When The Hunger Games arrived on bookshelves back in 2008, it was an instant best seller. Suzanne Collins' mixture of American Idol-like game show mixed with a Survivor-like reality show and then turned into a dystopian nightmare landed right on the money for a generation suddenly doused in a reality-TV landscape with endless war overseas. The final book, Mockingjay, was released in 2010. Now, a decade on, Collins is returning to the world of Panem, with a Hunger Games prequel novel set 64 years in the past before Katniss Everdeen's historic television appearances.
The newest installment in the Panem franchise does not yet have a title, but Collins' publisher, Scholastic Press, has set a release date for the YA novel: May 19, 2020.
According to the press release, the new book will not go all the way back to before Panem's creation. Instead, it will chronicle events that occurred more than a decade into the country's existence, and ten years after the creation of the Hunger Games as a form of entertainment. The current synopsis reads:
Untitled Panem Novel (title not final) will revisit the world of Panem 64 years before the events of The Hunger Games, on the morning of the reaping of the 10th Hunger Games.
Scholastic also released tentative cover art along with the release date announcement:
Collins said in a statement:
With this book, I wanted to explore the state of nature, who we are, and what we perceive is required for our survival. The reconstruction period ten 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.
Does a new novel also mean a new movie? It seems likely so. A few hours after the novel's release date was confirmed, The Hollywood Reporter announced Lionsgate, who produced The Hunger Games film series, is already circling to produce an adaptation of the new novel for the big screen. Joe Drake, chairman of the Lionsgate Motion Picture Group, said the company has already been in communication with Collins over rights to adapt the new novel.
As the proud home of the Hunger Games movies, we can hardly wait for Suzanne’s next book to be published. We’ve been communicating with her during the writing process, and we look forward to continuing to work closely with her on the movie.
As The Hollywood Reporter notes, a Hunger Games spinoff has been floating about at Lionsgate since the franchise ended in 2015, with a potential prequel series favored over a sequel to the Jennifer Lawrence-led franchise. The company also currently holds the rights to do a theme park based on the series, as well as live concert tours, a la the Harry Potter movie franchise.
With the new series set so far in the past, those who starred in the first franchise would most likely not return, not even in cameo appearances. While Jennifer Lawrence fans might be disappointed to learn this, it will still be a joy for fans to meet a new generation of Panem rebels.
The currently Untitled Panem Novel arrives on shelves on May 19, 2020.