The future of the Divergent series has been up in the air recently, with rumors suggesting Lionsgate might shift the series finale to TV instead of going for a theatrical release. A number of people haven’t been happy with this speculation, with one of the most outspoken being series star Shailene Woodley; recent comments suggested that she might step away from the franchise, as she “didn’t sign up to be in a television show.”
Woodley has since clarified her stance on reprising her role as Tris, however, and offered a general update on where things are at the moment with Lionsgate. She’s more than willing to return to the part, provided that it doesn’t go the made-for-TV route.
Speaking to Savannah Guthrie and Willie Geist on Monday’s Today show, Woodley made it clear that she wasn’t stepping away from the role just yet. Geist asked her if it was true that she wouldn’t do a fourth movie, to which she replied:
“Well, I mean, if it’s a movie. [laughs] They haven’t finalized any decisions, so it’s actually a moot point to talk about it now, out of respect to Lionsgate and everyone involved. I’m not exactly sure where they stand so we are kind of all in a limbo game.”
She went on to explain how much she would enjoy returning to the role:
“I signed up to tell the whole story of Tris, and I would love to be able to do that. Nothing would make me happier.”
The move from theatrical release to a TV finale could be awkward in a number of respects, and may cause problems for Lionsgate if they choose to move in that direction. In addition to the potential loss of Woodley, it’s possible that other series stars might balk at signing up for a TV-based finale after starring in feature films. Lionsgate might not have much room to force the matter, either, since the actors’ contracts likely just cover the movies; the studio might end up having to sweeten the pot if it hopes to retain its major stars, which could negate some of the cost savings that would accompany a shift from theatrical release to a TV premiere.
Some might wonder whether the fourth film will be made at all at this point, since disappointing box office returns and the controversy surrounding a possible shift to a TV finale have likely dampened the appeal of the series. With the studio already putting so much work (and money) into the series, though, it could very likely want to see the series finished regardless. If nothing else, a complete series could drive video sales with a multi-film bundle. With Woodley saying that Lionsgate hasn’t finalized any decisions, though, for now it seems that we’ll have to just wait and see what happens with the final film.
We’ll keep you updated on Divergent: Ascendant as more information becomes available.