Shailene Woodley Had No Idea the Last ‘Divergent’ Was Headed to TV
In hindsight, the title Ascendant was probably a mistake.
There is no Ascendant book in the Divergent series by Veronica Roth. But Lionsgate, in their perpetual search for more money, decided to split the final book into two films, as they had done so successfully in previous years with The Hunger Games and Twilight. And rather than call them Part 1 and Part 2 (because I think people were starting to get wise to the idea that they were being charged twice for one single story), they invented a new title: Ascendant.
But while dystopian TA hero Tris are fearless brigade may be on the rise, her movie series is plummeting fast. The first Divergent raked in over $280 million worldwide in 2014; the next, Insurgent, grossed almost $300 million. But the last, 2016’s Allegiant, grossed just $179 million total, and a paltry $66.1 million in the U.S. And the story’s not finished, since Lionsgate split Allegiant into Ascendant. It would seem that the franchise has outlived most of the interest in it.
Earlier this week, news broke that Ascendant, originally scheduled for release next summer, would instead go straight to television, and that this final film in the series would also serve as a backdoor pilot to a Divergent spinoff television show. It was surprising news; it’s hard to remember the last movie franchise based on a popular property that fell this far this fast. (Maybe The Amazing Spider-Man, which was originally designed to birth a sequel and multiple spinoffs, and died before it could give the world any of them.)
The news was so surprising in fact, that Divergent Series star Shailene Woodley didn’t know about it either. Deadline reports that Woodley was asked about the prospect of Ascendant on TV at Comic-Con and was totally shocked. Her response:
Honestly, I was on a plane when all that happened and I landed, and I’m like Whoa, what’s going on?!
Woodley says her status in the franchise is uncertain; she needs to “talk and find out what the details are.” And not to throw shade of the Divergent series, but they better hope Woodley is involved somehow. She was really the best thing about those movies. Without her, it seems to me like the whole thing could start descending very fast.