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During the madness of Comic-Con, Hypable sat down with author James Dashner to get his thoughts on the upcoming Maze Runner movie adaptation.

Surprisingly, The Maze Runner did not have a panel inside Comic-Con, but it was present at Nerd HQ. Along with Dashner, star Dylan O’Brien, producer Wyck Godfrey, and director Wes Ball were all in attendance to discuss the upcoming blockbuster.

A film adaptation can often make or break a book series. James Dashner has been closely monitoring the process of adapting his bestselling novel The Maze Runner, so we checked in with him to see how he thinks it is all going. Dashner is also a huge movie fan, and has plenty of ideas about what makes a good adaptation.

Hypable: How did you feel when you found out ‘The Maze Runner’ film was finally going ahead?

James Dashner: It was part ecstatic and part relief. About three years ago, we got really close. We had a director, a screenplay, but it all kind of fell apart – which happens in Hollywood a lot. I was much more level-headed when it started happening again.

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During the madness of Comic-Con, Hypable sat down with author James Dashner to get his thoughts on the upcoming Maze Runner movie adaptation.

Surprisingly, The Maze Runner did not have a panel inside Comic-Con, but it was present at Nerd HQ. Along with Dashner, star Dylan O’Brien, producer Wyck Godfrey, and director Wes Ball were all in attendance to discuss the upcoming blockbuster.

A film adaptation can often make or break a book series. James Dashner has been closely monitoring the process of adapting his bestselling novel The Maze Runner, so we checked in with him to see how he thinks it is all going. Dashner is also a huge movie fan, and has plenty of ideas about what makes a good adaptation.

Hypable: How did you feel when you found out ‘The Maze Runner’ film was finally going ahead?

James Dashner: It was part ecstatic and part relief. About three years ago, we got really close. We had a director, a screenplay, but it all kind of fell apart – which happens in Hollywood a lot. I was much more level-headed when it started happening again.

I tempered my expectations, but when the ball really got rolling, I knew that was happening when all the producers had a conference call with me. Then Wes Ball, the director, called me, and I was like “Okay, it’s happening.” Since then, I have been on Cloud 9.

Did you visit the set during filming?

I went before the actors arrived and got a tour of the set, and then I went the last week of shooting and met the whole cast and saw a couple of days of filming.

It was amazing. Anyone who knows me knows I am a huge movie fan, so just to be on a movie set was incredible, and of course the fact that it’s my book. It’s ridiculous, I can’t even wrap my mind around it.

How did it feel to see the characters that you wrote standing there in real life?

There’s so much relief with it. I don’t know how I would have reacted if I have disagreed with all the choices, or if they were butchering my book or my vision. I agree and support everything about this film.

I love the casting, I love the script, I love Wes’ vision for it. The tone and the spirit of the movie, it’s almost too good to be true. I am extremely satisfied and happy about it.

Were you involved in the casting process?

A little. From the get go, it was a cool relationship. They wanted me involved, they were very good about reaching out to me. By the same token, I understand that that’s not my expertise. So it worked out perfectly – I was involved, and I felt involved, but I never tried to be heavy-handed or enforce anything.

I was involved, but on a small scale. Wes has been really awesome about staying in touch, asking me questions, asking for my feedback. I think he has taken a lot of that feedback when it worked for him.

Was there any casting that was not how you had pictured the character?

maze runner movie teresaYeah. It’s all about matching the spirit of it. Frypan was not how I literally envisioned him, but everyone else pretty much was.

When I think of Minho, and Thomas, and Alby – and especially Chuck. Chuck is like he literally stepped out of the pages of the book, it’s almost eerie.

And with Teresa, I was really surprised. I don’t really describe her in too much detail, the hair colour and maybe the eye colour, and then leave it up to the reader’s imagination, but somehow, I saw her and thought “That’s Teresa.”

You’re a huge movie fan, and there are a lot of adaptations around at the moment. What do you think is the most important factor in making a successful adaptation?

I think to be careful of trying to be literal. A great example is the Harry Potter movies. I am a huge Harry Potter fan, I love the books. The first two movies, I felt were very literal to the book. It was like going through a checklist while I watched the movies, and it bored me to tears.

Then with the third movie, they thought “Well we can’t do that anymore, the books are getting huge,” so instead of trying to be literal they tried to transform the book into a cinematic experience.

It is what Peter Jackson did with The Lord of the Rings, and I think that is the key, to stay away from literal translation, and more about capturing the vision and spirit of the plot and characters.

Do you have a favourite adaptation?

I would have to say Lord of the Rings. I consider them all one movie, and that is my favourite movie.

So they are something to aspire to as they make The Maze Runner trilogy?

Yeah! They’re not going to be as big, and epic, and grand as Lord of the Rings, but if they can follow that pattern of staying true to the spirit, I will be ecstatic.

‘Lord of the Rings’ was an adaptation where a lot of things were changed quite drastically. Can ‘The Maze Runner’ fans expect similar changes in the film adaptation?

maze runner movie thomasThere are changes, and they all make sense. I will spend the next seven months soothing my fans, preparing them. For example, the telepathy between Thomas and Teresa would just not work in the movie. Telepathy never works, it just looks cheesy and stupid.

It works great in the book, it’s a cool way for them to be connected, but that is not in the film. But Wes Ball is a genius, and the way he creates that connection in a different way is very cool.

And small things, like WICKED is just WCKD, and of course there are a lot of fans that went nuts. But it means the exact same thing, it’s pronounced the exact same way, it just looks cooler visually than spelling out the word.

Do you feel any extra pressure because of the level of dedication from your fans?

I feel my own personal extreme pressure. I desperately want the first movie to succeed so they can make the other two, and make the prequel, who knows. I know I can’t take it upon myself for the movie to perform, but I feel it. I am going to fight my hardest.

Look out for part 2 of our interview with James Dashner, in which he discusses the possibility of more ‘Maze Runner’ books, his new series ‘Eye of Minds’, and more.

Legion M president Jeff Annison introduces the first fan-owned entertainment company

"Opening the gates to Hollywood" with fandom-powered entertainment production.

2:12 pm EDT, August 24, 2016

Hypable speaks to co-founder Jeff Annison about Legion M’s goals, fan engagement, and potential impact on the entertainment industry.

An exciting new project launched over the summer: Legion M, the world’s first fan-owned entertainment company.

At San Diego Comic-Con, Hype Podcast sat down with co-founder and company president Jeff Annison, in order to learn more about the ambitious startup that promises to give fans more creative control of entertainment production.

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Hypable speaks to co-founder Jeff Annison about Legion M’s goals, fan engagement, and potential impact on the entertainment industry.

An exciting new project launched over the summer: Legion M, the world’s first fan-owned entertainment company.

At San Diego Comic-Con, Hype Podcast sat down with co-founder and company president Jeff Annison, in order to learn more about the ambitious startup that promises to give fans more creative control of entertainment production.

The full interview is available to download here or via iTunes, or you can stream it below:

In the interview, Annison explains the mission of Legion M, which is to bring fans directly into the production process. Says Annison, “For the first time in history, we are architected to be built from the ground up to be owned by fans.”

With a ‘Legion’ of fan investors behind them, Annison believes that Legion M’s approach to selecting and developing projects will be very different from anything else we’ve seen in Hollywood.

Where usually creators will struggle to make their content stand out from the crowd, “bringing the audience into the process [of creating entertainment], we’ve already got a built-in audience,” Annison explains. “If you can have the audience of content be invested in content, it gives that content a competitive advantage.”

One of the key ways in which Legion M hopes to influence the creative industry is by opening the door for more diverse projects.

As Hollywood is so revenue-driven, oftentimes the ‘risk’ of letting a movie’s lead character be a woman, a person of color and/or a member of the LGBT community is simply considered too great. But Legion M, being owned by fans, has the opportunity to tip the scales. Because if the investors want more diversity and new kinds of stories, that’s exactly what they’re going to get.

“The reason that there are so many superhero movies and reboots and remakes… Hollywood’s figured out the formula. You pick something with an established fanbase, and if you make the movie you know it’s less risky because you know those people are gonna come see the next Superman movie,” says Annison. “Whereas if it’s an unknown story, you just don’t know. So we believe when you make the audience part of the process, these fans that are part of our studio … if you’ve got an audience that’s baked into it, that gives you so much more creative leeway.”

In practice, this means that Legion M, “could come up with a completely new and novel story that’s never been tried before, and know that it’s gonna have some success” — which means that it’d actually get produced, unlike many original ideas that come to Hollywood to die.

Further, fan owners of Legion M can experience unprecedented involvement with the creative process. Not only are they involved with selecting and developing projects, but, “our promise to our investors is that we’re gonna take you along for the ride. When we film a movie, we wanna live-stream from the set. When we have project opportunities, we wanna put them in front of you. We give the Legion a voice.”

To start with, Legion M is partnering with Seth Green and Matthew Senreich’s Stoopid Buddy Stoodios, which created Robot Chicken. Annison explains that they still have “dozens” of projects that networks have rejected, and Legion M is working on bringing some of them to life.

In terms of representation, Legion M doesn’t necessarily want to commit to a quota of diversity. Instead, where they expect to be able to influence Hollywood is at the “table” where these decisions are made — and, “because we’re owned by such a broad, diverse group of people, we’ve got a better shot than anybody else at being able to affect that change.”

As Annison explains: “Fans have the ultimate power. Our money is what makes this whole thing spin around. When we combine and come together, we’ve got all the power.”

Read more about Legion M and how to get involved on their website.

As we approach the Captain America: Civil War Blu-Ray release date, a new deleted scene from the film has been released.

And it’s a Civil War deleted scene that is sure to please Stucky fans.

In the clip, Bucky quickly comes to the defense of bae (a.k.a. Cap) when War Machine briefly takes him down. Bucky gets back at Rhodey by throwing Cap’s iconic shield at him, and as the shield boomerangs back, Steve Rogers catches it. Take THAT, War Machine! #TeamCap

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As we approach the Captain America: Civil War Blu-Ray release date, a new deleted scene from the film has been released.

And it’s a Civil War deleted scene that is sure to please Stucky fans.

In the clip, Bucky quickly comes to the defense of bae (a.k.a. Cap) when War Machine briefly takes him down. Bucky gets back at Rhodey by throwing Cap’s iconic shield at him, and as the shield boomerangs back, Steve Rogers catches it. Take THAT, War Machine! #TeamCap

Watch below:

The movie’s airport scene was easily one of the most delightful moments of the film, so we’re loving this extra dose of Stucky brilliance.

Need more? The Captain America Blu-ray, with a release date set for September 13, includes the following special features:

  1. United We Stand, Divided We Fall – The Making of Captain America: Civil War Part 1 & Part 2 – As the tension mounts, sides are chosen and lines drawn. Learn more about the characters on each side—from Captain America and Iron Man to the latest recruits. In this complete behind-the-scenes look at a landmark in the Marvel saga, we’ll examine their stories through exclusive footage and interviews and discover just what went into selecting the Super Hero teams, filming the epic action sequences and introducing Black Panther and Spider-Man to the MCU.
  2. Captain America: The Road to Civil War – Explore the First Avenger’s fascinating evolution from loyal soldier to seasoned, conflicted hero who questions authority.
  3. Iron Man: The Road to Civil War – From Gulmira to Sokovia, delve into the development and evolution of one of the most iconic characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
  4. Gag Reel – Break the tension of this high-stakes conflict with some hilarious outtakes featuring the lighter side of your favorite Super Heroes.
  5. Deleted & Extended Scenes – Check out never-before-seen footage that didn’t make the final cut of Captain America: Civil War.
  6. Audio Commentary – Directors Anthony and Joe Russo and screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely deliver scene-by-scene insight and explain the storytelling challenges they faced creating the third installment of the Captain America franchise.
  7. Open Your Mind: Marvel’s Doctor Strange – Exclusive Sneak Peek – Go behind and beyond the scenes as Doctor Strange makes his journey to the big screen.

The Digital HD version of Civil War will be released on September 2.

Director James Gunn confirms the name of a Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 creature with the release of some concept art from the film.

The Guardians of the Galaxy have been pretty busy lately while they gear up for Vol. 2. On Friday we learned that they’ll be showing up in Avengers: Infinity War, and tonight we got a sneak peek of a creature the team will be taking on in the GotG sequel.

Taking to Twitter, Gunn showed off a piece of concept art created by Andy Park.

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Director James Gunn confirms the name of a Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 creature with the release of some concept art from the film.

The Guardians of the Galaxy have been pretty busy lately while they gear up for Vol. 2. On Friday we learned that they’ll be showing up in Avengers: Infinity War, and tonight we got a sneak peek of a creature the team will be taking on in the GotG sequel.

Taking to Twitter, Gunn showed off a piece of concept art created by Andy Park.

guardians-of-the-galaxy-2-concept-art

In his replies, he names the creature and states that, no, they aren’t fighting in space.

Then taking to Facebook, Gunn replied to fans who had questions about the image.

An updated synopsis for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 reads:

“Set to the backdrop of ‘Awesome Mixtape #2,’ Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 continues the team’s adventures as they traverse the outer reaches of the cosmos. The Guardians must fight to keep their newfound family together as they unravel the mysteries of Peter Quill’s true parentage. Old foes become new allies and fan-favorite characters from the classic comics will come to our heroes’ aid as the Marvel cinematic universe continues to expand.”

So it looks like for those who were lucky enough to see GotG 2 footage at San Diego Comic-Con this year, you’ve already seen this guy in action.

‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ lands in theatres on May 5, 2017