Splitting the final book in a YA series into two films is old hat. Hollywood has a new trick up its sleeve with the final film in the Divergent series: turn the final movie, The Divergent Series: Ascendant (which is already the second part of an adaptation of the final book) into a TV movie, and then use that to launch an ongoing TV series based on the franchise.
Yes, this is actually happening.
Variety is reporting it, saying that negotiations are in the early stages, and no TV channel to home to new series has yet been named.
Now, this is either an daring and innovative new way of milking a property, or a desperate reaction to the fact that the third Divergent movie, The Divergent Series: Allegiant, was a bit of a box office flop. When it was released in March it only managed number two at the US box behind, behind Zootopia… which was on its third weekend. The Hollywood Reporter carried a story earlier this year that the film’s underperformance was going to lead to a massive slash in the budget for the fourth film. Now it’s ending up on TV. That’s some slashing.
Lionsgate’s TV division will handle production of the spin-off series, which is likely to star an all-new cast of characters who will be introduced in the TV movie version of The Divergent Series: Ascendant. It’s not clear if the films series’ stars Shailene Woodley, Theo James and Ansel Elgort will return for the Ascendant television movie.