Lionsgate and Starz are in early stages of developing the Divergent: Ascendant TV series. Shortly after The Twilight Saga had concluded, Summit Entertainment (a Lionsgate-owned studio) began developing the Divergent series, based on the novels of the same name by Veronica Roth, with the hopes that it would become their new, young adult blockbuster franchise. Neil Burger directed the first installment, Divergent, starring Shailene Woodley as Beatrice “Tris” Prior, Theo James as Tobias “Four” Eaton, Miles Teller as Peter Hayes, and Ansel Elgort as Caleb Prior, among others.
The first movie received mixed to negative reviews, yet it proved successful at the worldwide box office, grossing $288.9 million globally against an estimated production budget of $85 million. So, Summit immediately began working on the sequel, Insurgent, directed by Robert Schwentke. Insurgent received even worse reviews and managed to gross roughly the same amount, despite an increase in its production budget. Instead of adapting the final book outright, the studio had previously decided to split the novel into two installments: Allegiant and Ascendant. Allegiant released in 2016 and performed even worse than the prior two films, both critically and commercially, and so, plans to develop the fourth movie halted.
Rather than move forward with the fourth movie, the studio decided to conclude the series with a TV movie that would lead into a TV series. It was around the same time that Lionsgate had acquired Starz for $4.4 billion in cash and stock in 2016, and it looks like they’re going to leverage that acquisition to conclude the Divergent story. THR reports that Starz is in early developments on the Divergent: Ascendant TV series that the franchise producers first discussed last summer.
Lionsgate and Starz have hired The Legend of Tarzan and Suicide Squad 2 scribe Adam Cozad to pen the script for what would presumably be the TV movie that leads into the TV series. If the premium cable network opts to skip the movie entirely and dive straight into the TV portion, then it may prove even more difficult than it already is to bring the main cast back, most of which have moved on to other projects and have no interest in returning to their roles.
Shortly after last year’s announcement about Ascendant being adapted for television instead, Woodley expressed her disinterest in reprising her role as Tris in the TV movie, and that notion was shared by James and other cast members. The actress officially passed on the TV movie earlier this year, and it looks like Lionsgate and Starz will have to make the final portion of the story work without its lead characters, unless they plan on recasting the roles, of course. At this time, the Divergent: Ascendant TV series is still in its early stages of development, so there’s no telling if it will actually happen in the end.
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