Years after the multi-million trilogy Hunger Games as well as its movie franchise, Suzanne Collins is once again bringing us into the harrowing and divided world of Panem. This time, the story will take place 64 years before the lives of Katniss and Peeta. According to the Hunger Games books, the 13 districts of Panem had staged an unsuccessful uprising 74 years before the series.
This resulted in the 12 districts being forced back under Capital control, the beginning of the Hunger Games as a warning to any stirrings of rebellion, and the 13th district thrust out of the scene into a covert cold war. Based on this chronology, the prequel will take place a decade after these events, and is scheduled to be released on May 19, 2020.
— Scholastic (@Scholastic) June 17, 2019
“With this book, I wanted to explore the state of nature, who we are, and what we perceive is required for our survival,” Collins said to 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.”
Moreover, Scholastic Trade Publishing President Ellie Berger said, “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.”
Lionsgate’s studio vice chairman, Michael Burns, has also suggested a prequel movie to go along with this upcoming installment, elevating this news to greater heights. The chairman of the Lionsgate Motion Picture Group, Joe Drake, recently reported, “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.” Although the studio did not clarify whether an agreement for film rights has been established yet, this response from Lionsgate has instilled much hope and anticipation within Hunger Games fans.
Judging by the tidbits of information regarding the plotline of this release, it’s clear that the prequel will be fraught with the same tension, depth and moral ambiguity as The Hunger Games. Perhaps it will assume a darker cast, with the contrasts between the extravagance of District 1 and the indigence of District 12 even more pronounced. Collins paints a picture of Panem in gilded violence, and these strokes will only become more vibrant with the backdrop of a failed rebellion.
As a vanguard of YA literature, Suzanne Collins’ characters are venerated in the genre of post-apocalyptic dystopia, providing the model for books featuring powerhouse protagonists in an oppressive society. “Hunger Games” has even become a staple tag line to describe high-stakes, barbarous competition. This announcement of a new novel to such an influential trilogy is a proverbial miracle to the book community, especially since it seemed as though Collins was finished with Panem forever.
Photo Courtesy of Cat Lafuente