- Divergent offered a unique narrative arc within the Young Adult film adaptations by not strictly adhering to Veronica Roth’s original plot.
- After the third film, Allegiant, underperformed at the box office, Netflix was interested in producing the final installment, Ascendant.
- The films diverged from the books but maintained the essence of storytelling, showcasing the challenges and possibilities of adaptations.
Since the release of the first Divergent film in 2014, the movies have provided a unique narrative arc within the cinematic universe of Young Adult adaptations. Unlike other YA tales, Divergent made the bold decision to not be strictly tied to Veronica Roth’s original storyline.
Initially, the Divergent series started with immense promise and quickly found its place among the YA blockbusters. However, the third film, Allegiant, did not perform as expected at the box office, causing a ripple effect on the franchise’s future. It has been widely reported that Lionsgate considered turning the final chapter into a TV movie for Starz, but recent revelations from The Hollywood Reporter reveal an even more intriguing twist: Netflix had considered producing Ascendant, the intended grand finale.
Producer Erik Feig provided some insight into why the finale needed rescuing. While other film series like Twilight and The Hunger Games split their final books from a creative standpoint, the decision to divide the last Divergent book was influenced by other factors. Feig remarked, “I don’t know that it served the creative quite as well as it could have.”
It raises the question of what Ascendant would have entailed. This anticipated conclusion was meant to intertwine the stories of Tris (played by Shailene Woodley) and the cast of characters around her, representing the latter half of the Allegiant book. Roth, when asked about her feelings on the film trajectory diverging from her books, expressed a sense of peace. “The movies were taking a different track than the books,” Roth stated in an interview with People. She believed that changing the build-up naturally leads to a different ending. “It feels complete to me,” she said about the third film.
A brief overview of Allegiant is warranted, featuring an impressive lineup of actors, including Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Jeff Daniels, Zoe Kravitz, Octavia Spencer, and Naomi Watts. The movie tells the exhilarating story of Tris Prior and her allies’ escape from their walled city in a dystopian Chicago. The revelations they faced outside would challenge their core beliefs and relationships.
Theo James, who portrayed Four, Tris’s significant other, shared his thoughts on the series’ unexpected ending in a heartfelt message during a 2016 TooFab interview, saying, “Thanks for the support.” Regarding the franchise’s future, he admitted, “I think it’s evolving in a place where the actors that have been in the three movies probably won’t be in whatever it evolves to.”
The Divergent series serves as an excellent case study for adaptations and their challenges, illustrating that the cinematic universe can sometimes deviate significantly from its literary counterpart. While the final chapter on screen may differ from the pages, the essence of the story remains, showcasing the power of storytelling in both books and films.