Following the successful Hunger Games film franchise, Lionsgate aimed to make the Divergent series their next dystopian cash cow. Like The Hunger Games, Lionsgate attempted to replicate the financial legs of other YA novel series adaptations (Harry Potter, Twilight) by splitting the final book, Allegiant, into two films. The second part (and fourth film in the series) would be called Ascendant. Similar to Hunger Games, the critical and box office reception of these arguably diluted chapters were among the weakest in the series. Unlike Hunger Games, Allegiant was such a critical and box office bomb that plans for the feature follow-up of Ascendant were canned, instead opting for a straight-to-television adaptation.
Following this announcement, it became clear that rising stars like Shailene Woodley (The Fault in Our Stars) and Miles Teller (Whiplash) may not return for the micro-budgeted final chapter to a failing film franchise. Most recently, star Theo James (Underworld: Awakening) commented that it was unlikely that any of the main cast would be returning to their roles. Now that possibility seems to be a certainty.
Considering Woodley has been the face of the franchise to this point, it could be unsettling for fans to see Tris recast while retaining a mishmash of her supporting cast. At this point, it seems like any followup movie may work by recasting the crew entirely, establishing a whole new dynamic that will work for the television format. Considering Lionsgate's plans include a subsequent TV-series set in the Divergent universe, this may also give them room to start fresh in the new format, with actors that will be available to continue appearing into the life of the television series.
Shailene Woodley is next set to appear in Big Little Lies, a seven-hour miniseries that debuts on February 19th on HBO. Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, and Laura Dern are set to co-star.
How do you feel about the news that Woodley will definitely not return as Tris? Should she be recast, or should Lionsgate simply let the flailing franchise die? Let us know in the comments section, and stay tuned to Screen Rant for any future updates on the Divergent series as they hit.
Source: Vanity Fair