Ever since Warner Bros. and New Line (now a subsidiary of Warner) struck gold with the Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings film franchises, respectively, in 2001, it seems like every other studio has been scrambling to develop its own page-to-screen adaptations of popular fantasy/sci-fi book series. Films like The Golden Compass and Eragon stalled after one film, while other series like The Chronicles of Narnia and the Percy Jackson films have managed to continue moving forward with modest success.
In recent years, however, only the Twilight and The Hunger Games series have become bonafide box office phenomenons, and this spring, Summit Entertainment – the studio behind the recently-completed Twilight saga – will try again to tap into a similar audience with the March release of Divergent, based on the first in a trilogy of novels by Veronica Roth. Now it looks like the studio is bringing in a big name for the in-development sequel.
According to THR, Oscar-winning screenwriter Akiva Goldsman (Winter’s Tale) has signed on to work on the script for Insurgent, the middle chapter in the Divergent trilogy. Evan Daugherty (Snow White and the Huntsman) and Vanessa Taylor (Game of Thrones) wrote the first installment, while Brian Duffield (Jane Got a Gun) wrote the initial script draft for the second movie.
The addition of Goldsman is an interesting move for the studio, as it looks to shape Insurgent. We already know that Divergent director Neil Burger will not return for the sequel, and while the studio is still on the search for a replacement, bringing on a writer like Goldsman could indicate that Summit is looking to take the Hunger Games approach to this franchise. That film’s sequel, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, took the departure of director Gary Ross as an opportunity to bring in a new director and writers, resulting in what is generally considered a superior film (read our review).
Goldsman certainly brings a wealth of experience to the project. In addition to his Oscar win for A Beautiful Mind, his filmography consists of hits like The Da Vinci Code and I Am Legend. However, the fact that he is also credited with the scripts for both Batman Forever and the much-loathed Batman and Robin is a hard reminder that the Divergent sequel might not turn out so well.
That being said, Goldsman has proven that he is capable of solid genre work with I, Robot and numerous episodes of Fringe. So there is every possibility that he could bring great things to the Divergent franchise, provided that the first film is the next Hunger Games and not the next Ender’s Game at the box office.
Do you think that Goldsman’s involvement is a good sign, or is the Divergent franchise in trouble already? Let us know in the comments section below.