Lionsgate, the small studio that went big when it bought the rights to Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games, acquired Veronica Roth’s Divergent three-book series to carry the torch once Katniss Everdeen had fired her last arrow.
Three-quarters into the film tetralogy, the studio is now pulling the last movie in the series, Ascendant, from its planned theatrical release next year, in lieu of a release on television.
According to Variety, the TV-movie would then serve as a springboard to a spinoff series in the same dystopian future. Lionsgate Television Group, which is now handling the production, is looking to add a new cast of characters to Ascendant’s script, to smoothly segue into the new characters on the potential TV series.
It’s not clear at this point, with the entire release format of the fourth movie now changing, if Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Miles Teller, or other cast members will be returning.
Ascendant has had a difficult time from the start, beginning when Allegiant (the last in the book series) divided audiences with its controversial ending.
After the success of the first movie, Lionsgate announced the third, final movie would be split into two. Popular thought around that time was that such bisections were becoming too commonplace, following the same release pattern of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Breaking Dawn, and Mockingjay.
Last year’s Insurgent maintained good box office, despite awful reviews. Allegiant did just as poorly with critics, but was a box office dud to boot.
Robert Schwentke, the director of Insurgent and Allegiant, announced in February that he would not be returning to direct Ascendant. Lee Toland Krieger (The Age of Adaline) has since been hired to direct the climax.
Lionsgate has yet to pitch the post-Divergent TV spinoff to any networks.