Yesterday we told you that the final Divergent movie, titled Ascendant will be skipping movie theaters and heading straight for television, where it will also help springboard a spinoff TV series. But what we didn’t know at the time was that the series’ stars may not be returning for it.
After Variety broke the news yesterday, The Hollywood Reporter added some interesting new info about the shocking story: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Ansel Elgort, and the other stars do have contracts for four movies (obviously), but their agreements require theatrical releases. Since Lionsgate is now skipping a theatrical release for Ascendant, this means “complete renegotiations” are needed.
Shailene Woodley is the only actress who’s been approached for the TV movie so far, but as of right now there’s no deal in place for her to return.
THR adds that most of the stars have not been approached about new deals, and that some tough negotiation battles are likely ahead. Said one actor’s rep, “They haven’t come to us to discuss deals, but if they think they can skimp on actors’ options, they can think again.”
“Sources say many were blindsided by Lionsgate’s plan,” says THR. “Agents say they expect very serious negotiations for their clients. But some feel it would set a dangerous precedent if actors simply go along with a move from film to TV.”
If Lionsgate doesn’t throw enough money at the stars, there’s a good chance they may drop out of the project. And if that happens, it’ll be weird as hell to see new actors stepping in to portray the Divergent characters.
From a career standpoint it may be a bad idea for these stars to return for the movie, even if the money is good. Chances are that Ascendant will not be a good movie (as Lionsgate is telling us by skipping a theatrical release), which could in turn hurt the reputations of the stars.
Honestly, it may be best at this point for Lionsgate to just drop Divergent entirely. Don’t make Ascendant at all. Between screwing up the adaptation of the plot and now dumping a theatrical release which in turn is breaking contracts, they’ve dug a hole that is too deep to climb out of.