Of all the attempts to duplicate the YA fiction-to-film success of Twilight and The Hunger Games, the Divergent series has been closest to catching that lightening in a bottle. That’s not a particularly competitive contest, but the combined $280 million domestic box office take of Divergent and its sequel Insurgent, is nothing to sneeze at, and the films do feature a tremendous cast of young talent including Shailene Woodley, Miles Teller Ansel Elgort, and Jai Courtney (maybe not Jai Courtney). So what could wrong? How about losing the director the series finale mere weeks before the film is expected to go into production in order to meet its etched in stone release date?
Deadline is reporting that Robert Schwentke, who directed last year’s Insurgent and the upcoming Allegiant, has stepped down from the director’s chair for the fourth and final Divergent movie, Ascendant. There’s nothing nefarious here, merely the fact that making two huge studio blockbusters back-to-back in less than two years has exhausted the director; Schwentke remains in good standing at Lionsgate. Just watching Insurgent was an exhausting experiencing trying to keep up with all the characters and clans, so one can only imagine what it took to make it.
As is the style of the time, the final Divergent book, also called Allegiant, was split into two movies. Schwentke has complete part one, which is due in theaters on March 18. Ascendant is currently scheduled for release on June 9, 2017, which will mean that a new director will have to be found in short order so that the film remains on track for its June 2017 release date. Because of that, the winning candidate will unlikely be able to put any kind of personal signature on the final Divergent film, not that there’s much room for individual flourish in the first place.
The Divergent Series: Allegiant will be in theaters everywhere March 18.