Veronica Roth doesn’t mind that the Divergent movie franchise was never finished, understanding that the movies and her books were two separate things. The Divergent franchise struggled from the beginning, with the third movie ultimately being a box office flop due to poor execution and failure to capture the complexity of Roth’s novels. The filmmakers made the mistake of dividing the last installment into two parts, further contributing to the series’ downfall and frustrating fans.
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Divergent author Veronica Roth reveals she doesn’t mind that the movie franchise was never finished. Roth published the original Divergent trilogy between 2011 and 2013. The post-apocalyptic Young Adult series quickly became a bestseller, often drawing comparisons to the other hit dystopian YA book series, The Hunger Games. Like Suzanne Collins’ novels, the Divergent books were also adapted for the screen and planned to follow the strategy of dividing the final book into a two-part movie. However, after the first part, The Divergent Series: Allegiant, performed poorly at the box office, the second part, The Divergent Series: Ascendant, was canceled, leaving the franchise incomplete.
In an interview with People, Roth explained that she wasn’t bothered by the fact the Divergent movie franchise ended without a proper conclusion. She harbored no ill feelings toward the adaptations, understanding that breaking the final book into two parts was the norm during that era, and that the movies departed so far from the books that they were really two very separate things. Check out her statement below:
I mean, breaking things in two was all the rage at the time. That was why that decision was made. But at that point, I think I always felt peace about it just because I knew the movies were taking a different track than the books, and if you change the lead up, you change the ending. So I kind of felt like at that point … I feel like that third movie, I don’t know — there’s a lot we could talk about with it. But it’s its own thing. It feels complete to me, relatively speaking, because what does that even mean at that point?
What Happened To The Divergent Movie Franchise?
While The Hunger Games went on to become one of the highest-grossing movie franchises of all time, the Divergent movie franchise crashed by the time its third movie came along. It wasn’t entirely shocking that it never properly concluded, considering that it struggled from the beginning. The first movie was a box office success, as readers of the book flocked to the theater to see the very first adaptation of the novels, though it ultimately received mixed-to-negative reviews. It was only downhill from there as the following two sequels were panned by critics, and the last one was a box office flop.
It’s difficult to see what went wrong when Roth’s books came with a compelling premise, as it takes place in a mysterious dystopian society where everyone is separated into factions and follows the intriguing protagonist, Tris (Shailene Woodley), who struggles against the stringent factions to find her own path. It also boasted successful source material and ensemble cast of high-profile actors. The primary issue was that it was poorly executed, with its two biggest faults being its failure to deliver proper character development, taking vast departures from the Divergent books, and dividing the last installment into two parts.
The movies also failed to capture the complexity of Roth’s novels, which go beyond a society of factions into a complicated plot of manipulation, conspiracy, and conformity that can be hard to follow, but worked well in her detailed novels. Unfortunately, it wasn’t translated well to the screen, as the filmmakers did away with the most complicated parts and morphed the series into action movies with no depth or character growth. Additionally, there was no necessity for the last film to be split into two parts, further raising frustration with the series. Roth is correct, though, that the Divergent franchise and her novels are strictly separate, meaning the movies’ shortcomings don’t need to reflect or impact her books.