Director Wes Ball is back into preproduction on Maze Runner: The Death Cure. He’s reportedly visiting locations in South Africa this week in preparation for the third movie in the series. Ball says work on The Death Cure will resume in March. If the date holds, actors will return almost a year after filming shut down due to a life-threatening accident on set.
Ball announced the planned start date on Twitter on Friday.
First week back in the scorch. 8 weeks till we shoot! ???? pic.twitter.com/3ncrB7MeKY
— Wes Ball (@wesball) January 13, 2017
The “scorch” is the post-apocalyptic world of the James Dashner novels on which the movie series is based. It featured heavily in The Scorch Trials which filmed in New Mexico in 2014. Originally, filmmakers picked Canada to double for the scorch in The Death Cure but things did not go as planned.
Long Delay for Death Cure
Production on The Death Cure halted on March 17, 2015, when Dylan O’Brien suffered severe injuries after a stunt went wrong while filming in British Columbia. He was dragged from one moving vehicle and under the wheels of another. Canadian workplace regulators found that the production was negligent, did not follow safety protocols, and production pushed the actor into the stunt without a proper rehearsal.
O’Brien spent five months recovering. He appeared in public for the first time after the accident in July at a Sherman Oaks, California Jamba Juice. In September, he returned to work on the new film American Assassin. O’Brien returned to his television show, Teen Wolf, in December to finish work on the first half of season six.
A senior film industry source in Canada, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the Globe and Mail that The Death Cure will not return to Vancouver. Instead, filming will resume in South Africa. The change in locale is apparently a matter of climate as the southern hemisphere heads into autumn in March.
While the climate isn’t a close approximation of the Canadian spring they originally wanted, it should be a temperate enough replacement. With large studios and sound stages now running in South Africa, the burgeoning film industry there can easily handle the large-scale production.
Initially, the film, the third in The Maze Runner series, would’ve hit theaters next month. The current release date is January 2018.