When The Hunger Games initially launched to big screen it did so with a massive hype machine that convinced other studios to go all-in on similar adaptations, many angling toward the Young Adult dystopian novel fad would prove to be an across the board boon. Instead, initially high returns for imitators like the Divergent and Maze Runner series gave way to weakly-received sequels, and fans of the Divergent series were recently surprised to learn the saga would be concluding as a lower budget TV movie (likely without the original cast) after the box office failure of Allegiant.
Someone else who was surprised? The series' lead actress, Shailene Woodley; who says she wasn't contacted about the downgrade.
Speaking to press regarding her role in Oliver Stone's upcoming biopic Snowden (in which she portrays the title character's love interest), the young star revealed that she had to read about the series' latest difficulties from the press and had not yet been reached out to by the studio:
"Honestly, I was on a plane when all that happened and I landed, and I’m like 'Whoa, what’s going on?!' I need to talk and find out what the details are."
The news marks only the latest unfortunate career setback for Woodley, whose well-reviewed performances and notoriety among teen audiences has had her tipped as a breakout star waiting to happen but whose ascendance to the A-list has been repeatedly impeded by mid-franchise studio changes of heart. Prior to her stint in Divergent, she had been cast as the new Mary-Jane Watson in Sony's Amazing Spider-Man movies, only to see the role bumped to a prospective third film during Part 2's chaotic production and then scrapped permanently once the studio moved in a new Marvel-backed direction.
Set in a post-apocalyptic future where society has been organized into five rigidly-enforced castes, the Divergent series followed Woodley as Tris, a misfit pursued by her government after it is discovered that she possesses a genetic abnormality that allows her the traits of all classes and threatens the system. The now-cancelled fourth film, tentatively titled Ascendant and based on the second half of the third book in the series, would have focused on Tris and her allies coming up against the powerful organization that was discovered to have been manipulating their world during the third feature, Allegiant.
No official director, cast or production information has yet been made available for whatever form the television version of Ascendant ultimately takes. It is believed that Lionsgate will attempt to use the small-screen wrap-up as a pilot to launch a spin-off series.
We'll keep you updated on Divergent: Ascendant as more information becomes available.