The director of the first Divergent movie, Neil Burger, is speaking about what happened to the film series that he had kicked off so strongly.
Earlier this year we learned that Lionsgate had decided to not release the final Divergent movie in theaters, and to instead shoot it for and release it on television.
This news obviously rocked the fandom, because it’s clear that the studio doesn’t believe they can create a movie worthy of theaters. Ascendant, aka Allegiant, Part 2, will probably be crap.
“I think it’s sad,” said Neil Burger to The Hollywood Reporter. “I was just talking to the people at Lionsgate about something else recently, and it’s just that they got themselves into a difficult bind through various circumstances. I don’t think they feel like they should’ve split [the last book] into two [films]. If they hadn’t, they would’ve been in much better shape, but at the time I’m sure they were excited and they saw some potential there.
“It’s just too bad because I love all those actors, and they were very loyal to it,” he continued. “They’re still really trying to figure out what they’re gonna do with it.”
Burger also pointed out that Lionsgate had a good thing on their hands — until they betrayed the fans. “The expectations of the fans who come with it — that’s a real advantage in a way, because you have a built-in audience, and it’s always hard to find an audience these days, but of course, they have big expectations. And any kind of adaptation — and you’ve seen it with all of these franchises — the books are built in one way and the movie has certain obligations in a different way. They’re often difficult to meet at the same time.”
For whatever reason, Lionsgate decided to take Divergent in a different direction from how Veronica Roth laid it out in the books. And now we’re at a point where they’ve let down both the book fans and potential moviegoers.
It’s still not clear if the original stars (if any of them) will return for the TV movie, which is supposed to serve as a backdoor pilot to a spinoff TV series. Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if Ascendant just doesn’t happen. At all.