Fans of the Divergent film series took a hit when Lionsgate announced the fourth film, Ascendant, would not be coming to theaters, but instead be released on television as a backdoor pilot for a spin-off television series. Now it’s time to take another hit with the announcement from Shailene Woodley (The Fault In Our Stars, 9 Kisses, and Snowden) that she wouldn’t be involved in the spin-off. That’s right, the woman who headlined the first three films will not be taking part in the television show based off the fourth film and that’s not something fans are going to be happy to hear.
When Lionsgate first announced the change in format, Woodley wasn’t very pleased about it:
“I didn’t sign up to be in a television show. Out of respect to the studio and everyone in involved, they may have changed their mind and may be doing something different, but I’m not necessarily interested in doing a television show.”
To be clear, Woodley will still be starring in the film even though it is being released on television and not in theaters. When the spinoff was announced in Variety, it was only a short while after the cast was informed and apparently, nobody was pleased. The Divergent films haven’t performed as well at the box office as other female-drive dystopian films like Jennifer Lawrence’s, The Hunger Games, but the franchise still managed to pull in $743 million in the global market.
It wouldn’t be a hit to any feature film actors’ career to make a jump to the small screen like it would have in the past. Big stars have been making the move to television in recent years and it has been working out well for everyone involved. Woodley herself clearly isn’t opposed to the format seeing as she is playing the character, Jane Chapman in Big Little Lies, which is set to premiere on HBO on February 19th, 2017.
Woodley’s reluctance to carry her portrayal of Tris in the television series may have more to do with the lack of source material than the switch in format. The fourth film, Ascendent, is the second of two made from the third book, Allegiant, which was the name used for the third film. The franchise adopted the same ‘split the final film’ format other hits like The Hunger Games and The Harry Potter franchise did, which was profitable for the studios, and it may have been Lionsgate’s decision to continue the franchise on television in an attempt to make as much from the series as possible. Regardless of her decision not to continue playing the character, Lionsgate is still planning on moving forward with their television adaptation.
Ascendant is scheduled for its television premiere on June 9th, 2017. As of the writing of this article, a network or streaming service has not been announced so keep checking NerdBastards.com for information on the film as production develops.