Hey guys. I know I still haven’t been active in a while and I’m sorry. It’s taking a lot of time to get my life back to normal. However, about a week ago, I read a sad, disturbing article on Epic Reads’ blog, and I need to vent about it. According to the article, the final installment in the Divergent film series, Ascendant, might be released as a TV movie. A TV movie. At first I thought the article was a joke. But alas, I have done my research and they really are negotiating the idea.
The first Divergent film was released in 2014, directed by Neil Burger, and grossed about $288,000,000 worldwide. With headlining actors Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Ansel Elgort, and Miles Teller, and themes that related the film to other popular dystopias like The Hunger Games and The Maze Runner, the film was more or less a success with fans of the book series. Critics had mixed reviews, generally impressed with the performances and less enthusiastic with the films execution. Overall, though, the film did well and earned a #1 spot at the box office during its opening weekend. A sequel was soon in the works.
Insurgent was released a year later with a different director but the same great cast, grossing around $297,000,000 worldwide. It, too, earned a #1 spot at the box office during its opening weekend. The reviews were a lot more negative for this film than the first, and the film earned less money in North American than its predecessor. Still, though, the series was popular with the young adult crowd. Series like this have a strong fanbase established from the books, so obviously the next course of action was to conclude the series with the final installment, Allegiant. Unfortunately, they fucked up.
The Divergent series is comprised of three novels, but of course the studios cursed the franchise by deciding to split the third book into two films. Listen, that was fine with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — it made sense and it was well received. But come on. Stop. Please. Not all YA series need this. Hunger Games did not need that. I mean, I loved the film series nonetheless, but I would have been okay with only three films. Sure, you can include a lot more from the books in the films when you add another movie, but it’s not always necessary. The biggest mistake for the Divergent series was splitting Allegiant into two films. And I have to say, it made me angry to discover they didn’t even name the films Allegiant pt. I and Allegiant pt. II. No, even worse — they gave the last film a new name entirely: Ascendant. But let’s back up. We’ll get there.
The third (and supposed to be final) installment in the series, Allegiant, was released earlier this year and was directed by Robert Schwentke, the same man who directed Insurgent. All the great headlining actors reprised their roles once again, but this time, the film only brought in roughly $179,000,000 worldwide, significantly less than the previous two films, with reviews mostly negative. This led to budget cuts on the fourth film, which is one of the reasons this horrible decision is being negotiated. Originally, the fourth and final installment in the series, Ascendant, was supposed to be released a year after Allegiant the following March. The release date was then pushed to June of 2017. After that, news for Ascendant just kept getting worse. Before Allegiant even hit the big screens, it was confirmed that Schwentke would not return to direct the final film, and that Toland Krieger would replace him. Then, a couple weeks ago in July, news started spreading that Lionsgate was considering releasing Ascendant as a TV movie, potentially setting up a spin-off TV series. Even worse: the headlining actors for these films signed contracts to star in films, not television movies. If this goes through, their contracts have to be re-negotiated. Basically, the final installment to a four-part series may conclude with a different cast. So basically, what’s the point.
I literally do not understand this decision. I understand budget cuts are hard, but they should just deal with it and film accordingly. I do not think a TV movie is in their best interest. A TV movie will get a lot less attention, for one. Theatrical releases create big hype, especially for people like me who love the theater experience and love seeing stories transition from page to the big screen. A TV movie is so anti-climactic, especially for the final installment in a series. Instead of going out with a bang, the franchise will come to a close, barely making a sound. Secondly, I hate the idea of a new cast, and if these contracts are not able to be re-negotiated for the small screen, I don’t see how Lionsgate is going to play it off. A new actor playing one new character is understandable, of course, but an entire cast is not. How are we supposed to accept all-new actors for the fourth movie? We’ve been with the original cast for three other movies. I don’t think I can shrug that off. And another thing: the spin-off series. This terrifies me. Does this mean they’re going to change the ending of the series? Because if a certain someone doesn’t meet a certain fate at the end of Ascendant, I will literally throw a fit. And you will witness that fit when I angrily post about it. Don’t get me wrong, I support book series being made into TV series. Game of Thrones is great. The Vampire Diaries was better than the books (in my opinion). And what I’ve seen of The 100 is pretty good. And if they want to take Divergent and turn it into a series, fine, okay, but can we please end the film franchise the way the series is supposed to end? Please? I know The Mortal Instruments totally bombed as a film franchise, which is why they rebooted it as a TV series, but the Divergent series didn’t bomb. The first two films did great. You wanna know why the third one “sucked”? Because they split it into two movies. Yeah. If they would have just produced Allegiant as one film, the series would be over and we’d all be happy. But no. Now we’re stuck in this mess with a potentially disastrous conclusion to the Divergent franchise. Thanks, Lionsgate. Thanks everybody. Thanks so much.
I know I’m being harsh, but I’m really passionate about this kind of stuff. Books. Movies. TV. It’s important to me. And I really hate what they’ve done to the series. I really and truly hope that they decide to release the final film in theaters. I’ll watch it either way, nevertheless, but it will break my heart to see it on TV. What are your thoughts on the matter? I haven’t been checking out many blogs recently, so I have no idea who else has posted about this. Let me know in the comments your opinions, or link me to your own post about the matter. And hopefully I’ll be posting some book reviews again soon. Love you all!