After six years, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants plans a return to the silver screen.
In the early 2000’s, Ann Brashare’s novels about a pair of nearly magical pants and a strong group of girls, resonated with young adult readers everywhere. Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants was so popular, it garnered a movie deal long before the YA rush of Twilight, Hunger Games and Divergent. Alloy Entertainment released Traveling Pants to theaters back in 2005 to moderate success, and a sequel followed in 2008. The actual series is 5 novels and where the first movie followed the first book fairly honestly, the sequel was a weird amalgamation of the second and third book combined which cut out some great character development and sugarcoated some pretty dark moments for each of the heroines. But it could have been worse (any Princess Diaries fans out there? That last movie didn’t resemble any of the novels). As far as adaptations go, most fans were content and assumed the rest of the series would remain untouched by screenwriters.
In a surprising twist of events, Alloy Entertainment announced on thursday (4/24) that the fifth and final installment of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants YA series will, in fact, be developed for Hollywood. The only official word about the film so far includes screenwriter and director credits, Liz Garcia and Ken Kwapis respectively. Meanwhile reps for Blake Lively, Amber Tamblyn, Alexis Bledel and America Ferrera have yet to confirm or deny whether or not the original cast will be reprising their roles of Bridget Vreeland, Tibby Rollins, Lena Kaligaris and Carmen Lowell. Given the close friendship Lively, Tamblyn, Bledel and Ferrera developed from the films, however, it seems unlikely they would opt out of one final chance to say goodbye to the franchise.
Last fall, Ferrera hinted to InTouch that a final Traveling Pants film could be in the works, telling the tabloid,
“I think [Lively, Tamblyn, Bledel and Ferrera] only ever think about how we can get back together and make people pay us to be with each other. So the four of us would be very, very open to working with each other [again].”
For those of you wondering how a young adult series about four teenage girls could work with four grown women, there’s a great answer. Sisterhood Everlasting, the final book in the series (upon which Screenwriter Garcia is drafting the final film), occurs ten years after the events of the fourth book — when the BFFs have grown and developed careers and started families, etc. Tibby recruits everyone together for one big, life-changing trip to reestablish the foundation of their friendship. Honestly, the storyline probably wouldn’t be too big of a jump for Lively, Tamblyn, Bledel and Ferrera — all of whom recently married or became engaged.
For this fangirl, I can’t help but feel ambivalent about a final film. The first sequel wrapped up the storyline’s better than I could have hoped for, and I felt good about the franchise — as far as you can be, with a movie adaptation. As an author, Brashare’s excelled at creating dynamic characters facing realistic conflict. Sometimes, it was coming to terms with circumstances out of their control and sometimes it was coping with grief they asked for — regardless, readers everywhere related to one of the girls or all of those girls somewhere along the line. Luckily for fans, though the movie story lines strayed far from Brashare’s, the plot remained loyal to those personal struggles, and their resolutions were equally satisfying. I’m almost afraid to delve back into the lives of Tibby, Lena, Bridget and Carmen ten years later. I suppose that’s largely due to my lack of faith in Hollywood.
If Alloy insists on making this final movie, my request would be this: don’t sugarcoat the hard stuff and don’t skimp on those difficult details. Either tell the story right or don’t tell it at all.