the divergent series allegiant

Many questioned Lionsgate decision to split the last “Divergent’ novel into two movie adaptations, which has become the norm with YA adaptions and worked like a charm for ‘Harry Potter’ and ‘Twilight’.  But even the blockbuster ‘Hunger Games’ franchise began running out of steam by the time the final film hit theaters and, unfortunately, ‘Divergent‘ has never proven to be on par with that or any of these other series.

The most recent film ‘The Divergent Series: Allegiant’ had the lowest opening of the franchise and failed to even come in at #1 at the box office, falling behind the three week-old ‘Zootopia’.  Lionsgate has decided to slash the budget of the fourth movie, ‘Ascendant’ and skip the expensive theatrical release process.  Instead, the fourth movie will air as a TV movie with hopes that this will lead to a spin-off TV series.

Divergent skyline posterNegotiations are still under way so very little has been finalized.  ‘Ascendant’ was supposed to start filming this year to be released next June.  Lee Toland Krieger (‘Age of Adaline’) had signed on to direct.

Reportedly, the TV movie, which will be handled by Lionsgate’s TV division, would wrap up the storylines from the first three films and also introduce a new cast that would carry on in a separate TV series set in the same post-apocalyptic world.

Speaking of the cast, it’s unclear if Lionsgate is going to cough up the budget for bonafide movie stars like Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Ansel Elgort and Miles Teller… or if they’d even stoop to doing a TV movie in the first place.  If not, it may be a huge jolt to fans of these movies to see brand new faces taking over these roles after three movies.

Lionsgate has not yet pitched the TV movie/series to any outlet, so it’s anyone’s guess where they could end up.  Obviously, a network like The CW, Freeform or MTV would be the perfect fit, but would also result in much tinier budget than one of the major networks.  There’s also the possibility that these projects will end up on a streaming service which could be bad news for fans who don’t subscribe to particular services.

Well, this is a shocking development, to say the least.  It’s perfectly normal for studios to follow up successful theatrical movies with low-budget direct-to-DVD sequels, which are usually stand-alone and not directly connected to the theatrical films.  But ‘Divergent’ was intended to be four theatrical movies with just the last one left to complete to story.  To suddenly scrap the finale in favor or going the cheaper TV movie route is unheard of… but I suppose it’s better than nothing.

Are you a ‘Divergent’ fans?  What do you think of this development?  Are you happy to at least get some closure and possibly the promise of a continuation in the same universe?  Or is this a crushing blow to diehard fans who have still turned out for the movies in theaters?

Source: Variety