Even though Summit Entertainment gave both Insurgent and Allegiant release dates months ago, the first sequel didn’t get its green light until Divergent managed to lock in $4.9 million in Thursday late-night screenings. Now, with $56 million in the bank, Insurgent is heading towards a May start date, and there are quite a few things the filmmakers should consider that could make the second adaptation a hit.
Warning! There are Divergent spoilers below.
Uriah is a Dauntless-born initiate that makes an impression on Tris a handful of times throughout Divergent. Even though Uriah’s name did make it onto the Dauntless initiate ranking board and someone who fit his character description did pop up during the zip-line scene, essentially, he wasn’t in the movie. It’s disappointing because he is a fan favorite, but the first film adaptation was likely better off without him considering he spends most of his time with the Dauntless-born initiates and doesn’t have a significant impact on the flow of the narrative.
Insurgent is another story, though, and producer Douglas Wick recognizes that. While on the Divergent set back in May of 2013, he noted, “The reason on Uriah is really simple, which is it’s such an important part of the second book that it’s hard to get a great actor to come and stay here for three months for thirty seconds because we need you in the group.” Really, he was never even part of the group in Divergent anyway. It was all about Tris, Christina, Al and Will, but now, with two of the four long gone, Tris could use a few more friends and it’s exciting to know that Uriah will be one of them.
Edward is born in Erudite, but transfers to Dauntless and is the top initiate in Tris’ class. In the adaptation, it seems as though the character suffered from some serious scene cutting because while on set, Ben Lamb was front and center, and even participated in a lengthy interview during which he spoke about the infamous eye-stabbing incident and noted that it had been shot. Well, not only did that sequence never make it into the final cut of Divergent, but Edward barely did either. I believe he’s got a single throwaway line and mere minutes of background screen time and that’s it.
Edward’s story does run through Insurgent, but at this point, why would we care? A major reason why he makes such an impression in the second book is because of what he experiences in the first and how that changes him, and now that all of that was left out of the first movie, there’s no reason for that character to take time away from building up more pivotal veteran characters and newcomers in the second.
With Fantastic Four nearing production, it’s possible that Peter’s presence in Insurgent will be scaled back, but, ideally, the more Peter in the movie, the better. He’s unforgettable in the books because he’s rotten to the core, but giving the character just the slightest bit of levity in the movie was an ingenious move. He’s still quite vicious, but thanks to that hint of familiar Miles Teller charm, he’s a serious threat, but, in a sense, an appealing one, too. Peter makes some interesting decisions as the story progresses, some of which give us access to an antagonist’s thoughts like never before, and there’s no doubt that Teller has the ability to make that a striking component of future films if he’s given the material to do it.
We’ve already got the aptitude-test serum, the fear-landscape one, and Jeanine’s simulation serum, but there’s still more to come in Insurgent and they might be tough to sell. The filmmakers pull it off in the first movie because the serums trigger defined events. In Insurgent’s case, however, we’ve got a truth serum and another that literally calms you to put you in a peaceful state. Oddly enough, a serum that puts a person in another realm is a cut-and-dry situation. It happens and that’s that. Telling the truth and feeling euphoric are difficult because they’re sensations that we can relate to. Whereas the simulation serum yields an unheard of result and all there is to do is show what happens, with the truth and peace serum, as well as a number of others, there’s the added challenge of convincing an audience the serum is capable of deviating a norm.
When you have a character kill a friend and then watch both her parents perish, it’s got to have a serious effect. Veronica Roth certainly lets the repercussions ripple throughout the trilogy and it will be pivotal for the folks behind Insurgent to match that because that’s what gives this whole situation weight. Almost every single decision Tris makes in the second book is directly connected to the loved ones she’s lost and the loved ones she’s afraid to lose. In the first film the rules of the world that incited plot progress, but now that we’ve got the basics down, it’s vital that the screenwriters pass the torch to Tris. The luxury of working within the context of the aptitude test, choosing ceremony and initiate training schedule is long gone. Other characters make decisions too, but in order for the new narrative to feel tight and poignant, Tris is the one that needs to move things forward.
Proper Secret Management
Exposition overload is never a good thing, but the exact opposite could be quite problematic, too. The characters in Insurgent are just a bunch of big fat liars. Whether they’re harboring secrets, trying to protect someone or are concealing malicious intents, there is loads of saying one thing, but conspiring to do another and it might be tough to track. The key here will be giving an audience access to the main players and understanding what’s important to them on a deeper level. Based on the quality of performances from the first film, the cast can handle it; it’ll just come down to whether or not the writers and director Robert Schwentke give them the resources needed to make it happen.
It’s easy to explain what it means to be Divergent, but it’s also so much more than testing positive for multiple factions and the first film doesn’t dig very deep in that respect – but it didn’t have to. Divergent is all about the structure of the society, so being Divergent naturally stands out. However, in Insurgent, the faction system is crumbling and, on the surface, it’s largely due to the fact that each group thinks they’re right, but the change is also largely facilitated by what it means to be Divergent, and that’s a concept that deserves some serious screen time.
Insurgent is scheduled for a March 20, 2015 release.
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