Divergent Finale Film Ascendant Canceled



Are we finally seeing the end of the multi-part finale? The dystopian YA craze?  Both?

Lionsgate announced yesterday that due to the critical and commercial failure of Allegiant, the third Divergent film, that finale Ascendant has been canceled as a feature film. Lionsgate claims to be shopping around a tv movie and spinoff television series.  Ascendant was to start filming this summer for a June 2017 release.

Divergent was merely cashing in on the pattern that was started by the final Harry Potter book and continued by Twilight and The Hunger Games franchises.   However, Allegiance had a mixed reaction in its book release, while the film was utterly reviled (13% on Rotten Tomatoes- that is worse than any of the Twilight films or Razzie darling Fifty Shades of Grey.)

Critical reception of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 was very positive.  At a Rotten Tomatoes score of 78%, it ties with Order of the Phoenix for the lowest scores of the franchise, but still Certified Fresh. However, Deathly Hallows (whose book celebrates its 9th anniversary today) was a massive door-stopper of an incredibly well-received finale. The choice to split into two movies was widely accepted, with the note that many people wished Goblet of Fire had done the same.

Twilight had a different experience.  While none of the movies were rated particularly well, Breaking Dawn: Part 1 was the most reviled, with a paltry 24% rating. Widely regarded as a filler film intended to cash in on the success of Harry Potter’s split finale, the trick worked on its largely young teenage fanbase.  The Hunger Games: Mockingjay: Part 1 was again the lowest rated film of the franchise, with a 65% score.  Even the positive reviews, however, admit that the story seems stretched too thin and the material should probably have been one film.  Like Divergent, Hunger Games goes rather dark in its ending, but the book was much more well received than Allegiant.

Only time will tell if Ascendant ever actually sees the light of day. Variety admits the Lionsgate has not even begun to pitch the projects.  Digging around on Twitter, none of the stars have commented, though Ansel Elgort has an extremely impressive Pokemon roster. The official Divergent account is also staying mum.

The dystopian craze seems to be dying out, with several Twilight and Hunger Games follow-the-leaders suffering at the box office.  TV seems to be the smarter way to go, with shows such as The Vampire Diaries, The 100, and Teen Wolf able to find footing.  TV’s Shadowhunters has found the success that eluded the film release The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones.  Delirium and The Selection have failed to launch television shows, with the latter failing twice.

I’m hoping this will open the gates for new ideas instead of the constant case of Follow-the-Leader and multi-part finale cash-ins.  What YA books do you hope take off in the absence of this trend?

Today, we celebrate our Independence: a Pretty Nerdy Party


I love throwing parties, and Independence Day is no exception.  But while everyone else is throwing their star-spangled soirees, we are throwing a shindig based on one of America’s greatest treasures

This 1996 gem is a mainstay, so you probably won’t even need to purchase the movie.  Just turn on the TV.  It’s almost definitely on.  Probably playing several times in a row, if we’re being honest.


  • You might be able to scare up some posters on Ebay and Amazon, or you could print up some stills of the film all over your home.  Make sure to place President Whitmore in a place of honor.
  • You could also easily scrounge VHS copies of the film at any thrift store.  If you can round up two or four you can surround a vase with them to make a lovely centerpiece.  In the vase, either go with traditional flowers, or (my recommendation) glow sticks or depending on your local laws, sparklers.

Think this, but with the VHS tapes themselves alternating with the covers.


Food and Drink:

  • Boomer’s Pigs in a Blanket:
    Wrap 97% fat free hot dogs with reduced-fat biscuit dough, so you can run faster and jump higher, improbably avoiding an exploding tunnel.

  • Barbecue, to celebrate the one Steve Hiller thought he should be at
  • White (House) Pizza: sure to be destroyed partway through the party!
  • Red, White, and Blue Firecracker popsicles- both for the missile imagery and for the ‘Murica imagery.
  • Area 51 worms-and-dirt.  Just substitute Oreos and chocolate pudding with graham crackers (or the vanilla Oreos) and vanilla pudding.  Add some gummy aliens.
  • As for beverages?  Anything American (classic soda out of the bottle, lemonade, etc.) or on fire (the flaming shot of your choice) would be more than appropriate.

Party Favors:

Cigars, obviously.

At the end of your party, please be sure to play music from the most corpulent singer you can find, because it ain’t over until the fat lady sings.

Then go see some fireworks.  After all, Captain Hiller promised us fireworks.



I am so not sorry for how excited I am.  My favorite book of 2011 is being made into a film, with the screenplay written by Zak Penn.

Zak Penn helped write X-Men: The Last Stand, but achieved his penance by working on an early script for The Avengers in 2012.  He has also done story or written drafts of childhood favorite The Last Action Hero and widely beloved sequel (phrases you don’t often type) X2: X-Men United.

In related nerd news, he has also been attached to the script for the eagerly awaited Pacific Rim 2.  So within a few years, he may be my best friend or my worst enemy.