Why 'Divergent' Fans Are Bummed About a Two-Part Franchise Finale

Breanne L. Heldman
·New York Bureau Chief, Yahoo Entertainment

Contain your shock: the final movie in the "Divergent" franchise will be divided into two parts.

Like other YA book adaptations before it – namely "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," "Breaking Dawn," and "Mockingjay" – "Allegiant," the third and last book in the trilogy by Veronica Roth, will arrive in movie theaters in two doses: "Part 1" on March 18, 2016, and "Part 2" on March 24, 2017. "Insurgent," the second installment in the series, is already slated for March 20, 2015, and begins production next month.

While fans reacted positively to the first film starring Shailene Woodley and Theo James – it's already grossed more than $117 million domestically after three weeks in theaters – the same can't be said for this news… or the final book, in many cases.

[Related: 'Divergent' Book vs. Movie - The Biggest Differences]

"Online, fans are pretty much upset. They feel taken advantage of, used as a cash cow," Erin Gross of Fangirlish tells Yahoo Movies. "Fans don't see the need to split 'Allegiant,' as a large percentage have complained that the book dragged and was boring."

"Most fans are frustrated by the 'Allegiant' split because out of the various series that have also made this decision, this book arguably has the least amount of material to be sliced into two. To make matters worse, the final book was poorly received by many readers," Andrew Sims, Editor in Chief of Hypable, explains. "I think part of the problem is that many people have split fatigue - that is, they're tired of their favorite books being split into two movies just because they have big box office potential. It's become a predictable decision and one that isn't necessarily justified for any series except for Harry Potter."

[Related: The Next Big Things for the 'Divergent' Cast]

Gross also notes that simply doubling down on a book that had mixed reviews isn't the only downside to the latest announcement. "There is also the amount of time that fans have to wait. As we all evolve, waiting five years for the stories they love to come to an end – it's a hard thing for fans to do," she says. "Fans are worried that they will grow out of their love for the series."

Still, some fans have expressed excitement. "When asked why, their response is 'Theo. More. Theo," Gross says.

Of course, more time with the handsome Brit isn't the only good thing to come out of a fourth movie. "There will be more time to flush out the story," Gross adds. "They have the time to add things, to make things make more sense, to up the tension. They have double the time to get to the nitty-gritty and expand the world so that fans don't feel lost or bored."

[Related: 10 Reasons Why Four from 'Divergent' Is America's New Fantasy Boyfriend]

The studio recognizes they're following a formula that – so far – has worked well. "The storytelling arc and world of the characters lend themselves perfectly to two films, a storytelling strategy that has worked very well for us on the two 'Twilight: Breaking Dawn' films and about which we're tremendously enthusiastic for the two upcoming 'Mockingjay' films of 'The Hunger Games' franchise," Lionsgate Motion Picture Group Co-Chairmen Rob Friedman and Patrick Wachsberger said in a statement.

The announcement has been met with decidedly more negativity than its predecessors. "Harry Potter was the first franchise to make this decision, and since it was so new there wasn't that 'split fatigue' that readers are feeling now," Sims says. "Potter fans could also look at the size of J.K. Rowling's final novel and see that the decision wasn't necessarily a bad one from a page-count perspective, nor was it a bad idea when you consider that the series was epic and needed a proper send off."

"This fan reaction is nothing like those. 'Hunger Games' fans were upset but excited," Gross recalls, but points out that feelings may change. "There is an outcry right now, but, like other fandoms, I am sure fans will wrap their heads around it and embrace it."

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