Dylan O'Brien mourns moving on from Maze Runner movies

Maze Runner star has mixed emotions over the end of sci-fi trilogy

At the start of The Maze Runner, the 2014 dystopian action thriller based on James Dashner's hit young adult novel series, leading man Dylan O'Brien's character Thomas wakes at the centre of a mysterious maze, with no memory of his past, and finds himself trapped with a group of teens desperate to escape their concrete prison.

He reprised his role in the 2015 sequel Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, in which Thomas, having escaped the maze, learns that the world outside its walls may not be the idyllic freedom he had hoped.

Now, in the third and final film Maze Runner: The Death Cure, which opens here tomorrow, Thomas faces his ultimate test. He is determined to infiltrate the Last City - the stronghold of the shadowy organisation known as WCKD - and put a stop to the war once and for all.

The 26-year-old New Yorker is also instantly recognisable to the millions of fans of the MTV series Teen Wolf, which ended last year after six seasons.

With the Maze Runner franchise, which clocked up global box office receipts in excess of US$600 million (S$792 million), O'Brien has become one of the most popular actors of his generation.

Here, he reflects on what the Maze Runner movies have meant to him and what he hopes for the future.

Where do we find Thomas at the start of The Death Cure?

When we pick up with him, it is the first time we're seeing any sort of duration of time pass by in this series... seeing him and everyone experienced, and a little more mature, in a way.

Particularly with Thomas, too, this goal of redemption, and how he's just so dead set on getting Minho (Ki Hong Lee) back, and tearing down WCKD, and just being done with this, once and for all.

How much has it meant to have the same director, Wes Ball, follow you across all three movies?

Oh, man, it meant the world to me. It was just amazing to be together again, to have that sense of relief, to finish what we started.

It ended up being the best experience I've ever had. Wrapping it up out there, with everybody, and being in South Africa. We had an amazing crew. My dad was out there working with us.

How different did South Africa feel from your experiences on the other movies?

They have each been entirely separate experiences. But this felt very different. On the first two movies, we were staying in the same hotel chain, all on the same floor.

That's what's so amazing about Wes - you can sense a completely different world that you are being set in, and that changes things for you too.

I think it's always assisted us in these arcs, and progressing the storyline. We can feel the tides changing. We can feel these different, distinct chapters.

It's a classic sci-fi trilogy, a heroic story. That's what I always want this to be remembered as, because it truly doesn't happen any more.

The same film-maker, three movies, and then you're done. I feel like we've made three really special movies, and it doesn't get better than that.

Now that your time on Maze Runner and Teen Wolf has ended, the next chapter of your life is there to be written. Do you have any ideas about where you'd like to go?

I've always had these two homes. They're both concluding at the same time, basically. I'm 26, and I'm going to be entering this entirely new phase of my career and life.

I feel like I'm just going to try to keep the right attitude about it. I am excited for it, while also sort of mourning and celebrating these two things that will forever be the most special for me.

I know I'm going to work with Wes again. We're too good friends for that not to happen.

It's a sad time, because in a way, nothing ever replaces this time with these people.

Some of these guys will be forever my best friends. But you're not going to come up and hang out with each other 12 to 15 hours a day for three straight months.

You just don't get that time back, and that bond, and that camaraderie. That's gone, and that's something to totally be happy that it happened.