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SYFY WIRE The Hunger Games

Hunger Games prequel novel entering the arena with movie deal in the works

By Josh Weiss
Jennifer Lawrence The Hunger Games

Get ready to travel back to the dystopian nation of Panem, because Suzanne Collins is writing a prequel novel to her massively popular Hunger Games trilogy. Scholastic made the announcement this morning, confirming that the book would take place 64 years before the events surrounding Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark.

“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," said Collins in a statement.

Hunger Games prequel novel cover

Moreover, Lionsgate, which distributed the four film adaptations, is already developing a movie version of the currently-untitled publication, which hits shelves next year.

“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,” Joe Drake, Chairman of the Lionsgate Motion Picture Group, said in a statement published by Deadline.

Lionsgate released the first film adaptation, helmed by Gary Ross and starring an up-and-coming Jennifer Lawrence, in 2012. With a budget of just $78 million, the feature was a major box office success with nearly $700 million in global ticket sales. The next three movies, Catching Fire and Mockingjay—the latter of which was broken into two pictures—got significantly bigger budgets and were directed by Francis Lawrence. Together, all four film adaptations garnered over $1.4 billion at the box office.

In addition to Lawrence, the series attracted major talents like Josh Hutcherson, Woody Harrelson, Donald Sutherland, Julianne Moore, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Lenny Kravitz, Wes Bentley, Jeffrey Wright, Mahershala Ali, Sam Claflin, Natalie Dormer, Jena Malone, Stanley Tucci, Elizabeth Banks, Liam Hemsworth, and Toby Jones.

Set in a dystopian version of the United States, now named Panem and broken up into 12 districts, the Hunger Games series is named for an annual battle royale event that is meant as punishment for a bloody rebellion years before the events of the first three books. Two representatives from each district enter an artificial area and are forced to fight to the death until one person remains standing.

"Suzanne Collins is a master at combining brilliant storytelling, superb world-building, breathtaking suspense, and social commentary," said Ellie Berger, President, Scholastic Trade. “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.”

The upcoming prequel novel goes on sale May 19, 2020.