOUGH to let prisoners go when I want to.

DYLAN O’BRIEN

I get it. You’re the leader but you’re not, the same way we’re immune but we’re not, and the outside world is a scorched hellscape of heat but it’s not. Basically everything in this movie is a big pointless lie.

GIANCARLO ESPOSITO

In that case I guess I’ll imprison you but not, by chaining you up in a way that allows you to actually reach the chain-release lever.

(leaves)

KAYA SCODELARIO

Oh hey, that gives me an opportunity to actually perform an action for a change!

(lunges for lever)

Gottamakeit gottamakeit GOTTAMAKEIT!

She pulls the LEVER and they all get FREE, just in time as AIDAN arrives outside in a HELICOPTER with a whole mess of SOLDIERS!

GIANCARLO ESPOSITO

Whoops! While I could just safely hand the kids over to WCKD, which is apparently a thing I do all the time, and then me and Rosa could simply make for the mountains by ourselves, having already gotten all the intel about The Right Hand that the kids had, instead I’ll basically declare war on the evil army and blow up my own town.

He starts a SELF-DESTRUCT MECHANISM rigged to go off when a RECORD FINISHES PLAYING, which was cooler when JASON STATHAM DID IT, and then he and the kids escape by ZIPLINING to a BUILDING ACROSS THE WAY.

AIDAN GILLEN

(in helicopter)

Curses, they’ve managed to go from the skyscraper to the LEFT of my helicopter, all the way over to the skyscraper to the RIGHT of my helicopter! Now we’ll NEVER catch them!

But unfortunately ROSA and DYLAN have been separated from the OTHERS, and are stuck in the FIRST, EXPLODING SKYSCRAPER.

ROSA SALAZAR

Shit! We’ll have to escape to some kind of sewer system, which is full of zombies which are at a more advanced stage of infection. They can’t see, are covered in this gross plant growth, make creepy clicking sounds, and if the clickers from The Last of Us wore party hats and played banjos you can bet we would have made sure to swipe that too.

They get chased by ZOMBIES through a bunch of SEWER TUNNELS, then they run through a few doors and are suddenly halfway up a SIDEWAYS SKYSCRAPER somehow? ROSA slips and lands on a SIDEWAYS WINDOW, suspended above a HUGE DROP, and the window begins to CRACK.

DYLAN O’BRIEN

Rosa, don’t move! This is just like that really tense scene from The Lost World: Jurassic Park, where even the slightest movement could cause the glass to give way underneath you, sending you-

A ZOMBIE barges into the room and PLUMMETS into the GLASS like a sack of CONCRETE, and the window remains INTACT.

DYLAN O’BRIEN

Okay, what the fucking FUCK?

(has to deliberately smash the window to get rid of the zombie, by whacking it hard with a chair)

Of course! The glass was precarious but not! I should have seen that coming!

Finally they make it safely out onto the street.

ROSA SALAZAR

But oh no, I’ve been bitten!

DYLAN O’BRIEN

Damnit, I already did the scene where somebody got bit, I don’t want to repeat myself. Hmm, with Alexander I was all emotional and distressed, so maybe I could keep it fresh this time by doing the opposite of that?

(voids self of all emotion, eyes go completely dead and blank)

rosa

ROSA SALAZAR

Nailed it!

EXT. WEIRD RAVE CLUB

DYLAN and ROSA arrive outside some kind of POST-APOCALYPTIC NIGHTCLUB run by ALAN TUDYK, who looks like he’s a month into a HEALTH REGIMEN designed by KEITH RICHARDS.

DYLAN O’BRIEN

Giancarlo said he would be coming here to get more info about The Right Hand from a guy he knows. You know anyone called Alan Tudyk?

ALAN TUDYK

(sleazy as fuck)

Nnnnno... but - ha ha ha - I can let you into my club to ask around if - heh heh HAAA ha ha - if you each drink some of this mysterious green liquid! HeheheheHAHAHAHAHAAA.

DYLAN O’BRIEN

All right, I guess.

(drinks liquid)

ALAN TUDYK

BWA HA HA HA HAAAA HAHAHA HAAAA!!!

DYLAN O’BRIEN

I’ve got a good feeling about this!

They head into the CLUB, slip into a DRUGGY HAZE and start GRINDING ON THE DANCE FLOOR.

ROSA SALAZAR

Dylan, maybe this is the roofie talking, but I think you should ditch your friends, forget about the evil scientists with their teenager-harvesting and memory-stealing and whatnot, and just hang in a bombed-out ruin with me, the chick you just met.

DYLAN O’BRIEN

I’d like to, Rosa, but in my heart it’s Kaya that I want. You just don’t have the bland listlessness I’m looking for in a girl.

(pause)

Plus, you know, you’re CURRENTLY ZOMBIE-BIT. Have we seriously forgotten about that?

Finally they both SUCCUMB TO THE DRUG. Next thing, DYLAN is waking up in a small room with ALAN and he’s tied to a chair.

DYLAN O’BRIEN

Fuck! This whole club was a dangerous trap-

ALAN IS, I mean. ALAN’S tied to a chair and DYLAN is fine.

DYLAN O’BRIEN

As I was saying: this whole club was a dangerous trap BUT NOT. Fucking nothing works right in this fucking movie.

GIANCARLO ESPOSITO

Hey there, Dylan. Good thing I rescued you before this whole drug-abduction scene could actually go anywhere. Must be nice to be the protagonist, huh? Here we are in a bleak YA apocalypse where most people get killed off if they so much as stand in the same place for too long, meanwhile you can guzzle down random beverages handed to you by cackling strangers and all that happens to you is you get to dance and make out with attractive women.

DYLAN O'BRIEN

Not gonna lie, it's pretty sweet.

EXT. MOUNTAINS

DYLAN and his FRIENDS and ROSA and GIANCARLO manage to meet up with THE RIGHT HAND, which is run by BARRY PEPPER and LILY TAYLOR.

DYLAN O’BRIEN

Guys, Rosa here has been zombie-bit and I demand that you not kill her because we’ve flip-flopped on the whole mercy kill issue AGAIN. Instead you need to help un-zombie-bite her.

BARRY PEPPER

What the fuck kind of insane request is that? What gives you the completely bonkers notion that we have the resources to treat an incurable disease? It’s like, imagine you’re some homeless person squatting under a bridge, when some stranger wanders up and demands you cure their cancer immediately. You’re an idiot.

LILY TAYLOR

Seriously! What did you think, you’d happen to stumble across a former bigwig from WCKD who went rogue and is now the only person in the world not working for them who has any idea how to suppress the virus?

(pause)

Oh wait, that’s me. DAMN you’re lucky.

LILY gets some blood from DYLAN, distils some kind of SERUM from it and makes ROSA all better.

LILY TAYLOR

(checks watch)

So I guess we've gotten far enough in to finally start filling in some of all that unexplained bullshit we've got lying around. WCKD want to harvest immune kids for this serum. They wiped your memory and shoved you in the maze as punishment for the time you grew a conscience and started working with the rebels, feeding me intel about things like where the mazes are, and other stuff that it seems like I as a former WCKD exec ought to have already known.

DYLAN O’BRIEN

So a single blood sample from an immune kid is enough to suppress the virus for several months? Why not just explain the situation and make periodic blood donations mandatory, to cut down on all the kidnap and murder?

LILY TAYLOR

I guess they get more serum from kids if they do that dangly-tube harvest thing. Although if they're after maximum possible serum, you'd think a system where half the kids are running for the hills and the other half are getting stomped to death in monster mazes would be considered less than ideal...

(sighs)

Look, we've got a couple more movies worth of exposition coming, maybe we can still flush out the remaining stupid somewhere down the line.

DYLAN goes to check on KAYA.

DYLAN O’BRIEN

Are you all right, Kaya? You almost look like you’re having a facial expression. Is that “troubled”? Is that what you’re trying to do?

KAYA SCODELARIO

Look, I've done something very very bad, but I need you to understand why. You don’t know what it’s like, being a totally useless character. Your lines a bunch of wishy-washy hints and teases carefully picked clean of actual exposition. Seeing that blink of momentary confusion on the audience’s face whenever you show up, because while you were offscreen they’d honestly forgotten you were a thing. I needed to do at least one thing that affected the plot in any way, to keep from going crazy! So I sold everybody out to WCKD. Sorrry.

WCKD HELICOPTERS appear on the horizon, bearing down on the CAMP!

DYLAN O’BRIEN

AW FUCK! How the hell did you even contact them?!

KAYA SCODELARIO

Um, I don’t know. Maybe we’re supposed to take it that I’ve been wearing some kind of tracker this whole time?

DYLAN O’BRIEN

But if that were the case, why did Aidan try and recapture us all back at Giancarlo’s place before we had a chance to lead them here? GAAH, I can’t decide which explanation makes less sense!

WCKD SOLDIERS descend and round up all the REBELS and IMMUNE KIDS. PATRICIA gets out of a HELICOPTER, having come along apparently just to be a SMUG FUCK about all this.

PATRICIA CLARKSON

Oh Dylan, I wish you could understand that this is for the greater good. We’re just looking out for humanity’s future.

DYLAN O’BRIEN

Come off it with the "not evil" crap, lady, you guys fucking named yourselves WCKD.

PATRICIA CLARKSON

To be fair, EVLBSTRDS was taken.

DYLAN O’BRIEN

Well anyhow, the important thing is I HAVE A BOMB AND I WILL BLOW US ALL TO SMITHEREENS IF YOU DON’T LEAVE NOW!

PATRICIA CLARKSON

Gee thanks, guards, for not checking this rebel for weapons when he suspiciously turned himself in and started approaching your leader. Fine, blow us up.

DYLAN O’BRIEN

Uh, okay... not really the response I was hoping for here, but I guess I kinda left myself without any options... I don’t suppose there’s anybody around who could conveniently-

GIANCARLO and ROSA appear and start opening fire! A big fight breaks out between the HEAVILY-ARMED MILITIA and the HALF-STARVED HILL PEOPLE, which illogically ends with the SOLDIERS fleeing! Oh but the bad guys kill LILY and manage to abduct, let’s say, LEE.

DYLAN O’BRIEN

Damnit! Oh well, we’ve got two whole movies left to fix all this. I say we go kill Patricia, and then presumably the entire rest of her army will give up and set everybody free or something!

BARRY PEPPER

Awright, we’re with you! Our entire rebel group will gladly go all in to help some teenager they just met fulfil his revenge fantasy! So what’s the plan?

DYLAN O’BRIEN

My plan is: one, stare meaningfully into the distance. Two, cut to the closing credits before I actually answer that question, so the audience doesn’t realize there’s no answer I could realistically give that doesn’t reveal how hotheaded and badly thought out this whole decision is. Thre

END.

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