Shailene Woodley says ‘No’ to Divergent TV series?
In July, it was reported that the final chapter in The Divergent Series, subtitled Ascendant, will forgo its previously-announced theatrical release (set for June 9, 2017) and instead debut as television movie before spinning off into a series. At the time, negotiations were still ongoing and it was not clear if stars Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Ansel Elgort, and others would return for the Ascendant television movie, but now Woodley has spoken out to Screen Rant about her thoughts on appearing as Tris on the small screen.
“Last I heard they were trying to make it into a television show,” Woodley stated. “I didn’t sign up to be in a television show. Out of respect to the studio and everyone involved, they may have changed their mind and may be doing something different, but I’m not necessarily interested in doing a television show.”
While this is not necessarily a definitive statement on her part, it could mean that the actress is negotiating in the press to take advantage of the fact that she’s not contractually bound to appear in a TV movie. It could also be taken at face value, as the last entry Allegiant grossed a paltry $66 million domestically ($179 million worldwide), indicating that interest in the series has dramatically waned since the nearly $300 million grossed by the second film Insurgent. Even though losing her as the Divergent Series star would wreck havoc on continuity, a switch in formats could be the escape clause Woodley needs to abandon a sinking ship before it takes her down with it. Whatever the case, this is an evolving — and somewhat unprecedented — situation, i.e. halting a series three films in, and right before the grand finale.
Lionsgate’s TV division will handle production of the spin-off series, which is likely to star an all-new cast of characters. Whether its television home will be on a traditional channel or a streaming network also remains to be seen. The storylines involving the feature cast would be finalized with the TV movie, which would also introduce the new cast that would then continue on the series.
Based on author Veronica Roth’s New York Times best-seller, The Divergent Series: Allegiant was to be directed by Lee Toland Krieger (Celeste & Jesse Forever, The Age of Adaline). The blockbuster action adventure franchise has starred Golden Globe nominee Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Academy Award winner Octavia Spencer, and the Oscar-nominated Naomi Watts. Golden Globe-nominated actor Jeff Daniels also joined the ensemble cast for the third film in the franchise, joining a cast that includes Ray Stevenson, Zoë Kravitz, Miles Teller, Ansel Elgort, Maggie Q, Keiynan Lonsdale and Jonny Weston, as well as Mekhi Phifer and Daniel Dae Kim.
The Divergent series of books have been perennial New York Times best-sellers since 2011. Book sales of the Divergent trilogy have surged to over 34 million copies worldwide, up from 17 million at the time of Divergent’s March 21, 2014 release. “Allegiant” sold 455,000 copies on its first day of release in 2013 to break a company record for Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins Publishers. Pre-orders for “Allegiant” exceeded those of any book in the history of HarperCollins.
The three Divergent films have grossed more than $765 million at the global box office and are among Lionsgate’s highest-grossing films domestically outside The Hunger Games and Twilight franchises.