As the latest film franchise based on a bestselling young-adult book series,
But for those unfamiliar with the dystopian thriller's background and mythology, all this talk of factions and their SAT-word names (what does "abnegation" mean again?) might as well be Greek. Here's a quick primer to get up to speed.
The setup: "Divergent" is set in a dystopian Chicago where people are divided into factions based on their personality types: Members of the Dauntless faction are brave, for example, and serve as the warrior class, protecting the city. Abnegation members are selfless and run the government, Candor are devoted to honesty and run the courts, Amity value goodwill and tend farms, and Erudite cherish intelligence and serve as teachers and doctors.
During an annual ceremony, 16-year-olds are tested to see which faction they fit in best and then have the option to abide or choose a new faction for life. Our heroine, Beatrice "Tris" Prior, played by
The author: Veronica Roth was just 21 when she wrote "Divergent," her first book, which sold in four days, to the first editor who finished reading it. It quickly became a bestseller and spawned two sequels, "Insurgent" and "Allegiant."
The trilogy has sold more than 17 million copies, and Summit Entertainment snapped up the film rights to the series before the first book even landed on store shelves.
The comparisons: "Divergent" has frequently been compared to
And as "The Hunger Games" propelled
The players: If you haven't already, get used to hearing the name Shailene Woodley. The 22-year-old "Divergent" star got her start on the
Meanwhile, English actor
The stakes: Lionsgate, the studio distributing "Divergent" under its Summit banner, has had success bringing YA books to the big screen via the "Twilight" and the "Hunger Games" movies. With just two "Hunger Games" films remaining, the "Divergent" properties represent a potential successor to those franchises but also a test of the studio's ability to continue to reach elusive YA audiences. So far? "Divergent" has scored strong early box-office numbers and lackluster reviews.