The Divergent Series: Ascendant Won’t Screen In Cinemas: Why This Is A Horrible Idea

Credit: Lionsgate
Credit: Lionsgate

Divergent fans, I have some bad news and horrible news. If you’re reading this standing up, it’s probably a good idea to sit down. Are we sitting down? Good.

Variety has broken the news that Ascendant, the last film in the Divergent series, will not be shown in theaters. Instead, it’s to be made into a TV-movie which will segue into a spin-off TV show. Lionsgate made the choice following the poor box office performance of the third movie Allegiant. Are the fans happy about the choice? Not at all. Am I happy about this choice? Hell no.

I have a long and vocal history of spin-off films and sequels and remakes. Most sequels aren’t needed, and most remakes don’t do anything but hinder the original film. Spin-offs are a mixed bag entirely. While some spin-off such as Agents of SHIELD add to the universe it’s situated in, most spin-offs crash and burn. Alien vs Predator, anyone?

While, I like the idea of expanding the universe Tris and Four inhabit, I don’t like how Lionsgate is handling the entire situation. Even Shailene Woodley, our Tris Prior was blindsided by the decision. When speaking to reporters at Comic Con, Woodley had this to say: Honestly, I was on a plane when all that happened, and I landed and I’m like, ‘Whoa, what’s going on?!’” she said. “I need to talk and find out what the details are.” Does anyone else feel like this is a publicity stunt gone awry on Lionsgate’s end?

Allegiant, while I’ve not seen the film yet, ends on a bit of a cliffhanger from my understanding. Not only that but many of the actors, including Woodley herself, may not return for the finale if it’s moved to television screens. To that I ask, what’s the point of even finishing up the film series? There is no point. I don’t care how amazing the universe is and how many ideas one can come up with in a dystopian Chicago of Veronica Roth’s imagination. To be frank, I want to know what she thinks of all of this. In the end, Roth has to give the okay for a TV show, does she not? And if she doesn’t, what position will Lionsgate be in?

To be honest, I don’t understand why the writing team doesn’t do an extensive rewrite. Yes, yes, I understand that rewrites are arduous and take time but Lionsgate has dropped the ball on adapting the book series since the second installment Insurgent. Why not take a moment, step back, and put the train back on the tracks? If they have enough ideas for a spin-off television show, why can’t they go back to the drawing board and fix the fourth film and go ahead and release it to cinemas anyway at a later date? To me, that’d make the most sense. Not only for the cast but for the studio and the fans.

Of course, all of this comes on the heels of the report that Allegiant is number one in DVD sales, a report that surprises no one, by the way. Why can’t the studio take this into account before fully committing to a pointless finale and an even more pointless spin-off? They’re still making money on Allegiant and from what I’ve read and heard, despite it’s performance at the box office, a lot of fans actually enjoyed it. If the film is still making a profit and recouping its budget, then, obviously, the film is still viable in the cinemas in some way, shape, or form.

Lionsgate needs to back the frick frack up and think about things before they go and do something they’ll regret even later on down the road. The fans want a proper ending with the entire cast. The fans want to see Ascendant on the big screen with Woodley, Theo James, Miles Teller and Ansel Egort still on board. The fans don’t want a TV movie and to be honest, a spin-off is risky move for the studio. So, no, we’re not happy about the news. Yes, I hated even having to write this article because the whole thing is a load of bollocks. Give us Ascendant and leave a crappy, under budget, TV movie on the cutting room floor. If this whole plan ends up coming to fruition, I may have to never support the studio again. Period. Under any circumstance, because, come on. Let’s face it. They’ve cocked it up enough as it is. Let’s not do any more damage to an a wholly under appreciated franchise, okay?

What do you guys think of this ludicrous move? Should Lionsgate be stupid and go through with this plan? I want to hear your thoughts. Let us know on Twitter or in the comments below. Now, please excuse me while I go fume and utter expletives under my breath about this whole thing.

Shelby Arnold
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