Recent news about the future of The Divergent Series and Ascendant is disappointing, but after talking with Lionsgate, there’s some reason to be optimistic. Let’s chat, Initiates.
At We So Nerdy, we’re massive fans of the Divergent Series. I (Funmbi) fell in love with the books when I first binge-read Divergent and Insurgent in the Spring of 2012. And then when the film franchise commenced in 2014, I was HERE for it. In fact, the Chicago Divergent premiere I attended in March 2014 is still one of the best fandom experiences of my life.
Being part of the Divergent fandom has been an incredible joy. With that said, I wouldn’t be honest if I don’t also admit to being disappointed about the news that the remaining film, Ascendant, will be a TV project.
I think the first Divergent movie is one of the best book-to-film adaptations I’ve ever seen. Everything works together to translate this story to the big screen—the script, direction, casting/acting. It’s so clear that the film was made with care for the Divergent world and the fans who love it.
In my opinion, the shift in Insurgent‘s storyline takes the story in a highly unexpected direction. This is likely the result of trying to anticipate an ending where the key protagonist dies.
But, for me, Allegiant totally brings it back. Truthfully, I think Allegiant is the best film in the franchise. What I dislike about the final book (i.e. Four’s disappointing development, the overly dramatic/fabricated dissension between Tris and Four) is completely rectified in the film… partly because of the script, but I just think Shailene Woodley and Theo James are *that* good.
I left the theater after Allegiant really excited for Ascendant, especially with the cliffhanger ending.
So now, given recent announcements, I guess the question is whether a TV project will be able to do justice in bringing this franchise to a close? (For more information, read this article from Variety featuring comments from Lionsgate TV Group Chair Kevin Beggs.)
After a conversation with Lionsgate, we can confirm that Ascendant will be produced for television. However, the studio is still in the process of developing the project and finding the best TV partner.
Beyond that, things are very much up in the air.
The format of the project (TV movie, TV series) is still unclear.
For now, it’s unknown whether the original cast is returning or if Lee Toland Krieger will be the director.
And while the original Summer 2017 release might be a goal, it’s not at all set in stone.
In terms of Veronica Roth, the nature of her oversight/involvement is also unclear.
However, what is certain is that the Lionsgate Team still cares about Divergent and the fandom. They are 100% devoted to telling final part of this story story and feel like the TV medium will allow them to end the series with the vision they have always wanted. They are very confident that they’ll be able to produce a finale that will honor this world and us fans.
I know many of us are skeptical about the shift to television, but the more I think about it, I become less worried.
As many say, we’re in a golden age of television. We can all name TV films and episodes (network and cable) that go toe-to-toe with the most big budget, summer blockbusters.
If Ascendant is treated with deliberate care and consideration, I do think it’ll be possible to create something the fandom will cherish.
At the same time, I totally understand that some (or all) of the cast might not return for the TV project. They joined Divergent with certain expectations and assurances… with such a big change in the franchise’s direction, it’s not fair to ask them to just follow along. However, I *really* hope Lionsgate and their TV partner make special efforts to keep cast members on board.
So, even though it’s difficult, I encourage us to be optimistic, at least until more concrete details are revealed.
We So Nerdy will definitely bring you Ascendant news as soon as we get it.
Stay strong, Initiates!