By the end of Divergent, the first film based on Veronica Roth’s bestselling book trilogy, Tris’ entire world has changed. She’s watched both of her parents die, she’s had to kill one of her friends, and yet the battle has only just begun.
“She’s left with a lot of confusion as far as what the future holds,” Shailene Woodley told EW. “But she’s also left with a lot of guilt from the war, from losing her parents and from Will, so [in Insurgent] you see a newfound strength in her for revenge, as well as a lot of internal battles that she’s trying to weave her way around.”
But Tris isn’t fighting alone. Thanks to her time spent in Dauntless, she’s fallen in love with Four, who will continue to lead the fight against Jeanine and company.
“[In] this movie, I wanted it to be clear that obviously things have changed and he’s fallen in love with Shai’s character, but at the same time, he’s still the same man. So I don’t want him to suddenly be like Prince Charming or something,” Theo James said. “So when you first meet him, he is trying to protect her at the beginning of the movie, and calm her, and make sure she doesn’t make any mistakes. But at the same time, they’re fugitives in this faction that they shouldn’t be in, and he knows that they’ve got to move quickly. And then all hell breaks loose.”
Upping the action quota in the second film—which culminates when Tris is forced to fight herself—both Woodley and James agreed that while it wasn’t necessarily a more difficult film to make, it was, at times, more fun. “It definitely had bigger scope which was great,” James said. “I think we all felt like, if you’re going to make another movie, you need to make it better than the first one. It’s more adult. You maintain those elements of the original but it’s also a bit of a bigger and a darker film which I think it lends itself to just being more generally appealing.”
And for Four, a lot of that drama comes from his love of Tris, along with the addition of his mother, Evelyn, played by Naomi Watts. “[In this film], you see a more vulnerable Four,” James said. “Before, he had nothing to lose in a way until he falls in love with [Tris], and then there are stakes. But now, he’s in love with this woman so he’s more concerned about losing her and because she’s kind of this self sacrificing person, part of the storyline is him saying, ‘Your life does mean something; don’t just throw it away.’ And then with his mother, there’s lots and lots of complexity there. I didn’t want to push that too hard because I didn’t want it to be like, ‘Boohoo, poor guy with his parents.’ It is there, of course, but it’s not like you’re going to see him sobbing in the bathroom or something.”
Meanwhile, for Tris, much of the darkness and action takes place within fear simulations and sims. “This film definitely takes it to the next level as far as the way that they emotionally treat the characters,” Woodley said. “It’s much darker, I would say, just because you see inside of Jeanine’s world, [and] you see inside of Tris’ mind a little bit more. Tris has a lot of dream sequences that haunt her throughout the film so I think all of those combined lead to a darker tone.”
EW has an exclusive look at the Insurgent animated character portraits, which reflect the idea that much of action takes place within the minds of the characters:
Shailene Woodley as Tris
Theo James as Four
Kate Winslet as Jeanine
Naomi Watts as Evelyn
Octavia Spencer as Johanna
We’ve also got all five animated character portraits in action:
Insurgent hits theaters March 20. It has also been announced that the film with be released in IMAX 3D theaters on the same day.