What to expect from the Hunger Games prequel film

Daisy Phillipson
Photo credit: Lionsgate

From Digital Spy

Big news for lovers of the Hunger Games series, as author Suzanne Collins is penning a prequel novel to her best-selling dystopian trilogy.

Even better, a cinematic adaptation to the new novel is already being eyed by studios including Lionsgate, with chairman Joe Drake saying in a statement: "As the proud home of the Hunger Games movies, we can hardly wait for Suzanne's next book to be published.

Photo credit: Gregg DeGuire/WireImage - Getty Images

"We've been communicating with her during the writing process and we look forward to continuing to work closely with her on the movie."

You might think these plans are a little premature – Collins has barely even put pen to paper and already studios are stepping in to claim the film rights.

However, it’s not surprising when you consider the Hunger Games is the 20th highest-grossing film franchise of all time, having earned over $2.97 billion worldwide.

When a new book’s set to hit the district, it only makes sense to get the film version locked down.

It looks like it’s matter of when, not if we get to travel back in time decades before Katniss Everdeen was first introduced. (So no, no Jennifer Lawrence this time round.)

Although the film is at the earliest possible development stages, that doesn’t mean we can’t guesstimate the major details before more information makes its way to the fore.

First up, there’s the plot. The four established films took minor liberties with the books, but on a whole the narrative very much stuck to Collins' blueprint.

So we can safely assume that the same will be done with the prequel, the story of which is already mapped out by Collins.

Photo credit: Lionsgate

"With this book, I wanted to explore the state of nature, who we are, and what we perceive is required for our survival," the writer said in a statement (via AP).

"The reconstruction period 10 years after the war, commonly referred to as the Dark Days – as the country of Panem struggles back to its feet – provides fertile ground for characters to grapple with these questions and thereby define their views of humanity."

To refresh your memory, the Dark Days were the period that followed the collapse of the first rebellion in Panem as a civil war was fought between the districts and the Capitol. This was the time District 13 literally went underground, its nuclear arsenal allowing it independence from the Capitol at the cost of leaving the rest of Panem to its ignominious fate.

These events took place 74 years prior to the start of the Hunger Games trilogy, long before recurring characters Katniss or Peeta Mellark had even been born, meaning we’ll be introduced to an entirely new set of characters 64 years before the first film is set. And their journey begins on the morning of the 10th Hunger Games.

That said, two familiar faces – Mags Flanagan and President Coriolanus Snow – were both alive during this time and could therefore potentially make an appearance in the next film.

Photo credit: Lionsgate

Mags was the female tribute from District 4 during the 75th Hunger Games, where she volunteered to take the place of Annie Cresta, eventually sacrificing herself to save Katniss in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.

But how would her story fit into the prequel? Since it was confirmed by official site Capitolcouture.pn that Mags was the 11th Hunger Games winner, the narrative could explore her life in the lead-up to her victory – and how she got to be so good at making fishhooks.

As for President Snow, the main antagonist of the series, he meets his end in Mockingjay Part 2 after the overthrow of the Capitol, in which he is eventually beaten to death by a group of enraged rebels.

Photo credit: Lionsgate

While Snow carries the title of President, it’s not know how he came to adopt this moniker. Since he was born only two years before the Hunger Games were a thing, it’s safe to assume he was not responsible for their development.

Here’s hoping we find out more about his journey to becoming the despot of Panem.

The development of the prequel is exciting for a multitude of reasons, not least because we get to finally see what goes down during the dawn of the titular games. But it also means there’s a chance Collins is planning to take the story further. Could this be the start of an entirely new series?

The author’s initial trilogy was adapted for film in 2012's The Hunger Games, 2013's Catching Fire, 2014's Mockingjay – Part 1 and 2015's Mockingjay – Part 2, starring Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss, Josh Hutcherson as Peeta and Liam Hemsworth as Gale Hawthorne.

Photo credit: Lionsgate

We’re stoked that the franchise is to be continued, as is Scholastic Trade Publishing President Ellie Berger, who said in a statement: “Suzanne Collins is a master at combining brilliant storytelling, superb world building, breathtaking suspense, and social commentary.

“We are absolutely thrilled – as both readers and publishers – to introduce the devoted fans of the series and a new audience to an entirely new perspective on this modern classic."

Now all we have to do is play the waiting game. With the book set for release in 2020, it’s going to be a little while until the film drops in theatres.

It’s safe to say that when the time comes, the world will be watching.

The Hunger Games: Untitled Panem Novel is scheduled for release on May 19, 2020.

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