Divergent: 5 Options For This Future Franchise

Divergent

“One Choice

One Choice, decided your friends.

One Choice, defines your beliefs.

One Choice, determines your loyalties – Forever.

ONCE CHOICE CAN TRANSFORM YOU”

– Veronica Roth, Divergent

Beatrice Prior is born into a society somewhere in future Chicago, where most of your life depends on one single choice. Raised in the faction of Abnegation (the selfless), she must choose between staying with her family, friends and neighbors or transferring to another faction and staying true to her own, rather selfish nature. At age 16, she must take an aptitude test that will decide her suitability for either Abnegation, Amity (the kind), Candor (the honest), Dauntless (the brave) or Erudite (the intelligent). What Beatrice doesn’t know: she is Divergent, one of the few people who have aptitude for several factions – and that for some reason rarely survive faction initiation.

With millions of copies sold, sequel movies confidently lined up for 2015 and ’16 and the budget for the first film raised from $40 to $80 million, Divergent is sure to attract audiences come March 21st. The trilogy is a particular blend of Young Adult fiction, Sci-Fi and the Dystopian Future genre that has already proved its effectiveness with The Hunger Games – and even more so with its sequel, Catching Fire. The dystopian tale is omnipresent now, especially in YA fiction, proving that the genre is overflowing with popularity at the moment, readers swallowing the stories that function as a mirror to our own society.

Not every story that works on the paper works on the screen though. In its attempt to turn some of the most successful book series of today and yesterday into successful franchises, Hollywood has had its fair share of Box-Office disasters in the past few years. Readers, film buffs and critics alike picked the film adaptation of Eragon to pieces and few people even bothered to go to see this year’s City of Bones in cinema. Other YA book-to-movie adaptations did turn into grand successes but failed to earn the respect of the film industry and grown-up audience.

Where does all of this leave the upcoming Divergent film? Let’s have a look at the possibilities and run a modified version of the aptitude test on this franchise in the making.

5. The ‘Eragon’/ ‘Inkheart’ (the lazy)

Eragon
Will Divergent be just another bland adaption with a blond protagonist?

For studios, adapting a series of books to the screen means a financial risk, while fans of these books face an emotional risk when trying to decide whether to watch the adaptation. Hence, studios must consider this emotional risk and try to cut it by studying the source material thoroughly and trying to apply their knowledge to the production of the film. The makers of the above movies surely never considered this aspect.

The scripts could have been – and may have been – written merely based on the synopsis of the books, ignoring major plot devices and thereby blocking the way for sequels to come. From wrong hair colours to characters left out of the film, it’s hard to find anything likable about adaptations of this kind. It certainly doesn’t help that the newcomers either show no apparent acting skills (Eliza Bennett in Inkheart) or have no possibility to do so (Ed Speleers in Eragon) – not even to mention the scandalously wasted talents of grand names (Brendan Fraser and Jeremy Irons in Inkheart and Eragon, respectively).

Even with a startling budget of $100m, Eragon was by far no box-office disaster, even though it had the potential for much more, whereas the rather unknown adaptation of Inkheart only earned $2m over its budget. Divergent with its slightly more modest budget and oceanic following is therefore unlikely to leave a hole in the wallets of its producers. Quality-wise we can count on the comparatively experienced director Neil Burger (as compared to a one-flop-wonder and B-movie director) who already proved his ability to unite entertainment and social commentary in 2011’s Limitless. Besides, with Shailene Woodley and Theo James in leading roles, the film will rest on strong shoulders. Let’s just hope that Vanessa Taylor’s influence will be greater than that of her co-writer Evan Daugherty – if so, everything should work out just fine for Divergent.

Aptitude: excluded.

4. The ‘Twilight‘ (the horny)

twilight stare
Will Divergent opt for stares or go physical?

What made Twilight successful then was its premise – sexual tease suited for the teenage girl. Which also explains why the storyline was altered to fit into a predictable love triangle – more space for Taylor Lautner. And then some people just watched it because it was Twilight, being fans of the books and/ or wanting a good laugh. However, as this explanation suggests, the Twilight series was a major flop among critics and never gained much acclaim among audiences with even just a slightly demanding taste.

It’s not a spoiler that there’s more sex in Divergent than in Twilight – after all, Tris falls in love with a tattooed, knife-throwing 18-year old instead of a cold-skinned, pale vampire that has walked Earth for more than 100 years. Surely, this is going to help its marketing and has in fact already been used in some romantic, sexy posters and wallpapers. However, there is little room for a love triangle if the story isn’t changed completely, so we can aspire to finally get some originality from this franchise in that aspect (even The Hunger Games couldn’t let its fingers from dramatizing the triangle). So far, the atmosphere of the film can only be judged by the trailer, but it does look like the adrenaline ride that the book provided. And again, the cast and crew should help the film acquire a higher level of quality than the adaptation of the Twilight series.

Aptitude: poor.

3. The ‘Percy Jackson‘ (the quirky)

Percy_jackson_tattoo
Will Divergent surprise us with some secret ink?

For two films that performed underwhelmingly at the box-office, the Percy Jackson series has one of the most steadfast fan communities in the world. With the films being neither the big success producers hoped for nor the major flop that critics wouldn’t have minded, the adaptations of the sequels of this series are yet to be determined – but the fans are doing everything they can by creating petitions and ripping the DVDs and BluRays from the shelves. Even as a book series, Percy Jackson and the Olympians isn’t for everyone; a middle grade fantasy story that mixes greek mythology with adventure is just too exotic to appeal to a wide audience.

The films changed huge parts of the story, mixing up characters and subplots until they’ve made it clear that they’re neither the straight-forward nor the confusingly disappointing adaptations we’re so used to. The whole franchise is a little on the trashy side, but it doesn’t take itself very seriously. From the iconic ‘This is a pen’ meme to Dylan Neil’s portrayal of a modern-day Hermes to the entrance to hell just by the Hollywoodland Sign, the Percy Jackson films are original, fun adaptations of an entertaining source material.

Judging only from its target audience, Divergent has much more potential to reach a wide audience than the PJO series. The Percy Jackson books are clearly targeted towards young teenage boys, whereas the films try to reach both these, their parents and the young adults. Confused parents don’t know what to expect and don’t take their young teenage boys, leaving only the young adult readers that are crazy enough to have read a 5-book-series of middle grade fiction. Divergent however is so much more precise in its approach, and it does help that The Hunger Games has beaten the path already.

There is a big hype for the Divergent series in the growing community of Young Adult readers, so they are sure to go and see it, most probably taking their friends that haven’t read the films yet. And every adult that Caught Fire back in November will at least keep track with the reviews of Divergent once it releases. As for story changes; there is only one minor change in the trailer – and even that one could be different in the film (trailers do tend to confuse things). Overall, the prospects of Divergent becoming the next Percy Jackson are frail.

Aptitude: poor.

2. The ‘Hunger Games‘ (the thrilling)

katniss-fireballs-hunger-games-600x400
How long will it take for audiences to catch the fire of Divergent?

Since the release of Catching Fire, there is no question about the future of the film adaptation of Mockingjay, the remaining book in the Hunger Games series anymore. Skeptics enjoyed this second installment in the series, critics praised it and fans have no words. This was not always the case; back when The Hunger Games (the first film) was released, it was just another YA book adaptation with a relatively unknown actress in the lead and Stanley Tucci wearing a blue wig. Although it was a decent success, the muttering about the use of the shaky cam and the film’s resemblance to the Japanese hit Battle Royale went on. But Catching Fire burnt whatever doubts anyone could have about this franchise to the ground with much better CGI fire than its predecessor and a plot that offered food for thought.

It wouldn’t be bad for Divergent if it continued along the same path as The Hunger Games. Both series (in book form) take their time setting up for the two sequels in the first books – explaining their respective worlds and rules and introducing their characters explicitly. Therefore, we can assume that certain viewers will be less intrigued by Divergent than by its sequel Insurgent. Divergent has a limited setting, it takes place in a rather short timeframe and it leaves you with more questions than it answers – this won’t necessarily put audiences off, but it might not intrigue them enough to completely allow themselves to fall in love with the franchise yet either. Meanwhile, we are sure to hear many comparisons to the Hunger Games franchise itself – if so, they will be more fitting than ever.

Aptitude: affirmative.

1. The ‘Harry Potter‘ (the magical)

harrypotter03
Will Divergent succeed in enchanting us?

To most people who haven’t grown up with the original Star Wars movies, Harry Potter is The Ultimate Franchise. It got a hold of them when they were little children, least able to defend themselves, and continued its grip on them for many years to come. Once a Potterhead, always a Potterhead. When the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone started production, big parts of the world were already infected by the virus that J.K. Rowling had set loose with her books. But it took a while for the films to actually become accepted on a more intellectual level.

One of the grandest snubs in the history of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, none of the 8 Harry Potter films ever brought home one single golden statue! And it wasn’t before the third film that grown-up audiences started regarding the franchise as more than a series of harmless children’s movies. Today however, the value of the Harry Potter brand is estimated to $15 billion, and with a stage play and prequel movies in the making, the magic of this franchise is nowhere close to fading.

Comparing the Divergent franchise to the Harry Potter franchise may seem a little harsh and unfair, but it’s only by looking at both the worst and the best that we can find the value of something. Even from an unemotional angle, it doesn’t seem like an exaggeration to pronounce Harry Potter the best franchise that has seen the world. It has united thousands of people in their love for this fictional world, it is a milestone for British cinema and it made more money than most studios can dream of when they decide to start a new franchise.

Divergent, most likely, won’t be able to reach Harry Potter territory – it is most likely to not even come near the numbers that this franchise generated. But the plot twists are there, the painful revelations are there and the magic is, to some extend there. So who knows?

Aptitude: below average.

This leaves us with a high aptitude for a franchise resembling The Hunger Games in production, development and impact. Whatever way it chooses to go, may the odds be ever in the favor of Divergent.

What do you think? Leave a comment.

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73 Comments

  1. Hampton
    0

    I’m glad they have such confidence in the franchise. Unlike many other contenders (ender’s game, mortal instruments et al) this one has a real potential to become Thor to The Hunger game’s Iron man(in terms of success). It is not all magic, romance or slow moving plots. It has an action/fantasy movie feel and can be a good supplement for the HG audience.

    • Mette Marie Kowalski

      Me too. Well, judging from what I hear about the books, both Ender’s Game and The Mortal Instruments had a lot of potential, but somehow the makers messed it all up. You’re right about Divergent though, it’s a very fast-paced, action-thrill ride that is very unlikely to flop.

      • Cassandra Palmer

        The Mortal Instruments is an amazing series that was adapted terribly in my opinion. So much of the story line had unnecessary changes to it and if they were planning to make the next installment, they should have taken out a lot ending to CoB. I’m afraid they will alter the story line in this way with Divergent. Also the books are extremely physical and deal with 16 hear old boys and girls in hand to hand combat with one another and I’m curious if parts of that will be changed or altered. However, I think Kate Winslet was a perfect choice for Jennine. And I agree I feel as though since THG Nd Divergent are both YA Dystopian novels that there will be such similarities between the two—most likely they are drawing the same audience as well; most avid readers that have read one series, has read the other as well.

  2. Milz Fame
    0

    I haven’t read the books, but the trailer looks pretty awful. I roll my eyes an average of about ten times each time I see it…

    • If you haven’t read the books I can see why you think it sounds bad, but trust me the books are amazing! As a fan i’m excited to see this film

      • Mette Marie Kowalski

        Exactly; when I first saw the trailer, I though it looked very bad. But when I watched again after I had read the books, I saw more potential in the franchise. After all, it’s often people that have nothing to do with the film that produce the trailer, so they don’t know what the scenes mean in the context of the film. Having read the books, I can see how there could be more behind the mediocre trailer.

    • 1 st question : if you don’t like it , then why do you watch the trailer?
      And 2 : why do people who don’t even read, try to force there unwanted opinion ? We don’t want THOSE type of people bashing this series !

      • Sometimes trailers are forced on people (e.g. on TV, previews at the theater)so it’s not like this person is actively seeking out the trailer to fuel hate or anything. OP just stated an opinion on the trailer which fans have pointed out to be pretty awful. It’s not like it’s an ignorant opinion on the whole series. Just the trailer. Calm down.

    • I agree. I haven’t read the books at when I first saw the preview I just sort of rolled my eyes. However the movie seems to be getting a lot of positive press and I think it has potential.

  3. Sci-fi made a shift in the years after 1984 when, 1984 didn’t happen and people were well relieved. The dystopian nature of sci-fi kind of died off for psuedo dystopian horror, like Aliens and so forth but never really left the sense of realism that Blade Runner put on screen and A Scanner Darkly put on paper, the trend is to more Utopian with a threat of Dystopian much like the new Eylsium, but I have noticed that Orwellian fiction is making a come back, which should tell us something about our society. Looking forward to this movie.

    • Mette Marie Kowalski

      Thanks for the interesting background information there, Ivanek. I haven’t read 1984 (yet) but knowing about the plot, I think you’re right about a comeback of Orwellian fiction. This is all very exciting, isn’t it?

  4. Jessica Koroll

    I like this article a lot! It’s a very creative approach and you’ve offered up a varied analysis that has me even more intrigued about this franchise. It’s interesting to watch how film studios continuously try to recreate the success and magic of Harry Potter through a string of YA series that differ so much from one another.

    • Mette Marie Kowalski

      Thank you, Jessica! Harry Potter showed what a YA series is able to do, the success it is able to achieve, and that’s something everyone wants to achieve too – be it book-wise or movie-wise. I’m glad you’re excited about Divergent and I hope I haven’t aimed too high with my prediction.

  5. Jimmie Kelly
    0

    I read the THG book after watching the movie because I was confused about why it was called The Hunger Games. I thought that the dystopian society from the book wasn’t explained enough in the movie, everyone looked pretty well fed and healthy, there was no explanation in the movie as to why they lived the way they did. There was so much interesting political stuff and history in the book that the movie just ignored. I hope the adaptation of Divergent will be faithful to the book.

    • Mette Marie Kowalski

      That’s the one point I find annoying about the THG films; they don’t look hungry and the Hunger is never explained. Of course it’s a complex issue; Jennifer Lawrence didn’t want to be too skinny in connection with her being a role model, so it does make sense. I think one is able to enjoy the movies better when one has read the books though, definitely.
      Of course I hope they’ll be faithful to the Divergent books too, especially when it comes to the violence and the more erotic scenes. They shouldn’t be cut in order to make the film more ‘teenage-friendly’.

  6. Mizz Sharp
    0

    Big fan of the book, not a big fan of the constant stream of book adaptations. I work at a book store and there are dozens of these “teenagers fighting to the death” books that have just been released in the past 3 years or so. Let them simmer for awhile and see which ones actually survive the tests of time. Maybe if they had done that with The Host… just saying.

    • Yvonne Davidson
      0

      I find that authors are really targeting this genre because it is highly desirable in Hollywood right now. I found The Hunger Games (series), The Maze Runner (series), and Divergent (series) to be written like screenplays.

      • Mette Marie Kowalski

        to Yvonne: That’s another aspect, right? So many books are coming out and it’s pretty sure most of them are going to be made into movies just because of their huge fanbase. And yes, the books are pretty easy to read, it’s not much about the prose in itself, the beauty of the language or anything. Which is both good and bad, depending on who you are and in what mood you are.

    • Mette Marie Kowalski

      Good point – everybody seems to be wanting to make more money out of books at the time. I haven’t seen nor read The Host but I hear the book is much better than the film, so you’re probably right. The movie was probably rushed due to the success of both the Twilight series and YA adaptations in general.

  7. Mak_toob
    0

    Divergent and Insurgent were actually good….but I was more of a Fallen fan then a Divergent fan…either way The Hunger Games is still better.

    • Mette Marie Kowalski

      It is better, definitely, it’s more complex and a tad more realistic. But I just liked the fun I had with this series. I haven’t seen Fallen yet, I might check it out now that you’ve recommended it.

  8. I’m more then certain that the same thing that happened to the Mortal Instruments will happen to Divergent. They are all ready planing ahead of time, Divergent hasn’t even come out and to be honest the first trailer doesn’t have much impact, you don’t even really understand what the book is about. I have read the book series and I thought the only good book was Divergent but I don’t really think its going to be a hit. They will have to “stop production” on Insurgent when they realize that Divergent was a flop and so on!!

    • Iris Santiago
      0

      Yeah I haven’t read the books but I had a moderate amount of interests in the movie(nothing too big but nothing I wouldn’t mind seeing) but the trailer came out and it was the worst thing a trailer could be..boring. No emotion that hit(except thinking “Oh hey, she’s getting her hair done, just like Katniss did before her reaping) and thinking “oh Kate Winslet and Maggie Q”…

      • Mette Marie Kowalski

        Okay, well it’s good to have some different opinions here. You might be right of course, I just hope you’re not, since I see the potential in the franchise. I guess there’s nothing to do but to wait and see…

    • The trailer was HORRIBLE!!! They are marketing it like the Hunger Games in hope of atracting “tributes” or hunger game fans but I really doubt it will earn its budget. It cost like 80 million which seems way too much for this kind of movie. Lionsgate just thinks every book to movie adaptation it does is going to be a “smash hit”

      • Mette Marie Kowalski

        The 80 million seem a bit over-enthusiastic, sure. I wonder if the initial 40 would have been enough. But perhaps it will work, it is a lot of money to risk so they might be right about their faith in the movie.

  9. Samantha Lee
    0

    The one criticism I have of the trailer is that I think they ought to have shown more of the simulation stuff. That aspect is what really what sets this story apart from the others, and the visual appeal would catch people’s attention.

    • Mette Marie Kowalski

      True, and the one simulation scene they show is actually from a different part in the book, not the aptitude test. It was one of the reasons I decided to read the books and find out more though, so I hope they’ll show more of these things, definitely.

  10. People need to realize that this series is NOTHING like the Hunger Games, it’s totally different. Different plot, ideas, characters, everything. And it’s not all happy endings either, there’s a lot more tragedies in this series but its still AMAZING. And if these books are saying anything, it’s that our society and the way we live our lives, we need to get it together and appreciate what we have and not take things for granted and the ease at which we can live.

    • Mette Marie Kowalski

      It’s very different, yes. The hair cutting scene must be a coincidence, at any rate it has different meaning in the two books (except for the fact that it’s right before both of them have to leave their families). The endings of the books have the same kind of feel to me because I think they’re realistically ‘happy’ – but they are very different.

  11. Horace Floyd
    0

    Divergent was ONLY ok. Insurgent was insufferable and boring, and Allegiant is one true definition of abomination. No I will not be seeing this film nor devote my time to the trilogy as I did to those TERRIBLE books.

    • Mette Marie Kowalski

      It’s your choice, Horace, so of course I have nothing against it. Personally, I’ll want to see how it goes with my own two eyes.

    • Neil Weaver
      0

      If you hated the first and second book why did you even read the third?

  12. SALVADOOOR
    0

    I love it 🙂 as fan I am very happy and very excited. At first I wasn’t sure about cast not I really like it.

    • Mette Marie Kowalski

      Great! I wasn’t completely sure either but I’ve heard so many good things about Shailene Woodley that I think it looks good. Miles Teller is in it too, btw.

  13. Just finished reading the first book… Definitely gonna give Hunger Games a run for its money.

  14. On the scale of Twilight (putrid) to Harry Potter (awesome), Divergent just looks somewhere in the middle. Doesn’t absolutely grab my interest but doesn’t make me immediately think it looks awful the way say City of Bones or Beautiful Creatures did. Better probably than the other recent attempts to bring YA novels to life but not quite to caliber of the Hunger Games or HP. Least they have Kate Winslet

    • Vicky Mccoy
      0

      Its the subject matter. Even in fantasy, dystopia and sci-fi, the author is responsible to create a BELIEVABLE world. I tried to resonate with Divergent idea for three books but it all came down to this: being brave & honest at the same time does not make you a special snowflake that brings down entire society. Aside from religious undertones and anti-knowledge stance, the world itself is completely UNBELIEVABLE.

      • Mette Marie Kowalski

        Hmm I disagree a little bit with you here. I could believe the world of Divergent, at least some time into the second book. It makes sense, especially when you know the background of the city. I also didn’t see any religious undertones, on the contrary, Veronica Roth made it very clear that not everyone in the world of Divergent believes in God, and you’re accepted no matter if you do or not.

        • If a character is portrayed as having a self-sacrificial streak, religious parallels will be drawn. Can’t say I completely agree that Divergent is a religious allegory of some sort but I can definitely see why people would make the claim.

      • Cassandra Palmer

        I have trouble with the believability of Divergent. But mostly with the last installment Allegiant. It just gets kind of out of control that these teenagers are saving their world like–THG was believable– Divergent not so much. There’s a lot of flaws I’ve found in Veronica Roth’s writing, no offense to her. That’s just my take on it.

    • Mette Marie Kowalski

      That comes pretty close to my own expectations. I heard from many people that Beautiful Creatures was much better than the (granted) horrible trailers indicated.

  15. Arlinka Larissa

    I saw the trailer recently and I don’t think I’ll see the movie except if its the only movie I haven’t seen in the cinemas. My 15-year-old sister is a Divergent fan and even she doesn’t think that the trailer looks good.
    Really can’t stand this new stream of fantasy “Young Adults” books. I grew up reading Harry Potter and the Inkheart trilogy, but it feels like the standards have dropped low over the years, even though I’m only 20 now.
    Last YA series I indulged on was the Hunger Games, which starts well and promising at first but declines by the first chapter of Mockingjay. The movies are great though, especially Catching Fire, but I don’t think that any of these new YA adaptations are gonna cut it like THG does on the big screen.
    But we shall see, I might end up being very wrong.

    • Mette Marie Kowalski

      There’s a big fan community of fantasy, sci-fi and dystopian future YA books that’s very active online, so publishers and authors are basically just supplying that demand. The question of quality is another one however, and it’s most likely to drop when there are such mainly monetary reasons behind the publishing. I think that especially the sequels get pushed too fast often and the author doesn’t have time to write the best they can.
      I’m very curious for the film, there are lots of different opinions on it as far as I can gather and that’s great!

  16. lightscamerareaction.co.uk
    0

    I don’t think it’ll be as bad as the Twilight series, but I can’t see it being as successful as Harry Potter, or even The Hunger Games. That’s just the assumption I have after hearing people’s views who have read the book.
    I really like Shailene Woodley, she was excellent in The Spectacular Now and The Descendants, so I hope this works out for her.

    At least it’ll be better than The Mortal Instruments, I don’t think anything can be as bad as that haha.

    Nice writeup!

    • Mette Marie Kowalski

      Well, there’s the little twist of the Twilight series being quite successful, remember? 😉 But I see your point.
      I haven’t actually seen Woodley in anything, but judging from trailers and people’s opinions, she’s a star in the making.

      And I haven’t seen Mortal Instruments yet either but I will when I’ve read the book(s). Even though I don’t want to.

  17. Jennifer Carr

    Great article – it really addresses the nature of YA adaptations and how they can be hit or absolute miss. I have big hopes for Divergent – I just started reading the series and it’s very interesting. I guess we’ll have to wait and see how the movie does.

  18. Intriguing article. I found myself having a contrary viewpoint to the one presented in this article concerning the Harry Potter films never having earned an Oscar as a snub. None of the films were in the top tier such as the Lord of the Rings trilogy. However Catching Fire was a great film, better than the novel it is based on, and not just a great YA film. I believe the change of director was the reason for it. Francis Lawrence made it feel grander than Gary Ross did.

    • Mette Marie Kowalski

      Thanks man! Well, you’re free to think so but I’m of the opinion that at least, at the very least, some of the actors would have deserved to be nominated, or the technical crew (so many practical effects!). I would’ve been fine if Alan Rickman would be the only one ever nominated for an HP film. Anyway, I agree on Catching Fire… though I’m not sure whether it’s better than the book because I need to re-read it. The change of director is certainly one improvement.

  19. I love the angle that you took on this article. Having read all the books you have listed, I completely agree that the highest aptitude for Divergent is the Hunger Games. Today, YA books are all a hit or miss, and its nice to have a fresh perspective on them. I have high hopes for Divergent. If it turns out anything like Twilight, there will be such disappointment. I can’t wait to see how the Movie turns out.

  20. The structure of the article was very clever!
    I’ve read the book (Divergent, at least) and I’m really curious to how they’ll manage to explain the whole culture of dividing people into factions based on their personality. It’s one thing to read about it–and even then I found it a little hard to believe–but I’m not sure how they’ll be able to translate that into the movie without being really heavy-handed about it or having a long voice-over.

    • Mette Marie Kowalski

      And that’s exactly what I hope they won’t do, really. I hope they’ll find a clever way of showing what’s going on without a heavy voice-over and stuff.
      Thank you!

  21. I really did enjoy the first two books in the Divergent trilogy and I’m a big fan of Shailene Woodley, so I do hope the film is a success. However, part of me can’t see this being a phenomenon in the same way that Harry Potter or The Hunger Games are. I loved the story up until the last book, Allegiant. I think Roth harmed her chances of movie franchise success with how she decided to end the series. It was too bitter-sweet for a YA novel, in my opinion.

  22. I agree that Divergent’s impact will be like that of the Hunger Games since they have a number of similarities. Shailene Woodley is a great actress and I hope her acting prowess is demonstrated in her portrayal of Beatrice Prior. But judging from the trailer I get the feeling that the movie may not be as successful as the Hunger Games. Time will tell.

    • Mette Marie Kowalski

      We will. I think that the first movie might go kind of in the direction of the first Hunger Games film that wasn’t perfect at all, but still solid. And then the second part could knock it out of the park if they’re clever. But sure, it could be a disaster too.

  23. Great article! I agree with your end idea, THG is probably the closest comparison to Divergent, production/marketing/audience-wise. I don’t think it will quite measure up to THG, but I’m hopeful it will do well!

    I saw a few comments mentioning the movie adaptation of The Mortal Instruments, and I’ve been sending up my prayers for the past few months that Divergent won’t have the same fate. The Mortal Instruments is a great book series, and the script/development/casting/acting definitely didn’t get the detailed attention it deserved.

    • Mette Marie Kowalski

      Thank you, Kaitlin.

      I have never read TMI, but it’s on my read-list and when I’ve read it I’ll check out the seemingly awful movie adaptation.

  24. I really loved your article and I think you showed some great comparisons. What’s infuriating me is the constant comparison to THG (Two book series that I extremely loved), but I can understand why with the dumb trailers and all, but there’s a new trailer and TV spot which kind of explain the plot a bit more (unlike the teaser and official trailer). I just hope it doesn’t flop as I have high hopes for the movie!

    • Mette Marie Kowalski

      It’s becoming more visible around the internet and in magazines recently, so I agree, hopefully it doesn’t flop. It’s easy to compare it to THG which is why I did it too but you have to look further than that as well.

  25. Bookworm

    I like the creative way you categorized popular franchises and measured Divergent’s “aptitude” against each one; it is clever, funny, and insightful. I really do hope your analysis is accurate and we will have another Hunger Games-esque film and not another Eragon or City of Bones fiasco on our hands. Disagree with you on Percy Jackson entirely though, I was a huge fan of the book series growing up and the films making me livid. Anabeth’s hair…I’ll say no more. It’s better if I restrain the rage.

  26. Bookworm

    What do you think about Shailene Woodly as the choice for Tris? I’m not a fan of her work in that ABC Family show, but I see how she might have the potential to pull off this role. Neither she nor Theo James look anything like the descriptions of their characters, but it actually doesn’t bother me all that much because I get the sense that they harness the essence of the roles. Plus Theo James is dreamy.

    • Mette Marie Kowalski

      Annabeth’s hair freaked me out too, but they changed it in the second film… her eyes are perfect though and I really like the actress. Love Woodley as Tris, I just saw The Spectacular Now in which she was truly spectacular. You’re right, they don’t look exactly as described but I think the make-up crew did what they could… Also, I read the books knowing about her casting so I kind of imagined her as I read. Theo James looks sexy and dreamy, I just hope he can pull of the acting too.
      Glad you enjoyed the article!

    • Taylor Epps

      I can’t say I agree with this casting choice. Shailene Woodly seems to be such a frail body woman who can’t seem to develop past a teenage body. I love her face, her voice, she’s a great actress– but physical casting plays a huge role in why an audience wants to see a movie. If I’m going to be looking at your face for the next 2.5 hours– you better be decent to stare at– Shailene’s got this down– but her body is seriously lacking.
      I wanted so badly to watch her get stronger as she seemed to in the books but there was literally ZERO physical development through the film. They also combined books 1&2 pretty intensely so some kind of physical development for Tris and Four was expected– however, not delivered.
      I am a huge proponent for stars being healthy and strong, but to do the job you do, you’ve got to develop somewhat with the character. Why didn’t Shailene get more muscular from all of that training anyways ? Weird.

  27. Just based on the trailers and the casting alone, I agree with the sentiment that Divergent is at low risk for going the way of Eragon/TMI. Perhaps the root of what went wrong with Eragon and City of Bones can be found in the mishandling of the supernatural. I felt City of Bones failed because the people in charge of the movie were intimidated by the task of explaining this fantastical world to a movie-going audience. Had they stuck to the original story, this wouldn’t have been a problem. It all comes down to the money. They thought they were being conservative by modifying the supernatural, but they actually took a greater risk changing it. Harry Potter did not fall into this trap because they took the time to explain. Divergent and THG are bare-bones dystopian stories, so they shouldn’t fall into this trap either.

    It remains to be seen whether or not Divergent will reach THG proportions. At the very least, I am expecting it to come close, and I don’t think I’m alone. It will be interesting to see if these expectations influence the way loyal YA readers view the movie. If the books are any indication, the movie will not have problems finding an audience. What makes Divergent, THG and Harry Potter different is the fact that they attract readers of all different ages and appeal to both genders. Divergent is almost set to succeed as long as they stick to the original story.

    • Mette Marie Kowalski

      From what I’ve heard, Divergent has a little more specified target audience (young + female) but I hear you. And I also think from the box office numbers that it’s closer to THG status than I had expected.

  28. I’m going with number 5

  29. Elaina Chastain

    These books were great! Hopefully the films do them justice 🙂 Great and unique piece! 🙂

  30. I think that regardless of how the series does, which it has already proved to be doing quite well, the lessons and the story line written about are very important! All of these series such as Harry Potter and Hunger Games, teach very important lessons to all different ages and all will be remembered no matter how the critics and media perceive it! Great article!

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