How the 'Allegiant' Movie Diverges From the Book

The Divergent Series: Allegiant - Part 1 - H 2016
Courtesy of Lionsgate

Executive producer Todd Lieberman and castmembers talked to THR ahead of the film's New York premiere about how faithful the movie is to Veronica Roth's third novel.

[Warning: The following story contains spoilers from The Divergent Series: Allegiant.]

Fans of the Divergent novels are in for quite the surprise with the next installment of the movie adaptations, Allegiant. The film, which hits theaters March 18, is the third movie in the franchise and based on part of the third book, which has been split into two final movies.

Just as Insurgent had some book-to-movie differences like the mystery box, Allegiant changes plot points in the film, which could set up a completely different ending for the final movie, Ascendant.

In the book and movie, Tris (Shailene Woodley), Four (Theo James) and their friends discover that their world was all part of an experiment involving genetic modifications, leaving some people "pure" and others "damaged."

David, played by Jeff Daniels, is the leader of the Bureau of Genetic Welfare and although it doesn't take Four long to realize he is evil, it takes Tris a while longer to catch on. In the novel, a memory-erasing serum plays a big role in the story, as it does in the film. In both the movie and the book, when Tris realizes David plans to wipe the memories of her hometown using a gas version of the memory serum, she springs into action against him. 

However, the way the action plays out is different in the third movie. In the film, David gets Four's mother Evelyn, (Naomi Watts), to disseminate the memory serum but she has a crisis of conscience. Peter (Miles Teller) then gets involved in a way that puts Evelyn in grave danger. (When this scene was shown at the New York City premiere of the film March 14, there were audible gasps from the audience.)

The movie's ending is sure to leave fans intrigued about what will happen in the final film. (Major spoiler ahead for non-book readers.) 

At the end of the Allegiant novel, Tris dies as she disseminates the memory serum to those in the bureau's compound, including David, in an attempt to stop them from further discriminating and abusing "genetically damaged" people. Many fans have expressed a desire for Tris to live in the films, a change that would be quite controversial.

The changes in the third movie do not necessarily mean that the fourth movie will result in a completely different end for Tris; however, it opens the door to new plot points and twists that were not in the third novel.

"While the book is split into two, we felt like we had a really great opportunity in this one to tell a very compelling story outside of what has been told in the first two movies," executive producer Todd Lieberman told The Hollywood Reporter at the NYC premiere.

Lieberman and other castmembers spoke with THR on the red carpet before Monday night's screening about how the book compares to the movie, and how they believe the core of the novels is retained despite any changes. Here's more:

Todd Lieberman on making a movie out of a complicated novel:

"What was important for us in this movie was we're getting outside the wall, so we feel like we're starting with a big concept of what is over the wall. So once we get over the wall, we get to create this whole entire world of what the bureau is and we're lucky enough to get Jeff Daniels to play David who runs the bureau, so we're creating this entire world out there, and then we get to tell this entire story within the bureau. While the book is split into two, we felt like we had a really great opportunity in this one to tell a very compelling story outside of what has been told in the first two movies."

Lieberman on breaking the Allegiant novel into two movies and where the first movie ends.

"The thing about this book is there was so much material in it that I feel like for any of these franchises, this one actually had a natural breaking point." 

Keiynan Lonsdale (Uriah) on the book and movie:

"I think the core of the book and the heart of the book is always there. It's going to be an interesting thing. I haven't seen the film. So we'll see what happens. But I know the fans are going to love it. It's going to take some of the best parts of the book and it's always great to see how they translate to screen.

Joseph David-Jones (Hollis) on stepping into the franchise with the third film and the ending:

"I think it's always scary when there have been a handful of movies made because everybody's kind of got their cliques and everything. It's hoping everyone's going to be welcoming. Luckily the cast has been so friendly…. I auditioned last year for Uriah…but they brought me in on this third movie in the franchise.... They left it at a cliff-hanger. So it's like we're at a crossroads sort of. So I think a lot of fans are going to be like 'Ahhh!' but they'll want to see the next movie. It definitely stops at a tense moment." 

Andy Bean (Romit) on the end of the third film and the book-to-movie comparisons:

"I've read [the books] but I haven't seen the film yet, so I don't know how it's been pieced together. But I know when we were doing it, they were sticking to what I know are the core themes and the core narrative.

"They left [the movie] in a way that it still matters. There's still tension and a lot more that needs to be proven."