The Most Overqualified Performances In The 'Divergent' Franchise

List Rules
Vote up the most impressive dramatic actors to pop up in the 'Divergent' franchise.

The Shailene Woodley-led Divergent franchise was very much a response to the success of The Hunger Games and the ever-growing popularity of dystopian, YA movie adaptations. Like the Jennifer Lawrence-led franchise, Divergent looked really good on paper - from Veronica Roth’s source material and an established fanbase to that absolutely stacked cast aimed at bolstering prestige. Where the Hunger Games franchise had Woody Harrelson and Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Divergent had Kate Winslet and Jeff Daniels. Unfortunately, where the former was largely a critical and commercial success, the latter’s cast proved too good for Divergent, Insurgent, Allegiant, and, of course, the canceled finale, Ascendant

This is why we feel the need to pay homage to overachievers like Winslet, Daniels, Naomi Watts, Octavia Spencer, Miles Teller, and Zo Kravitz, who were given little, and sometimes nothing, to do throughout those three films. This votable list will be a rundown of the many highly qualified actors in the Divergent franchise who are probably too qualified to be spending their time in the Divergent franchise. 


  • 1
    9 VOTES
    Ashley Judd
    Photo: Lionsgate

    Ashley Judd’s extensive filmography includes Ruby in Paradise, Heat, A Time to Kill, Kiss the Girls, Double Jeopardy, Frida, and the 2012 television series Missing, for which she was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding lead actress. In Divergent, she plays Natalie Prior, the loving mother of Tris and Caleb Prior, and the wife of Andrew Prior.

    Unfortunately for Judd, Natalie was shot to death after saving her daughter in the first film. Thus ending yet another overqualified performance. 

    9 votes
  • 2
    7 VOTES
    Kate Winslet
    Photo: Lionsgate

    As one of the greatest of her generation, Kate Winslet CBE is best known for her work in films like Sense and Sensibility, Titanic, Iris, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Little Children, The Reader, and Steve Jobs. Outside of the BAFTAs, Golden Globes, and Emmys (at which she is a regular nominee and occasional winner) Winslet was nominated for an Oscar for each one of those films and won one for her role in The Reader

    When it came time to find the Divergent franchise’s ruthless Erudite leader Jeanine Matthews, Winslet was cast as the franchise’s first true antagonist - which made her the biggest name attached to the project and more than lent to its hype. While playing a baddie was a departure from the norm for Winslet, everyone knew she would give it her all. In fact, having her onboard probably made everyone else look just a little bit worse by comparison. 

    7 votes
  • Octavia Spencer
    Photo: Lionsgate

    In 2012, Octavia Spencer won an Oscar for her role in The Help. Before that film, she was seemingly everywhere and in everything, but never quite garnered the recognition she deserved. Since The Help, Spencer has been nominated for two more Oscars via Hidden Figures and The Shape of Water, becoming one of the best, and most respected actors in Hollywood.

    In 2015, Spencer took on the role of Insurgent’s Johanna Reyes, the former speaker of Amity and leader of the Allegiant group. As her star power rose rapidly, the supporting role proved too minor for her talents and she was stuck doing a sequel despite ostensibly moving beyond the Divergent franchise. 

    5 votes
  • 4
    5 VOTES
    Janet McTeer
    Photo: Lionsgate

    In recent years, Janet McTeer OBE has made waves with her Emmy-nominated role as Helen Pierce in Netflix’s Ozark. Long before that, she made her acting debut before receiving numerous accolades for performances on both the stage and screen. In addition to winning a Tony for her role in A Doll’s House, McTeer’s work in Tumbleweeds and Albert Nobbs scored her two Oscar nominations.

    In the Divergent franchise, McTeer was cast as Edith Prior, AKA Amanda Marie Ritter, the long-since-dead ancestor of Tris Prior's father, Andrew Prior, in Insurgent. At the end of that film, Tris and Tobias Eaton find a secret file containing a video of Edith, and, well, that’s essentially the extent of McTeer’s role. While that tease was likely meant to set up her role in the finale, she spends Insurgent as the face of a McGuffin.

    5 votes
  • Bill Skarsgård
    Photo: Lionsgate

    In 2012, Bill Skarsgård won the European Film Academy's Shooting Stars Award. Four years later, was cast as Matthew in the Divergent sequel, Allegiant - a film that did very little to utilize his talents. The next year, audiences got to witness him transform into Pennywise the Dancing Clown in It before reprising that role in the sequel.

    Now, Skarsgård is one of the most intriguing performers in the business with an upcoming role in John Wick: Chapter 4 and is set to play the lead in a reboot of The Crow. It’s unlikely people will remember him for his work in the Divergent franchise. 

    4 votes
  • 6
    1 VOTES
    Naomi Watts
    Photo: Lionsgate

    Naomi Watts has seemingly been around forever (and, in case she’s reading this, that’s not to say she’s old by any means). She made her feature debut in 1986’s For Love Alone before appearing in Australian television shows, including Hey Dad..!, Brides of Christ, and Home and Away. Following that fateful move stateside, and years as a struggling actor, Watts appeared in David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive and became an international sensation. Next was The Ring, her Oscar-nominated performance in 21 Grams, I Heart Huckabees, King Kong, Eastern Promises, and The Impossible - which scored her another Oscar nom. 

    Around the time of Divergent, Watts was one of Hollywood’s most in-demand actors, who didn’t often appear in blockbusters. That changed (briefly) when she played Evelyn Johnson-Eaton, Tobias's mother and the leader of the Factionless, in Insurgent. Despite becoming a significant antagonist in the third film, Evelyn proved a less-than-game-changing part.

    1 votes