Where Is 'The Maze Runner' Set?

Image via Wallpaper Cave

Don't pigeonhole "The Maze Runner" into dystopian novels.

While the books recall "The Hunger Games" or "Divergent," author James Dashner sees his work as more like post-apocalyptic tales in the vein of "Mad Max" than heavyweights in the genre. "I was just very fortunate that it came out while these books were becoming very popular," he told Sweety High.

But the elements of you-and-me-against-totalitarianism are still there, especially in the first book of the series. The 2009 novel and the 2014 adaptation by 20th Century Studios revolve around The Maze, a result of the doomsday events explained away in later instalments of the series. At its very center is the Glade, an enormous clearing where an all-male group of inhabitants, the Gladers, make home in four distinct areas: the Gardens, the Blood House, the Homestead, and the Deadheads.

In the movie, the Maze is on the surface. But in the novels, the Maze lies in Alaska, underneath the headquarters of WICKED (stylized WCKD in the movies). It never rains on the subterranean Maze, of course; the sky is simply a projection on the ceiling.

Alaska eluded the most devastating effects of the apocalyptic events that ravaged the planet in 'The Maze Runner'

So just how big is the Glade in The Maze Runner? Thomas, the hero of the story, likens it to several football fields in length. In real life, the clearing was just an eight-acre, snake-infested movie set in Thompson Farm in Louisiana. 

Scene from the 20th Century Studios movie 'The Maze Runner'

The labyrinths of the Maze itself were filmed at a 160-foot by 80-foot stage at a former Sam’s Club store in Baton Rouge. This stage was very modular, allowing production designer Marc Fisichella to rearrange its 16-foot-high walls as needed in the scene, with strategic placements of vines and other plants to diversify the background. With Hollywood magic, the walls grow to 100 feet in height. 

The same SFX were used on the Glade, where 20-foot-high, 7,000-pound doors, which would open and close on cue, stood in for the 100-foot-tall gates seen in the movie. 

Dashner cited Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining" as inspiration for the Maze. "I was way too young to see that movie and it freaked me out, and since then I've always been a little scared of mazes," he said.  

Now that's how you start writing with Flare.


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