Divergent Film Franchise to Conclude as TV-Movie, Followed by Series

In what can only be described as a surprising turn of events, Lionsgate has opted to skip a theatrical release of its final Divergent film, and instead release it as a TV-movie — before launching a small-screen spinoff series.

As first reported by our sister site Variety, the decision comes after disappointing box office results/critical reaction for the third installment of the franchise, Allegiant, which opened to a lackluster $29 million in March — a 44 percent drop from 2015 release Insurgent.

Though negotiations are still ongoing, Lionsgate intends to use the fourth film, Ascendant, as a means to launch a standalone TV series that would focus on a new set of characters in the Divergent universe. It is unclear whether film stars Shailene Woodley, Theo James and Ansel Elgort will appear in Ascendant following this development. Principal photography was originally intended to begin this summer with an eye on a June 2017 release, but has since been delayed following Allegiant‘s poor performance.

Thoughts on Lionsgate’s decision to move Ascendant‘s release to the small-screen? And will a TV spinoff do well if the Divergent franchise is already struggling?

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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68 Comments
  1. michael says:

    Still don’t care.

    • Jim says:

      This isn’t going to happen. Mark my words. They’ll put the project into development, but nothing will come of it. This watered-down, zero-complexity YA book property whose moment of pop culture relevance is long over is an awful, awful fit for Starz, the premium cable network of Spartacus and Black Sails. They may make the movie and air it on the network simply with an eye toward future resale-ability of the entire film series in other formats, but there’s no way a television adaptation gets off the ground. No way.

  2. kitsunesaru says:

    Wow. How embarrassing.

  3. Matt C. says:

    This is so embarrassing! I mean, yeah, the box office results for Allegiant were very disappointing, but this is just unprecedented.

    • Ray says:

      Not entirely. Remember The Mortal Instruments? Plans for a sequel (it was to be a series) were scrapped after the first film bombed. The studio subsequently opted for a TV medium for the books and Shadowhunters on ABC Famly/Freeform was born.

      • Anne says:

        And the show is soooo much better. It’s better than the books tbh. I rather loathed the books, movie was terrible, but I found the series to be very entertaining. The showrunners made really smart changes

      • James says:

        But the difference was that “Divergent” did well.

  4. Bwhit says:

    Wow. This is so odd, to me at least.

  5. Belle says:

    I feel so badly for them! It had such potential, but when authors are rushed to push out sequel after sequel the story/plot suffers and we’re left with crap…harsh, but true. We have to be patient and let the author get things finished in their own time, not some publisher or agent’s timeline!!! UGH, this happened in almost all book series from the past 5-7 years. Do some research, the final installments of the book and the movie sucks. Especially when book 3 is broken up into 2 movies 

    • James says:

      Personally, I really enjoyed both Insurgent and Allegiant (the books as well as the Insurgent movie; haven’t yet seen Allegiant film) and thought the series ended well, if a bit unexpected. Also, Veronica Roth finished the series on her own time (it helps too that Harper purchased the whole series together so she could be working on the sequels after turning in the first book), hence why Allegiant got pushed back 6 months from it’s original release. And actually, a lot of books don’t get rushed- I’ve noticed quite a few sequels get pushed back from their original release because the author needs more time to make a quality product.

    • The biggest problem with this movie was the fact that fans who read Allegiant know the main female lead dies so what is the point of going to see the movie. Readers were outraged when that information came out. It is utterly dumb to kill off the main character especially in YA/NA stories… this isn’t like Adult where we can justify it or rationalize it. When teenagers are spending their parents money to go see something they will not spend it on something that is in their mind a lost cause.

  6. i’m actually okay with this.
    Because I’m hoping the death in the last book just disappears. my favorite part of the books was when Tris was training and the whole faction-lifestyle, they could do a tv show about that.The movies kinda lost me but Theo is so hot….

  7. notjennifer says:

    The books were terrible so this makes sense.

  8. Lourdes says:

    Do we know yet which network would carry it? Seems like something for the CW, actually.

    • Wordsmith says:

      If they go for broadcast networks, then CW seems likely. However, if cable networks are also on the table, then this clearly sounds like a Freeform show.

      • Karen MT says:

        It sounds more like MTV to me.

      • Tj says:

        Considering the recent purchase between lionsgate and starz I’d almost gaurentee this will end up on starz if anything. They may be better off just trying to get someone to do the movie with the original cast without trying to make it a tv show.

      • LaDonna says:

        I was thinking it sounded like a Freeform show, too. Although, they’re more into the modern teen dramas, this could open them to a new genre.

    • Whatever says:

      No way it’s going to be on CW, unless they are willing to go with dirt cheap license fees, which kinda pointless for Liongate to milk any money out of this. Every shows on CW are either WB or CBS production, ie the owners of CW.

    • wgsecretary says:

      I read a different article and it said there were no specific talks of networks or streaming services yet.

    • Vince says:

      Not happening. CW only airs shows produced by WB or CBS Studios.

  9. Phillip says:

    This is so beyond stupid. It’s just one more movie!! Just make it for the theater on a smaller budget.

  10. Jared says:

    I’m curious to see which network or streaming platform will get the movie and spinoff series..but what exactly is there to spinoff? This whole thing is kind of embarrassing.

    • Phillip says:

      Let’s hope it’s a premium cable network. Like HBO, STARZ or SHOWTIME.

      • Debbie says:

        I recall reading somewhere that Lionsgate was trying to buy Starz. This must be part of the reason why.

      • Joe says:

        It won’t be! As if any of them would be interested in a series that’s a spin-off of a failed movie franchise.
        If this show gets any deal at all it’ll be Freeform or MTV but even those two would probably be more receiptive to a reboot and not a continuation.

  11. Matt C. says:

    Also, why on earth would they think a TV series would be a good idea if the movies were clearly losing interest among general audiences? I just can’t understand why Lionsgaye couldn’t just use the extra money that a new series would cost to make one final theatrical installment and then be done with this entire franchise…

    • johnhelvete says:

      Because they can make 10 episodes at 4 or 5 million an episode(40-50 million) instead of a film for 110 million dollars (the budget of Insurgent. and Allegiant) or even the 85 million that Divergent cost.

  12. GoodJobLG says:

    Not even surprised. Lionsgate should have never split the last book into two films to begin with. Allegiant was the most polarizing book of the series, not to mention deplorably written. You usually hear of sequels getting cancelled because the first film tanked at the BO but for a franchise to die this way after THREE movies is really embarrassing, especially when it all could have been avoided in the first place.

    • ninergrl6 says:

      This. There was barely enough material in Allegiant to make one movie, let alone too. Just end the franchise now. At least movie Allegiant had a happy-ish ending.

      • skyebright8 says:

        Agree and fans can just have Four and Tris running Chicago and fighting the bureau, they killed off Tori instead.

  13. Alyse says:

    I hated how the third book ended so I knew I wouldn’t be a big fan of the fourth movie since it would cover that. A tv show could be interesting because I like the setup of the world but I doubt any of the originals would appear in it.

    • Anne says:

      I enjoyed the larger answers we got in the third book (like why the world was that way and more of Tris’s mom’s backstory) but the death and the truly horrific alternating POV was brutal and made me hate it; which is an anomaly – usually it’s the “answers” that are the worst

  14. Meghan says:

    Wow! I am really shocked by this. I saw Divergent and Insurgent in the theater and read the first two books only. I didn’t get to see Allegiant in the theater and I’m sorry I missed it. I really liked the first two movies. Clearly it was a stupid decision on Lionsgate’s part to split the 3rd book in 2 movies. Harry Potter and Hunger Games were much bigger franchises from the start than Divergent was. It would have been fine if they just concluded Allegiant all in one film instead of 2. This is pretty embarrassing for the franchise…

    • JW says:

      If you only read the first two books, don’t read the third. It will ruin the whole thing for you. Terrible book and way off from the others. Almost like a whole different story.

      • LaDonna says:

        I have to agree with JW. The first two books were very good, and the movies were acceptable. I hated the 3rd book. It was confusing with the alternating point of view between Tris and Four, and the story line felt very forced. The movie, on the other hand, was nothing at all like the book and awful. There was very little in the movie that was actually in the book.

  15. I bet they are regretting splitting the third book into two parts, because otherwise they could be completely finished with the Divergent series.

  16. Daniel Snow says:

    Lions gate she just squash the whole thing. P.S I knew they shouldn’t have split the final book into two movies.

  17. Amanda says:

    I’m really shocked by this too. I really like the movies but it’s also partly because I never read the books and I like the cast. I do agree they never should have split the last book into two films. I hope the cast stays with it for the TV film to finish out the story but still just really strange.

  18. Mari says:

    This surprises me. Even with the lackluster performance, I thought they’d conclude the series and call it a day. But honestly, for me, the best part of the movies was Theo James as Four.

  19. Dee says:

    Allegiant was nowhere near as good as the first two, which to me was so different than the book. I’ll be honest, I was wanting a rewrite of the last movie because I hated the book’s ending, but moving it to TV would be a quite a shock. If Theo and Shailene aren’t in the final movie, I have no interest in watching it.

  20. Fernanda says:

    next cancelled film franchise and upcoming new tv series: The Maze Runner

    • LaDonna says:

      And that’s also another film franchise that took huge detours from the book. That’s why franchises like Hunger Games, Harry Potter, and yes, even Twilight worked. They stayed true enough to the source material to make the work recognizable.

  21. peterwdawson says:

    They just got Highlander’d.

  22. Ben says:

    Will Lionsgate learn from this mistake and refrain from over-extending franchises in the future (i.e. unnecessarily adapting a book into two separate films)? I am curious to see what the cast situation for the TV movie will be. Also, if there is a dwindling interest in the films, is it reasonable to think that there will be substantial interest in a TV series?

  23. rahajicho says:

    Surprising turn of events? Grace Randolph from Beyond the Trailer reported they might be scrapping the final film months ago.

  24. Erick Voshel says:

    I do not understand this move by Lionsgate. Sure the third movie was a flop both critically and commercially, but I still think this is still a viable franchise and deserves a fourth and final film to be released in movie theaters.. I saw the first two films and loved them both. And a spin-off TV series could be interesting.

  25. Kelly says:

    The trend of milking trilogies into four movies is so irritating. It ruined Mockingjay, Breaking Dawn and now the divergent series. It’s a money grab and we can tell.

  26. kar says:

    Did they even read Allegiant before deciding on 4 movies? It was idiotic based on the book backlash of what happens. Nobody was going to want to see the last movie to begin with. Everyone who read the books predicted that.

  27. Spence says:

    Just let it die. I’ve read all the books- somewhat begrudgingly- and can attest that this series is nowhere near interesting enough to even have a fourth movie.

  28. Anne says:

    Interesting. Odd, but interesting. I’d probably watch a show based in the world though. I very much enjoyed the books and I enjoyed parts of the movies

  29. nia says:

    Not surprised. The last film did terrible at the box office earlier this year.

  30. The series was doomed the second they slashed the budget for the second film… that, and the fact that they were pretty dull and extremely derivative.

  31. parstl says:

    Hollywood needs to stop dividing the final boos or installments into two films just to stretch out things to make money. It may have worked for Harry Potter but even the last Hunger Games movie seemed anticlimactic. Try respecting the source material and audience.

  32. The biggest problem with this movie was the fact that fans who read Allegiant know the main female lead dies so what is the point of going to see the movie. Readers were outraged when that information came out. It is utterly dumb to kill off the main character especially in YA/NA stories… this isn’t like Adult where we can justify it or rationalize it. When teenagers are spending their parents money to go see something they will not spend it on something that is in their mind a lost cause.

  33. psycho says:

    The books were bad even for the genre, which is not famous for its literary quality. Love or hate the YA genre, but you have to accept that it is NOT known for quality, good acting, good plot or dialogue. What it is known for are amazing ideas that MAKE you want to watch/read but are never fully developed for the sake of a omnipresent love triangle between a Mary Sue (a projection of the reader) and two perfect guys, People start reading because they are hooked by the interesting world and all they get is angst, tacky romance and the ego massage for the lead character.
    This book series is exactly that. An AMAZING idea of a world… That is completely underdeveloped for the sake of flat “sexy” characters with the same overused traits.

    Tris as a lead was unbearable. She was one of the worst Mary Sues ever – always respected by even the biggest powers that be, always good at everything, oh-so-special-and-different. The only thing I’m truly thankful for is the lack of a love triangle. But it does not solve the book’s/movie’s biggest problem:
    Tris is hard to like. She is annoying, self absorbed, overly perfect and, for a regular teenager, too useful for the plot. Her friends are so boring that I don’t even remember who they were. Her boyfriends is just another perfect guy. Every drama or conflict in the book / movie is forced for the sake of angst. Tris’ death is just a way to make her even cooler. This is not a new method and it is not fresh. And there are so much more problems.
    YA genre needs to get its ish together. It’s gotten to the point where the genre is just disrespecting the teenagers’ intelligence by thinking they can be fed the SAME tropes and stories over and over and over again.
    Create heroes that are flawed (truly flawed, not cute and clumsy and unaware of their awesomeness). Create heroes who act instead of reacting.
    NO MORE LOVE TRIANGLES. Or at least make them believable. The middle person in a love triangle always knows what’s up and actively manipulates the other two’s feelings, let’s be honest. Stop with this “oh my god they loved me this whole timmme???” bull. Love triangles happen around people who want them to happen and actively keep them afloat.
    More world building. Less of Mary Sue’s feelings and more of how the hell the government functions and what people’s daily life is like.
    I hope this movie is a sign that even teenagers are fed up with overused, tired tropes and tacky love stories. Give them something to think about. Give them compelling stories, not some cute boys to drool over.

  34. H2OCH4 says:

    Not terribly upset by this. The Twilight series got away with stretching out the stories into a bunch of movies and someone thought this series of books could do the same. Wrong choice. The aforementioned Twilight movies did okay but audiences don’t want to be fooled by that blatant money making ploy again. Love Shay Woodley in this series but this whole story line got repetitive after awhile. No offence to anyone else but Veronica Roth is no Suzanne Collins.The Hunger Games books were way better anyway.

  35. JD Bobb says:

    If they got this far, it’s better to finish the franchise off with the final movie and get it done. Then they can wash their hands of it. They never should have split the final book into two movies. If any book series didn’t need a split for the final one, it’s this franchise.

    A TV movie, with an entirely different case more than likely will not draw any interest. And a TV series will just be beating a dead horse, as people who’ve read the books know the fate of Tris.

    Lionsgate would be better off biting the bullet and finishing off the series theatrically. It’s their own fault they’re in this mess to begin with, after slashing budgets on the last 2 films.

  36. NOLANOLA says:

    I loved the first movie, the only thing i wanted was for Factionless to be organized & they were in Insurgent. I think if they revamp it properly it could really work.

    They system is supposed to play to your strengths. LET’S SEE THAT !

  37. Alan Martins Rodrigues says:

    I didn’t even know the third movie was released? It’s not like I would watch it anyway, the third book was terrrible, but it’s still weird it premiered without making any kind of noise.

  38. Patty says:

    I was very sorry to hear the last part of the Divergent series will be a TV movie most especially with the possibility that the main characters Theo James (4)and Shailene Woodley (Tris) might not appear. This is so untrue to the premise of the serious. If they aren’t in the movie, I will not be watching. Their chemistry on screen was unbelievable.and it is what I looked forward to. Such tenderness coming from the character 4 was just so sweet to watch. The character Tris character was so brave. Actually her insane actions were so unselfish, that to make a good ending, it needed for them to carry on to improve the living conditions. The book’s ending was sad for 4 and Tris’s other friends but it made sense..To continue on as a TV series would not appeal to me. There is no way that Theo James would go back to TV work when his movie career is doing just fine. Shailene’s career is doing just fine so i could not see her doing TV. If you change the ending of the book she couldn’t. anyway. Let’s have the 4th installment up on the large screen. In my opinion the third and forth installments should have been done on the large screen as one..