A Slice of Divergent Fandom, as seen through Twitter

MaeAAMThe Divergent series may not have the dedicated fandom that Harry Potter and Hunger Games had—otherwise the movies would have done better and this post would not even be necessary. But there is clearly a core group of fans that are most distressed at the news that the final installment (Ascendant) will most likely appear as a TV movie rather than in the cinema. Several hashtags (#AscendantOnTheBigScreenm #MakeAscendantAMovie, #MakeAsendantMovie) have cropped up on Twitter. I was surprised by a few things as I read through them and so, like a good Erudite, I decided to do a little very informal analysis.

flyingallegiant-640x345Of the 126 tweets I read and classified, slightly more than half (70) were in English. The rest were all in other languages, the majority (35) Spanish.  Other languages I recognized were Portuguese, Italian and French. I knew Divergent had a strong international audience but I was surprised by how strong an international voice turned up on Twitter. I guess that is why Ms. Roth’s jetsonsnext book (Carve the Mark) will be released in 33 languages when it debuts.  It also reaffirms my opinion that lots of the movie decisions (e.g. replacing the rickety old planes with George Jetson-style sprockets) were made based how they would play in international markets, or how they would fly (pardon the pun) in future theme park attractions.  

19-inside-out-cry.w529.h352.2xI only read English and Spanish, so some of the comments I could not classify; but, I was interested in what fans were saying.  The most common emotion expressed was sadness or dismay (37) with expressions like “Oh, no!”  “I can’t believe it!”, and “I’m heartbroken over this news.” I also classified the “denial” responses–  and there were about 5– in this category. Most were of the “Maybe this is just a rumor” variety.

2f5d8d8d4dd1442c98c855d13ea3f398Right on the heels of sadness was anger, in some form (35). This included expressions of fandom entitlement “You owe this to us!” “You can’t do this to us!”  Over half (19) were anger expressions specifically directed at Lionsgate, criticizing them for “screwing up the series” or being greedy by planning this as four films in the first place. There were 2-3 who speculated that this announcement is a publicity stunt on Lionsgate’s part; personally, I think they are kidding themselves.

The next largest category (25) were what I called simple retweets, post that included just the hashtag or the hashtag with a simple message like “Please!” Fifteen were what I call “spread the word” messages, directing people to petition-signing sites, or urging retweeting or other feedback to Lionsgate in hopes of changing the studio’s mind.

cute-divergent-four-movie-Favim.com-1718774Perhaps most interesting were the 10 or so who gave a specific reason for wanting to see the final movie made: most expressed love for Four and Tris as a couple, or did not want to lose the current cast (Miles Teller, the Peter-turned-Eddie Haskell, got at least one specific shout-out), or a simple wish to see how the story finishes on the big screen. A couple of these specifically mentioned wanting to see Tris’s death. It was interesting that, despite the anger Tris’s death produced, there are definitely some fans who want the film series to end in a way more concordant with the book. Finally, there were three pleas to Veronica Roth herself to say something on the matter. though so far she is social-media silent.

What absolutely no one was interested in was a TV series that would tell ongoing stories of other characters within the dystopia Ms. Roth created.  That is potentially the most interesting outcome of this for me, but I guess I’m alone on that one.

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