• Maze Runner: The Death Cure
    wraps up the storylines of the main characters, as Thomas and his friends rescue Minho from WCKD and find a haven away from the Flare virus.
  • The ending reveals that Thomas escapes with a vial of the cure for the Flare virus, but it becomes symbolic rather than crucial, as many survivors are already immune and no one is capable of harvesting the cure.
  • Director Wes Ball made changes to the ending, including a more optimistic note from Newt and the elimination of the epilogue from the original novel, to definitively end the movie trilogy and tie up loose ends.



The Maze Runner: The Death Cure ending brings the trilogy of dystopian YA movies based on James Dashner’s novels to a close, though it wasn’t always obvious how the various plot threads running through the franchise connected for the finale. Even though the Maze Runner 3 ending explained a lot, it also left behind several questions. The Death Cure is the third and final installment in 20th Century’s Maze Runner movie franchise. It follows 2014’s first film and the 2015 sequel Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, wrapping up the stories of Thomas, Newt, and Minho, and their fight against WCKD.

The third movie in the series, based on James Dashner’s 2011 novel The Death Cure, arrived in 2018. While the final movie tied up several plot threads, the Maze Runner ending still warrants further explanation, as some of the conclusions in its multi-layered story aren’t quite clear on first viewing. Maze Runner: The Death Cure builds on story threads established in both previous installments, but also introduces new key concepts that become integral to the concluding chapter. However, with the Maze Runner: The Death Cure ending explained, the significance of the many parts in director Wes Ball’s movie is revealed.


How Old Every Actor Is In The Maze Runner Compared To Their Character

The Maze Runner has an extremely young cast, but even so, most of its actors are considerably older than the teenage characters they portray.

How The Death Cure Wraps Up Maze Runner Character Arcs

The Group Flee To Rebuild Society Away From WKCD And The Flare Virus

Teresa prepares an antidote in The Death Cure

The Maze Runner: The Death Cure’s ending wrapped up the storylines of the franchise’s main characters. Thomas (O’Brien) and Newt (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) attempt to rescue their friend Minho (Ki Hong Lee) from the clutches of WCKD, where he’s being experimented on along with other teenaged Immunes — those who are immune to the Flare virus that turns humans into zombie-like Cranks. Minho is only WCKD’s prisoner because Teresa (Kaya Scodelario) betrayed Thomas and their friends by telling WCKD’s leader Ava Page (Patricia Clarkson) and head of security Janson (Aidan Gillen) about their location after they had escaped.

As a result, Thomas, Newt, Frypan (Dexter Darden), Jorge (Giancarlo Esposito), and Brenda (Rosa Salazar) leave Vince (Barry Pepper) and the rest of the resistance group, the Right Arm, to infiltrate the last standing city and save Minho. The Right Arm saved several Immunes and planned to find a haven away from the reach of the Flare and WCKD. Although Thomas and his friends — who meet up with former Glader Gally (Will Poulter) on the outskirts of the city — are successful in rescuing Minho from WCKD, they’re unable to get the cure to save Newt, who isn’t immune like his friends thought.

Gally is revealed to be alive after seemingly dying in The Maze Runner and turns from villain to hero.

When Teresa convinces Thomas he may be the only answer to producing a viable cure toward the end of The Maze Runner 3, he goes back. But thanks to an uprising led by Lawrence (Walton Goggins) and a hostile takeover of WCKD led by Janson, Thomas barely makes it out of the city alive. He flees with his remaining friends to the haven Vince has found where those immune from the Flare will attempt to rebuild society after The Maze Runner: The Death Cure ending.

Maze Runner: The Death Cure Character Fates


Character Name

The Death Cure Fate

Dylan O’Brien


Alive at Safe Haven with the cure

Kaya Scodelario


Dies helping Thomas escape WCKD

Thomas Brodie-Sangster


Dies fighting Thomas after becoming infected

Ki Hong Lee


Alive at Safe Haven

Dexter Darden


Will Poulter


Nathalie Emmanuel


Rosa Salazar


Giancarlo Esposito


Barry Pepper


Jacob Lofland


Katherine McNamara


Walton Goggins


Dies from explosion to begin attack on the Last City

Patricia Clarkson

Ava Paige

Dies from gunshot by Janson

Aidan Gillen


Dies from Cranks/explosion

What Happened to The Cure At The End?

Thomas Escapes With A Cure To The Flare Virus In Maze Runner 3

Maze Runner The Death Cure Kaya Scodelario Patricia Clarkson

The Maze Runner 3 ending explained crucial mysterious elements from the previous films, including the Flare virus and how it tied into the construction of the maze in the first movie. The concepts of the Flare and the cure weren’t truly introduced until the end of The Maze Runner. Since Thomas and the rest of the Gladers were put into the Maze after having their memories wiped, they didn’t discover its purpose until they’d escaped.

At the end of The Maze Runner, Ava Paige appears on a video screen and explains to the Gladers that Earth was devastated by a solar flare, and then humankind’s already dwindling numbers were ravaged by the Flare virus. Then, in The Scorch Trials, Thomas and his friends are housed at a facility with survivors of other Maze experiments, but they soon learn it’s run by WCKD. When Thomas learns this, he and his friends escape and search out the Right Arm.

Along the way, they meet Brenda, Jorge, and their group. Brenda is infected with the Flare virus, but one of the members of the Right Arm — a former WCKD scientist — uses an enzyme cure that fully heals her. The scientist reveals the cure can only be harvested from an Immune’s body, not manufactured. The scientist disagreed with Paige about how to harvest the cure and revealed that’s why she left WCKD.

When 2018’s Maze Runner: The Death Cure begins, Teresa struggles to discover a viable cure. Despite harvesting blood and enzymes from Immunes, she and Paige are only able to slow down the Flare virus. However, after Teresa sees a healed Brenda, she has suspicions Thomas might be the solution to stopping the virus entirely. She tests his blood and proves her hypothesis, then convinces him to return to help her create the cure.

Amid the uprising, Janson — now infected — takes the opportunity of Thomas being defenseless to force him and Teresa to create the cure. Instead, Thomas and Teresa fight back, but then Teresa dies in The Death Cure after helping Thomas flee with the Right Arm. At the end of The Maze Runner 3, it’s revealed Thomas did escape with a vial of the cure. He keeps the vial with him as he and the fellow survivors begin their new life.

The Flare Virus Cure Was A MacGuffin

The Maze Runner Ending Revealed The Story Was Actually About Self-Sacrifice

By the end of Maze Runner:The Death Cure, the cure for the Flare virus becomes somewhat secondary to the other crises playing out. Though WCKD attempts to evacuate to keep pursuing a cure, the organization is in chaos after multiple deaths. Plus, with Thomas unable to get the “cure” to Newt in time to save his life, Thomas doesn’t have much personal incentive to help resolve the pandemic, since everyone else he cares about is immune. Thomas offering himself up to Teresa and WCKD is a move of self-sacrifice with little hope for his own future or freedom.

By the time The Death Cure ends, it seems the majority of humanity has descended into the chaotic world seen outside the city walls throughout the entire film franchise. Meanwhile, the Right Arm, Thomas, and the remainder of his friends attempt to build a new society on an island away from the rest of the world. Presumably, they’ll let the rest of humanity die off — either through violence or by way of the Flare — and try to rebuild anew. The Maze Runner 3 ending explained little else about their fates after the movie’s events.

Thomas still has that vial of the viable cure at the end, but it seemingly becomes moot as many of the survivors are Immunes. Further, everyone Thomas is aware of who knows how to harvest the cure — Teresa, Paige, the defected WCKD scientist — are all dead. Between not needing the cure, and no one being capable of harvesting it, Thomas’s vial of the cure is essentially just symbolic of everything he went through in order to gain his freedom and build a better life.

How Does The Death Cure Movie’s Ending Differ From the Book?

Newt’s Note And The Epilogue Were The Major Chances In Maze Runner 3

Teresa, Thomas, Newt, Minho, and Brenda in the Maze Runner: The Death Cure poster

Newt’s note is among the major changes director Wes Ball and screenwriter T.S. Nowlin made to the ending. In the book, Newt gives a note to Thomas in hopes that he’ll read it before the former is consumed by the Flare. However, Thomas doesn’t read it until after, and it’s incredibly bleak: “Kill me. If you ever were my friend, kill me.” Essentially, Newt asked Thomas to kill him before turning into a Crank. The Maze Runner movie changed the books to instead have this play out on screen as Newt struggles to maintain his humanity while begging to die.

Instead of a deeply unsettling message showcasing the bleakness of the world in which these characters live, Maze Runner: The Death Cure employs a classic movie trope of having the deceased character offer the lead some advice and/or hope through a letter. Newt’s note speaks of a better world built by Thomas and the remaining survivors. Newt implores Thomas that “the future’s in your hands” and tells Thomas to look after everyone left, thanking him for his friendship. The note offers hope for the future and gives the final moments of The Death Cure a distinctly optimistic conclusion.


Maze Runner 4 Can Still Happen, But The Books Make Future Movies Impossible

The Maze Runner franchise extends beyond the three movies, and the fourth book could be adapted, but some book details make future movies a challenge.

The other major change is that Maze Runner: The Death Cure eliminated the epilogue from Dashner’s original novel. Written from the perspective of Ava Paige, the original epilogue explained that the government actually created the Flare virus as population control following the devastating solar flare. However, while the virus was designed to kill a portion of the human population and then die out, it lived on and began to ravage the remnants of humanity. WCKD (called WICKED in the novels) was tasked with finding a cure, but Paige eventually realized it wouldn’t be possible and devised a new plan.

Notably, the Maze Runner 3 ending explained nothing about the virus’ origin because the epilogue was omitted. Moreover, in the Death Cure novel, it’s revealed earlier on that Thomas’s allies Jorge and Brenda actually work for WCKD. The epilogue also sees Paige revealing that this was part of her plan to gather all the Immunes and transport them to a safe haven where they can survive the rest of the world collapsing and have some hope of rebuilding.

The Death Cure Epilogue Undermines The Franchise Narrative

Changes Were Made To Allow The Movie Trilogy To Definitively End

The epilogue falls in line with the ending of Maze Runner: The Death Cure since it reinforces the idea that the search for a cure was abandoned in favor of the safe haven for Immunes. The epilogue also establishes this plan was in motion long before the beginning of the movie and would have offered further credence to the idea of Thomas and his friends removing themselves from the rest of the world to rebuild society. However, it also overcomplicates the narrative and, more importantly, sets the stage for Dashner’s prequel novels, The Kill Order and The Fever Code.

These novels take place before The Maze Runner and follow the initial outbreak of the Flare virus as well as Thomas working with WCKD to build the Maze. But, it seems unlikely Fox will adapt those two prequel novels — especially since Disney acquired The Maze Runner film franchise along with the rest of 20th Century Fox. So, The Death Cure needed to tie up all the loose ends of the series, and it did so by eliminating, or simply not including, certain aspects of the mythology, like the source of the Flare virus and the secret plan WCKD had for the Immunes all along.

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