If you were hoping to see Tris (Shailene Woodley) take to your TV on a weekly basis in a “Divergent” spinoff series, you might not want to hold your breath.
After a sub-par box office performance by “Insurgent,” the plans for the fourth and final “Divergent” movie took a sharp turn towards TV. Rather than a worldwide box office release, Lionsgate announced plans to release the final installment as a TV movie and/or spinoff series, but now that might be out of the question.
Shailene Woodley recently told Screen Rant that she’s not interested in returning to TV any time soon, and she certainly is not committing to a spinoff.
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“Last I heard they were trying to make it into a television show. I didn’t sign up to be in a television show,” Woodley says. “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.”
So far, none of the actors from the film franchise have signed on for the TV movie or potential spinoff series, which throws a huge wrench into the plans for any kind of TV adaptation.
First, and most obvious, it will be pretty impossible to wrap up Tris’ story without Woodley. Yes, they could recast her. But if her reluctance to join a TV project extends to the final “Ascendant” TV movie of the saga, then plans for a spinoff series might be dead in the water.
The most likely premise for this potential spinoff would have been a post-“Divergent” world, after Tris and Four’s mission to save their city is complete. According to the novels, this new story would pick up over two years later, as Chicago rebuilds.
Without a final bookend to the film franchise, it would be hard to truly connect those two stories together. The spinoff would be forced to lead off with a ton of exposition, filling in the holes of what would have happened in the last film, which frankly seems like an embarrassing option. Why not just hire a skywriter to say, “We couldn’t get our movie stars to agree to be on TV,” and be done with it?
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More importantly, skipping “Ascendant” and plowing forward with the aftermath would feel like skipping to the end of a book and only reading the epilogue — confusing, and just not worth it.
The only other alternative for this new — and now unlikely — spinoff would be a prequel to “Divergent” rather than a sequel. Essentially, giving the project a do-over in the years leading up to Tris’ Choosing Ceremony. It’s not out of the question, but not exactly a great plan either.