24 Book to Movie Changes in ‘The Death Cure’ Movie (MOVIE SPOILERS)

It’s following in the footsteps of its predecessor.


Have you been paying attention, gladers?

Today we’re looking at ‘The Death Cure’ movie vs. the book. Like its predecessor, ‘The Death Cure’ movie is very different from the source material. And yet while we counted more changes in this movie than we did in ‘The Scorch Trials’, the very core of the book’s story is present. Still, it’s hard to ignore some of these differences! We counted 24 differences between the book and movie — how about you?

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Here are all the Death Cure movie differences!


1. That insane train opening.

In the Book: It’s not in the book at all. The book opens with Thomas as a prisoner of WICKED. He’s in solitary confinement for nearly a month before being reunited with the other gladers.

In the Movie: Thomas and his friends are on a mission to rescue Minho who is en route to the WCKD headquarters. They ultimately manage to steal away an entire boxcar of children from WCKD but fail to rescue Minho.

2. Basically everything Minho.

In the Book: Minho is with Thomas and his friends from the beginning. He was never taken by WICKED like he is at the end of ‘The Scorch Trials’ movie.

In the Movie: Rescuing Minho from WCKD is the story’s major plot point. Their infiltration into the city — and the purpose of breaking into WCKD — is to save Minho, who is being experimented on by WCKD doctors.

3. The memory surgery is absent.

In the Book: At the beginning of the book, Janson tells the gladers that they’ll be getting their memories back. Thomas, Newt and Minho are suspicious of the offer and at first refuse. They’re eventually forced to comply. When Thomas is being led into the memory surgery, Brenda appears and reveals that she had been working for WICKED but was plotting against them. She and Jorge break Thomas, Newt and Minho out before they receive the surgery.

In the Movie: This entire plot point is absent from the movie.

4. Janson doesn’t reveal who is and isn’t immune.

In the Book: Janson reveals from the beginning who is and isn’t immune. It’s here where Thomas learns that Newt isn’t immune to the Flare. Janson goes on to explain that WICKED placed individuals who weren’t immune in the Glade as control variables for their experiment.

In the Movie: This scene never takes place. However, Newt does realize that he isn’t immune about mid-way through the film — when he has the Flare. He shares his suspicion with Thomas that he must have been placed in the Glade as a control variable.

5. The Right Arm is around from the very beginning.

In the Book: The Right Arm is introduced almost midway through the story when they’re revealed to be kidnapping people immune to the Flare. It’s revealed that their actual plan is to use their kidnapped immunes as a way to sneak into the WICKED headquarters and ultimately bring the organization down.

In the Movie: The Right Arm is introduced in ‘The Scorch Trials’ movie and plays a major role in the final fight scene with WCKD. Thus, they’re present at the very beginning of ‘The Death Cure’ movie. In fact, Vince helps Thomas in his attempt to rescue Minho from the train. It’s also important to note that the Right Arm intends to sail a ship away to a safe place in the movie. The entire story of capturing immunes is absent from the film.

6. Mad Scientist Teresa.

In the Book: Teresa’s loyalty to WICKED is a hot point in the book — there’s no doubt about that. But in the beginning of The Death Cure, Thomas witnesses her escaping WICKED with a group of gladers. She and the other gladers make their way to Denver where they’re eventually captured by the Right Arm and later reunited with Thomas and his friends.

In the Movie: Teresa is mad scientist all the way! She’s actively using Minho to create a cure for the Flare. Her storyline from the book is thrown out the window.

7. Thomas, Newt and Frypan’s mission to rescue Minho alone.

In the Book: As explained above, Thomas and his friends escape WICKED with the help of Brenda and Jorge. From there, they head to Denver.

In the Movie: Thomas decides he’s going to go on a solo mission to rescue Minho. Newt and Frypan find out about Thomas leaving and decide to go with him. They soon get trapped by some cranks and are then rescued by Brenda and Jorge.

8. The cranks in the tunnel scene.

In the Book: There is a moment in the book where Thomas and his friends are attacked by a group of cranks while driving in a van with Lawrence on their way to meet the Right Arm. But this scene takes place much later in the book when they’re in Denver.

In the Movie: The scene where they’re being attacked in their car takes place in the tunnel at the beginning of the movie instead. Lawrence isn’t present at this point in the film.

9. “The city” is the only city left.

In the Book: Readers are led to believe that there are a number of cities still standing. The city that Thomas and his friends travel to is specifically identified as Denver, Colorado.

In the Movie: It’s said that there are next to no cities left. The city that Thomas travels to is never referred to by name.

10. There’s no Crank Palace.

In the Book: There’s an area where cranks have been quarantined in Denver. Newt is eventually taken here and Thomas and his friends go to find him. They fail to convince Newt to come with them and he’s left at the Crank Palace.

In the Movie: Crank Palace isn’t in the movie. Newt never leaves the core group.

11. Hans isn’t in the movie.

In the Book: One of the major reasons Thomas and his friends go to Denver is to meet up with a man named Hans. Hans used to work for WICKED and can take the tracking chips out of the gladers. He eventually does this, though after WICKED starts mind controlling Thomas who attacks everyone during the surgery.

In the Movie: Hans isn’t in the movie and the primary motivation for going to the city is to rescue Minho. Later on in the film, Teresa is the one to extract the tracking chips from Thomas and his friends. The mind control element is absent.

12. Gally’s not really working for the Right Arm.

In the Book: When arriving in Denver, Thomas receives a note stating that Gally would like to meet him. When they finally meet, it’s revealed that Gally is working with the Right Arm.

In the Movie: A group of masked men captures Thomas and his friends when they arrive outside the city. Gally is revealed to be one of these men. It’s also learned that he’s working with a rebel group of cranks rather than the Right Arm.

13. Lawrence has a heightened role in the movie.

In the Book: Lawrence takes Thomas to the Right Arm where he meets Vince. He later drops Thomas off at the WICKED headquarters as part of a plan to take them down.

In the Movie: Lawrence appears as the Voldemort-esque leader of a crank army. He eventually blows up the wall protecting the city, killing himself but allowing the cranks from the outside world to overcome the city and WCKD.

14. The break into WCKD headquarters is totally different.

In the Book: Thomas teams up with the Right Arm to break into WICKED headquarters. The plan is for Thomas to sneak a device into the headquarters that will disable everyone’s weapons, giving the Right Arm a fair advantage against the WICKED guards. The Right Arm storms the headquarters just as Thomas is about to be operated on by Janson and his crew.

In the Movie: Thomas and his friends kidnap Teresa (as she’s going home for the night… to her apartment?). They eventually break into the headquarters disguised as guards, using Teresa’s thumbprint as a key to get into high-security areas of the building. They rescue Minho and the children WCKD has captured.

15. That insane bus scene.

In the Book: It’s not in the book.

In the Movie: Holy shank! Brenda drives a bus of rescued children as part of a high-speed chase through the city. Just when she appears caught, Frypan pulls the bus into the air with a crane. It’s crazy.

16. Newt’s death is different.

In the Book: Thomas eventually spots Newt on the highway (this is sometime after having left him at the Crank Palace. They’re on their way to WICKED headquarters when they spot him). Newt’s gone full crank at this point but Thomas tries to convince him to go with them. Newt’s not having it and attacks Thomas, begging for death. Thomas finally agrees to do so. He shoots Newt in the head.

In the Movie: The Flare finally overcomes Newt as they escape from WCKD headquarters. Like in the book, Newt starts attacking Thomas. Meanwhile, Minho and Brenda are racing to get medication to Newt with the hopes of delaying the Flare’s effects. While fighting with Thomas, Newt takes out a knife and accidentally stabs himself during their scuffle. This happens right as Brenda arrives with the medication.

17. Everything Chancellor Page.

In the Book: Paige never appears in the books. That doesn’t mean she isn’t absent, however. She’s definitely present within the Maze Runner world. In fact she communicates with Thomas in The Death Cure via a note. This happens after he’s infiltrated WICKED headquarters and avoided Janson’s operation to extract his brain. Paige’s note says that she stopped the operation (apparently they didn’t actually need his brain or something) and instructs Thomas to save the kidnapped immunes.

In the Movie: Paige is very present throughout the film. She’s working with Janson and Teresa to find a cure at the headquarters. Thomas eventually meets with her, convinced that he is the key to the cure they’ve been looking for. But before he can go with her, Janson kills her and takes Thomas for himself.

18. They never go back to the Maze.

In the Book: Paige’s note to Thomas instructs him to go back to the Maze/Glade from Book 1. The kidnapped immunes are being held there and Thomas has an opportunity to lead them to a safe place where they’ll be free from violence forever. They need to get to a portal/transporter — “Flat Trans” — to get to the safe place. On their way, the Right Arm begins destroying everything.

In the Movie: It’s not in the movie. However, we do see a flashback to the Maze from Minho while Teresa and her evil doctor friends are experimenting on him.

19. Where did all the grievers go?

In the Book: A pack of grievers comes to life and attacks Thomas and the immunes as they try to escape the Maze. Thomas fights off the grievers but some of the immunes are killed during the attack.

In the Movie: Also not in the movie. But again, we see a griever in one of Minho’s forced nightmares.

20. Janson is killed by cranks.

In the Book: Just as Thomas and the immunes are about to escape through the Flat Trans, Janson and his cronies show up. Janson tries to stop Thomas, but Thomas ultimately kills Janson by strangling him to death.

In the Movie: Janson chases Thomas and Teresa into a room where cranks are being held and experimented on. This allows Thomas to shatter one of the glass doors protecting them from the cranks. The cranks are released and immediately attack and kill Janson.

21. Teresa’s death is different too.

In the Book: Teresa saves Thomas’s life, pushing him out of the way from falling debris. The debris crushes her instead. Thomas goes on to escape through the Flat Trans.

In the Movie: THOMAS AND TERESA KISS (for reals this time). They’re on the roof of the WCKD headquarters and Jorge flies the berg toward them. Teresa helps Thomas jump into the Berg, but the building collapses before she can be saved.

22. Nope to the Brenda kiss.

In the Book: After finally arriving in paradise, the story ends with Thomas and Brenda kissing. It’s implied that Brenda is keeping something from Thomas.

In the Movie: They make it to paradise — not through the flat trans — but the giant ship seen in the beginning of the movie. And Brenda and Thomas don’t kiss. Instead, they carve the names of the loved ones they lost into a stone.

23. Newt’s note is now a letter.

In the Book: Newt hands Thomas a note at the beginning of the book, shortly after learning he’s not immune to the Flare. He tells Thomas to read the note when the time is right. Thomas does so shortly after leaving Newt at the Crank Palace. Newt has asked Thomas to kill him in the note.

In the Movie: Newt gives Thomas a small capsule. Thomas opens the capsule at the end of the film and finds a two-page letter from Newt. It’s a lot nicer than the note Newt wrote him in the book. The letter essentially praises Thomas for being the good friend and leader he is and reflects on what they’ve been through, the people they’ve met and the things they’ve overcome since Thomas arrived in the Maze.

24. WCKD is not good.

In the Book: An epilogue written by Chancellor Paige reveals the final twist. Brenda and Jorge had been planted by WICKED after Paige realized that the attempt to find a cure wouldn’t succeed. Brenda and Jorge’s mission was to lead the remaining immunes to a safe and secure place — a place away from the cranks. This would allow the immunes to start civilzation anew while the rest of the world dies off. Paige also reveals that the government created the Flare virus as a method of population control. They weren’t able to control the virus, so WICKED stepped in with the goal of preserving the human race. With Brenda and Jorge leading the immunes to the safe paradise, they essentially succeed in their mission. This proves Paige’s point: WICKED is good.

In the Movie: It’s not in the movie. They make it to the safe paradise, but Paige’s memo proving that WCKD is good does not appear in the film.

Did you like these changes?
Did you notice any changes that we missed?
Discuss the movie in the comments!

Editor's Note: James Dashner, the author of the Maze Runner series, was dropped by his agent and publisher because of allegations of sexual misconduct made by several anonymous individuals. We feel it's important for our readers to be aware of these allegations. For more information on how Bookstacked covers alleged abusers in the publishing industry, please click here.
Saul Marquez founded Bookstacked in 2014 and serves as the site's Editor-in-Chief. He primarily covers news for Bookstacked. He also co-hosts Bookmarked: A YA Book Podcast.

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  • Hokunamatata • 6 years ago

    I really enjoyed the movies!!! HEAR ME OUT. I loved the books way more obviously but after watching the first maze runner I realized they were probably gonna just throw out the real story and make up a new one. Once I made peace with that fact I went and saw the next two movies completely open minded with no expectations. I literally had no idea what was happening or going to happen which kept me surprised and interested. Sure I’m bummed that one of my favorite book series wasn’t brought to the big screen but at least what we did get kept me guessing which I like in movies. Hate me if you want but I really enjoyed it!

    With that said, there’s only one thing that I REALLY hated and that was they ended up actually creating a cure. Real quick, shame on you saul marquez for not putting this on your list because it’s the most important change. The books justified thomas’ actions towards WICKED and Teresa because there wasn’t or ever going to be a cure to the flare. But since the movie created a cure it makes the Thomas the true villain in the story because it makes him selfish for not wanting to help everyone. Especially since they only needed his blood. When you think about it Teresa is actually the hero in the movies because she was right all along and Thomas was an asshole for not trusting her.

    Thanks for reading this if you did, I just watched the death cure and have a lot of feelings towards it.

    • J.J. Francesco • 6 years ago

      I disagree it makes Thomas a villain. I think it makes the story a lot more complex and morally interesting. Because there could be a cure, had WCKD actually tried to use Thomas without torturing him, they could’ve had the cure without all this bloodshed. Same with Theresa. To me, it is a better ending because it shows how all of this wasn’t necessary and that had their approach been different, they could’ve achieved their goals without all the death.

      • Jhawko • 3 years ago

        And Thomas did agree to make the cure once he realised that he was the key, but Janson abused that opportunity. And it is implied that Thomas may go out and save everybody anyway at the end of the movie (up to viewer’s discretion)

  • Kelsi • 6 years ago

    Am I the only one who likes the movies more than the book?

  • Yoh • 6 years ago

    the movies were so bad,why do they this,didnt see a single scene i wanted from the book

  • salma • 6 years ago

    am i the only one who was really disappointed in the way the movie portrays newt’s death the book gives a more deeper way and meaning towards newt’s death it makes the reader feel so sorrow as thomas was forced to kill his own friend, whilst in the movie newt just stabs himself and it didn’t really give me the same effect it gave me as the book.

    • Aloe • 3 years ago

      There’s two ways to look at the difference. Yes in the books it is a much deeper meaning to his death. But in the movies Newt commits suicide. I think his death in the movies meant more to Newts character AND Thomas character, while in the books his death only means more to Thomas’s character.. Thomas couldn’t bring himself to kill his beat friend because he already blames himself for Chucks death, he doesn’t want more blood on his hands. So Newt does it himself. He dies knowing HE saved his best friend. I did really like the effect the book gave to his death, so it’s kinda an opinion that can always go both way based on the way you look at it.

      • Lily • 3 years ago

        Yes, I agree. So I had read the first Maze Runner in my English class, and I liked it. I kinda forgot about it then, moving on to other books. We were going to watch the movie but then COVID screwed everything up. I still wanted to watch the movie, and we did about 6 months later. I was totally in love with Newt.

        Anyway, my family also liked the movies, and wanted to watch the next two. I made them wait for me to read the book, as I didn’t own it. But they were so desperate to watch The Scorch Trials, I gave up and didn’t read the book. So I didn’t really know what the heck would happen. The same went for Death Cure. I loved how much Newt was in it, and cried so hard at his death. So I read the books, and TDC shocked me so much. Newt was so much rougher, and he was barely in TDC.

        Everything was so different, and I was constantly comparing the two. I liked TMR books more, but I liked how Newt had a bigger role in the movies and how he was so sweet. I liked the movie version of Newt’s death more as well. It felt more real, and just showed us that he would stick with them until the end, instead of leaving of his own account in the book.

        I understand that he just wanted them to forget about him, since he didn’t want them to see him go crazy, and that’s really selfless. But I did like in the movie that he didn’t go crazy until the very end, since I wanted him to stay sweet and cute for as long as he could, and he did just that. The note in the movie was also a touch. So, I liked how the movie gave Newt a larger role, but I did like the books more than the movies.

        • E-M • 3 years ago

          yeah! I feel you 😭😭🥺🥺

  • Ruby Moseley • 4 years ago

    I’ve never read the books but from what I’ve heard (mostly about Newt’s death) I like the movies more. I feel like Newt’s death makes much more sense. All he ever wanted was to die. Also it’s much less cruel (if that’s even possible) than Newt getting killed by his best friend. I do want to read the books at some point though. I have a major crush on Thomas Brodie Sangster though so I think I’ll still like movie Newt more.

    • Jhawko • 3 years ago

      I literally just finished reading the book series yesterday, and yes the movies are better in imo. It is (slightly) more satisfying in the end because the cure is actually found, meaning Thomas could choose to go out and save everyone if he wanted to. Plus the red arm was actually good, whereas in the books they were kinda just another organisation that kind of wanted power. That said, the books were still really good, though I didn’t like that Thomas killed Jansen (it definitely put him in a different light) and they were overall more depressing than the movies