dexter darden (maze runner - scorch trials)

Dexter Darden (Frypan in ‘Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials’

*Movie fans looking for something new in the next chapter of the “Maze Runner” saga will get that and a deeper understanding of what Thomas, Frypan and the rest of the crew are facing as they embark on a new adventure in “Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials.”

For Dexter Darden, the action thriller was a chance to hang out with his co-stars as well as do more stunts, one of which he proudly claims more than others. The actor, who plays Frypan, points out that everyone went all in to follow their performance in the first “Maze Runner” film with a personal commitment to deliver their best work, no matter what was required.

“The sand dune running, running up that sand dune,” Darden points out while shooting down any notion of him and his cast mates using a digital substitute for the physically demanding film. “That’s really us. That’s not CGI. That’s not special effects. That’s not stunt doubles. That’s really us running up those sand dunes.”

Picking up right after the events of “The Maze Runner,” “The Scorch Trials” finds Thomas (Dylan O’Brien), Frypan and their fellow Gladers taking in a different world outside the maze they escaped as they journey to the Scorch, a desolate landscape filled with unimaginable obstacles while searching for clues about the mysterious and powerful organization known as WCKD. Along the way, the Gladers encounter and team up with resistance fighters as they unite to take on WCKD’s vastly superior forces and uncover the organization’s shocking plans for them all.

In addition to Darden and O’Brien, “The Scorch Trials” features the return of Kaya Scodelario as Teresa, Ki Hong Lee as Minho, Thomas Brodie-Sangster as Newt and Patricia Clarkson as Ava Paige, the person in charge of WCKD. Newcomers to the franchise include Giancarlo Esposito as Jorge, the leader of a group of survivors and  resistance fighters, Rosa Salazar as Brenda, one of Jorge’s faithful fighters and Jacob Lofland as Aris, a loner who helps the Gladers in their quest to find the Scorch.

dylan obrien (maze runner - scorch trials)

Dylan O’Brien (‘Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials’)

For O’Brien, the weight of leadership on Thomas is constantly present as his character deals spearheading the fight with WCKD as well as questioning if he did the right thing with convincing his friends to go into the Scorch.

“He’s a struggling leader at this point, in that he’s still trying to lead and he doesn’t want to show anyone what’s really going on with him really, the “Teen Wolf” star explained about Thomas. “I think he’s full of doubt at this point and regrets almost… everything is on his shoulders in his mind. This is all on his shoulders. He made that choice and now the fact that he could’ve lead them wrong. It kills him. But he still has to lead. So its like he still has to be strong. And that’s just a difficult conflict inside of him. That’s just how I think of it.”

Although their characters go into uncharted territory, the cast was grateful to have director Wes Ball on board again to helm “The Scorch Trials.” Ball’s ability to plug into the cast with building a respectful relationship and taking time out to get to know them is a great asset, according to Darden and O’Brien.

“The cool thing about Wes is because he’s so good with special effects, everybody thinks he’s great with just the big moments. But he’s also great with those little small intimate moments that kind of mean a lot to us as actors and cast mates,” Darden shared while recalling a “really small and really intimate” pep talk Ball had given him that “meant a lot to me just as an actor and so just as a person too, just for him to be able to get down to my level and relate with me.”

“I think what’s cool is he knows, especially getting an opportunity to do a second movie with him, he knows how we individually work as actors,” added Scodelario.” ”He knows how to approach us, he knows what our strengths are. He knows which ones prefer having the first shot or the last shot and that’s so invaluable to have a director that just knows you.”

“Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials” arrives in theaters starting today,  Friday (Sept. 18).