"All right, who's the joker who took my favorite giant concrete slab?"


"All right, who's the joker who took my favorite giant concrete slab?"

THE MAZE RUNNER

The Abridged Script

FADE IN:

EXT. THE GLADE

A SKINNY TEEN is taken by an elevator up to an enclosed wooded area where there are a bunch of other teenagers standing around.

SKINNY TEEN

All right, let’s see if I can grab a bazooka before - hang on, where’s the Cornucopia? And why isn’t anybody killing each other? Is this one of those crazy rule-change years?

AML AMEEN

Calm down, I think you’ve gotten this movie confused with some other “teens dumped into messed-up survivalist game by evil adults” YA bullshit. Anyhow, welcome to The Glade! I’m Aml, and I... uh, actually, that’s all I got. I’m an amnesiac.

SKINNY TEEN

Pfft, amnesia, what a lame played-out character trait. Anyway, I’m... what the hell? “Skinny Teen”? Damn, I’ve got even more amnesia than you!

AML AMEEN

We all have amnesia here! It’s one of the many, many pieces of unexplained claptrap that’s been shoved into this movie’s ridiculous premise. Which we will now unveil to you over the course of about forty-five minutes of solid exposition. Say hello to my chief expositionologist, Thomas, who will fill you in when I’m not around, or whenever my voice starts to wear out.

THOMAS BRODIE-SANGSTER

So we’ve all been put here by some unknown people for some unknown reason. Each month they send up the elevator with some supplies and another resident gets added, like a reality show in reverse. They only ever send teenage boys for what we can only pray are perfectly wholesome reasons.

AML AMEEN

I was the first one here, which makes me leader according to the ancient rite of Finders Keepers. In fact our entire social structure seems to run on a Stonecutters-style seniority system, which I guess explains why one of our top leaders is a total jerkwad assface.

WILL POULTER

That’s me! In this movie I’m even more face-punchingly unlikeable than I was in Voyage of the Dawn Trea- well, no. No, I don’t think that’s possible.

THOMAS BRODIE-SANGSTER

Now, see those giant doors? They lead to a maze that you must NEVER EVER ENTER, for reasons we could easily explain but won’t in order to create a superficial sense of intrigue.

Some BOYS run out of the MAZE, the doors closing behind them as the sun goes down.

DYLAN O’BRIEN

Okay, why are THEY allowed in the - oh look, my name is Dylan, I just randomly remembered. Is there any reason why I couldn’t have remembered that right away?

AML AMEEN

Those guys are allowed into the maze because they’re Runners, specially selected people who go map the maze and look for a way out of here. In addition to Runners, here we have Builders, Slicers, Hufflepuff, Amity - if I’m running through these a bit too quick for you, don’t worry, for all intents and purposes there are only two: Runners and Not Runners.

As night falls, the MAZE starts emitting lots of LOUD MECHANICAL GRINDING NOISES as well as a bunch of ANIMALISTIC ROARS.

DYLAN O’BRIEN

What the hell is that?

THOMAS BRODIE-SANGSTER

The grinding is the maze rearranging itself. It does that every night, which makes the whole mapping thing pretty fucking pointless. The roars are the giant beasts that come out at night, which we call grievers.

DYLAN O’BRIEN

“Grievers”? So named because of their terrifying habit of feeling sad about people who have died?

THOMAS BRODIE-SANGSTER

It sounds sinister, all right?

DYLAN O’BRIEN

So, wait. Why do you only pick the bravest and most skilled people to search the maze for a way out, if they only go in during the daytime when it’s just a bunch of big empty corridors with no dangers anywhere?

AML AMEEN

Man, you sure do ask a lot of questions! You’re different, Dylan. You’re curious.

DYLAN O’BRIEN

Huh? I’m sorry, are you telling me that asking questions is a rare trait here in the land of freakishly bizarre and unexplained phenomena? I’m like the first person to look at your amnesiac prison and monster maze and ask “What the fuck”? Jesus, what’s wrong with you people?

INT. DREAM LAB

DYLAN has a FLASHBACK DREAM set in some LAB where everything is BLUE.

PATRICIA CLARKSON

Everything’s going to change, Dylan. WCKD is good. Elephant pants, swimming beans, obscure images and phrases.

DYLAN O’BRIEN

You’re being suspiciously chummy with me in this flashback, sinister science lady. We’re not going to be doing that hackneyed old Wolverine/Jason Bourne/Doug Quaid “You volunteered” amnesia twist, are we?

PATRICIA CLARKSON

Oops, looks like our images and phrases weren’t quite obscure enough! Oh well, what do I care, I’m just happy to be the biggest star in a movie for once. I mean, who else you got, the Love Actually kid? Psshhh.

EXT. THE GLADE

The next day, RUNNER CHRIS SHEFFIELD comes out of the maze and rabidly tries to MURDER DYLAN.

CHRIS SHEFFIELD

GLLUURRGL RARRRNN, THIS IS ALL YOUR FAULT DYLAN, BRARRGH YOU DID THIS TO US AAARRRRAAARRRRARRR

DYLAN O’BRIEN

We just can’t stop spoiling our own plot twist, can we?

AML AMEEN

Oh no, he got stung by a griever, and has come down with the related zombie-ish infection which restores his memories but leaves him too mindlessly aggressive to express them beyond tantalizing sound bites!

THOMAS BRODIE-SANGSTER

Grievers attacking during the daytime? What madness is this?!

DYLAN O’BRIEN

Uh, if griever attacks have until now only happened at night, and nobody’s ever come out alive after a night in the maze, how the hell do you even know what the symptoms of a griever sting are?

AML AMEEN

Can it, curiosity boy, we need to deal with Chris. He’s only going to get more aggressive and dangerous, so we’re going to have to do the humane thing.

DYLAN O’BRIEN

Oh no. What are you going to do, smother him? Drown him?

AML AMEEN

This:

They GANG UP and BUNT CHRIS INTO THE MAZE WITH SHUFFLEBOARD CUES, leaving him to be HUNTED AND TORN APART BY MONSTERS.

DYLAN O’BRIEN

WHAT THE FUCK.

THOMAS BRODIE-SANGSTER

Hey, we need to do whatever we can if we want to take the record for All-Time Grimmest YA Movie. At this point we’re just barely scraping ahead of Ender’s Game.

AML AMEEN

If grievers are getting into the maze during the day, then the maze is getting more unpredictable and dangerous! Let’s send in a runner to investigate, as well as, hmmm, who’s the most important, least expendable guy we have? Oh, that’s me. Bye everyone!

AML goes into the maze with RUNNER KI HONG LEE. By the time NIGHTFALL is just about to happen they still haven’t returned, but then LEE is spotted, dragging a stung and unconscious AML, about fifty feet from the DOORS as they start to close!

WILL POULTER

Nobody go help them! We can’t risk any of you being in stuck in there overnight, when there are grievers around! So instead we’ll positively ensure that our leader is stuck in there overnight, when there are grievers around.

DYLAN O’BRIEN

Screw your rules! I won’t let Aml die, and if I’m going to defy you I should do it now, while the chances of getting Aml and Lee out of there are actually pretty damn good.

(doors keep closing)

Well, if I didn’t go then, I should surely go NOW, before ANY more time elapses, while there’s still at least a SLIM chance of getting them out of there.

(doors keep closing)

Or I could storm in at the last second when I’ll definitely do nothing but trap myself. CHARGE!

DYLAN runs into the MAZE and the doors close behind him.

DYLAN O’BRIEN

Quick, Lee! Let’s stash Aml somewhere safe so we can bring him back with us in the morning. Then hopefully we’ll come up with a cure for the infection within the subsequent day or so, so we don’t have to shuffleboard him to death.

KI HONG LEE

All right. This scene will still be able to be taken seriously if we dangle Aml from a hedge like a pinata, right?

They MANAGE THIS but then along comes a GRIEVER, which turns out to be a SNOT MONSTER with MECCANO LEGS! LEE runs off.

DYLAN O’BRIEN

Ulp! Nobody has ever survived an encounter with one of these things, what am I going to do? Hmmm, I wonder if anybody has ever tried... HIDING???

He HIDES. This WORKS.

DYLAN O’BRIEN

Oh. Well, that’s a bit anticlimactic. Why don’t I instead try... RUNNING!!!

He COMES OUT OF HIS HIDING PLACE and starts frantically SPRINTING AWAY from the GRIEVER! Eventually the maze starts REARRANGING ITSELF and the GRIEVER chases DYLAN down a CLOSING CORRIDOR and gets SQUASHED.

KI HONG LEE

Holy shit you did it! You luckily stumbled into a situation where the griever would die if it did something amazingly stupid, and then it did! You saved us!

DYLAN O’BRIEN

Well, we’ve only been in the maze for like twenty minutes, I’m sure there’s a lot more we have to deal with tonight-

It is MORNING and they STROLL OUT OF THE MAZE.

DYLAN O’BRIEN

Well that was a letdown.

KI HONG LEE

Now that we’ve gotten Aml safely back, we should go back into the maze and check out that griever corpse.

DYLAN O’BRIEN

Won’t that be dangerous, though? I mean, grievers come out during the daytime now, don’t they?

KI HONG LEE

Not this time, arbitrarily. Although there is still the chance of running into David Bowie in disturbingly revealing tights, so keep an eye out.

INT. MAZE

DYLAN and LEE find a BIG BEEPING IMPLANT stuck in the GRIEVER’S SMASHED SKULL.

KI HONG LEE

Look, there’s a glowing seven on the implant! And this is a griever from a section of the maze with a giant seven written on the wall. Maybe we can use this seven implant to open a door out of sector seven!

DYLAN O’BRIEN

So we’re in a bunch of samey corridors, and after killing a monster it dropped an item that is clearly number-matched to a particular locked door. The fuck is this, a video game from 1993?

They go to sector seven and indeed the implant triggers a door to open. But there’s a second locked door which scans them, then goes berserk and starts closing the entire section down, forcing DYLAN and LEE to SPRINT THE FUCK OUT OF THERE!

KI HONG LEE

Okay, we’ve discovered the way out! Assuming next time we get through that second locked door somehow instead of nearly getting crushed by a whole bunch of closing walls. And there isn’t a third locked door behind that. And, indeed, that those doors even lead out and not to some kind of fire pit or something, which wouldn’t be out of the question knowing this place.

DYLAN O’BRIEN

This is still sadly the best plan we’ve got.

EXT. THE GLADE

Back at the camp, all of the sudden the ELEVATOR comes back up! And holy shit, there’s a girl in there!

KAYA SCOLEDARIO

Unlike the rest of you, I remember my name immediately! And nothing else about myself. And Dylan, I know who you are! You’re some guy called Dylan. That’s all I have.

DYLAN O’BRIEN

What intriguing yet functionally useless information!

KAYA SCOLEDARIO

Hey look, they sent me up with a note saying the elevator won’t be coming up any more. And two vials of some kind of liquid.

(pause)

And that’s literally the entirety of my usefulness. They might as well have just wrapped the note around the vials and left me out of it.

(does fuck all for remainder of movie)

DYLAN O’BRIEN

Hey, what if the liquid cures griever fever? That bit of baseless conjecture is an excellent reason to go pump our leader full of some mystery chemical!

They go inject one of the VIALS into AML, who then RECOVERS.

AML AMEEN

Now I’m coherent while still having the memory-restoring effects of the infection! Prepare for some actual plot revelations, finally! Dylan, you’re-

GRIEVERS pour out of the MAZE and grab AML and a bunch of FACELESS EXTRAS! Everyone RUNS and SCREAMS and all the BUILDINGS go up in FLAMES!

DYLAN O’BRIEN

Oh no, Aml’s been picked up and carried off, what a satisfyingly unambiguous death! Our grimness rating has now snuck past Divergent!

WILL POULTER

I blame you for this, Dylan! Everything’s gone progressively worse since you showed up and started breaking all our carefully-formulated rules, not to mention the many strong hints that you and Kaya actually work with the people who trapped us here!

(pause)

You know, it’s a good thing I’ve been such an asshole generally. Otherwise the audience might realize that I’m actually making a whole lot of sense right now.

BLAKE COOPER

You lay off Dylan! As the youngest, most vulnerable and innocent resident of The Glade, I hero-worship him. He promised me he’d help me get out of here and find my parents and - hey, what’s this giant bullseye on my chest? That’s weird.

DYLAN O’BRIEN

Quiet, all of you! I managed to get a stinger off one of the grievers. If getting stung then cured is the only way to retrieve our memories, then that’s what we’ll do.

KI HONG LEE

Woah, dude, we have exactly one vial of that cure, you can’t seriously be wasting it on-

DYLAN INFECTS HIMSELF, goes CRAZY, and gets CURED.

KI HONG LEE

Ugh, fine. You better have remembered some really useful, mind-blowing stuff just now.

DYLAN O’BRIEN

I remember everything! Scientists put us here... for tests... and Kaya and I work with the scientists!!!

(pause)

That’s it. That’s everything I remembered.

KI HONG LEE

Oh FUCK YOU! The audience already had EVERY SINGLE BIT OF THAT figured out AGES ago! What a total waste of everyone’s time!

DYLAN O’BRIEN

Oh well, if we’re not getting any information that’s actually useful we might as well just take everybody to try that scanny door in the maze again.

WILL POULTER

Well, me and my faction of more savage boys respectfully propose the alternate plan of ritually sacrificing you and Kaya to the grievers! KILL THE BEAST! CUT HIS THROAT! SPILL HIS BLOOD!

DYLAN O’BRIEN

Dude, what the hell are you doing? I specifically said we were going to be ripping off contemporary “dystopian future” YA fiction! Did you even read the memo?

DYLAN’S GANG gets away from WILL’S GANG and heads into the MAZE. They reach that SAME LOCKED DOOR which, instead of doing the SCANNY THING, this time just asks for a CODE.

KI HONG LEE

(fighting off grievers)

An eight-digit code? It must be the order in which the eight sections of the maze routinely open! Type in 63817524! Or 38175246! Or 81752463! Maybe it’s 17524638. I mean, since it’s an endless cycle we have no way of knowing which number’s supposed to come first. 75246381? Or it could be 524-

DYLAN O’BRIEN

Dude, it opened on your first guess. Just come on already.

INT. NON-DREAM LAB

They head through the DOOR and find themselves in DYLAN’S FLASHBACK LAB, only everybody’s been SHOT DEAD. DYLAN finds and activates an EXPOSITION VIDEO.

PATRICIA CLARKSON

(on video)

Congratulations! You’ve finally earned a bunch of answers, in the form of some lady staring out of a screen and saying them at you. Satisfying, yes? Anyway, here goes:

(deep breath)

The sun has gotten real big and real hot and has cooked the surface of the earth, although clearly it doesn’t affect your maze for whatever reason. This sunpocalypse somehow caused that zombie-ish disease, but then your generation was born and could survive the disease, although in your experience no you can’t, so we stuck you in the maze because watching you guys try to break out of a monster maze helps us study the disease in some inexplicable way, although why the hell are we even doing that when we have a cure already, and why do we only use teenage boys, and uh...

(frowns)

Okay, fuck it, we might as well commit to doing nothing except raise further questions. Oh no, machine-gun-wielding rebels are killing us now! WCKD is good! Axolotl postman!

(shoots self)

DYLAN O’BRIEN

So yeah, we’ve finally escaped the maze only to discover that the world outside is a post-apocalyptic wasteland. How are our grim levels now?

THOMAS BRODIE-SANGSTER

Hmm, looks like we’re still like two or three grim points shy of The Hunger Games.

DYLAN O’BRIEN

Well that won’t do. Quick, some random extra miserable thing happen!

WILL POULTER

(appearing)

Hey guys, despite my whole thing about not going into the maze, I tracked you through the maze. Now I’m infected and crazy!

(tries to kill Dylan)

(kills Blake instead)

(gets speared to death)

DYLAN O’BRIEN

And that should about do it!

Suddenly the MACHINE-GUN-WIELDING REBELS turn up again.

REBEL

Sorry, guys, last time we burst in here to rescue you we accidentally forgot the whole “rescuing you” part. Let’s do that now!

They take the KIDS out into a HELICOPTER, and then fly it into a DESERT CITYSCAPE full of SKYSCRAPERS half-buried by a SANDSTORM.

DYLAN O’BRIEN

Oh shit, they’re taking us into Spec Ops: The Line! Too grim! TOO GRIM! ABORT!

Meanwhile back in the lab, PATRICIA and all the SCIENTISTS pop up alive and well!

PATRICIA CLARKSON

That’s right, we were faking the whole time! And the kids are still being tested somehow! And now nothing has been properly resolved and nobody in the audience has a fucking clue what the hell is going on! BWA HA HA HA HAAA!

DAMON LINDELOF

(whistles appreciatively)

Not bad, guys. Not bad at all.

END.


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