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Since 2014, The Divergent Series has been trying to capitalize on the young adult action movie craze and achieve the same kind of success as The Hunger Games. Unfortunately for the franchise, it's achieved nothing of the sort, drawing mixed to negative reception and not earning a lot of money for movies that big. The fourth and final entry, The Divergent Series: Ascendant, was originally supposed to be released in theaters on June 9, 2017, but now news just hit that the story will instead try to continue on the small screen.
The latest from Variety states that Ascendant is now being planned as a television movie, and following that, the story will continue in a standalone TV series. Lionsgate will still be handling production, and the goal is to conclude the stories of the current Divergent cast in the TV movie to make way for a new group of characters on the show. Lee Toland Krieger is still set to direct the new version of Ascendant, but there's no word yet on if Shailene Woodley, Theo James or any of the other movie stars will reprise their characters for the final movie. There's also no word on which network or stream service will air both projects, as no deal has been reached yet.
Needless to say, this is huge demotion for The Divergent Series, but given how these movies have been performing, this decision is understandable. The Divergent Series: Allegiant was the worst of the bunch, earning almost universally negative reviews and only earning a little over $179 million worldwide. This performance led Lionsgate to reevaluate their strategy for the series, and rather than just never release the final movie, they've opted to bring it to TV and try to keep this universe going in a series. Obviously Ascendant's budget will be reduced, but compared to the movie going up against World War Z 2 and The Mummy reboot in its original release date, turning to TV was a safer bet for any kind of success.
This is the latest, but definitely most impactful, obstacle The Divergent Series: Ascendant has recently faced. First, Robert Schwentke, director of the second and third movies, departed, leaving Lee Toland Krieger to take his place. Then Ascendant's budget was reportedly reduced. While this isn't the first time a movie story has continued on television (Stargate comes to mind), bringing the Divergent universe to television is a drastic move. Whether the series will fare better on TV remains to be seen, but at least now, it won't have to worry about being brutalized on the big screen.
What do you think of this news? Are you glad The Divergent Series may continue on television or do you wish it had just ended immediately? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.