Are you sad The Hunger Games has finally come to an end? Don’t be! The studio behind the franchise is promising to at least consider making lots of prequels, so the world of Panem will go on and on and on.
But Hunger Games prequels means no Katniss Everdeen, and right now the concept currently in the works sounds like a never-ending bloodbath of child-on-child violence meant satiate the masses, a critique by Forbes suggested.
The Hunger Games franchise recently concluded with the fourth installment in the series, Mockingjay Part 2; Suzanne Collins’ series of the same name is comprised of three books, and she hasn’t written and doesn’t have any public plans to write more stories set in the arenas of Panem.
In fact, according to Entertainment Weekly, Collins appears to have little interest in returning to the world of the Hunger Games.
When the franchise officially ended with Mockingjay, the author sent a heartfelt thanks to the team behind the film, writing, “Having spent the last decade in Panem, it’s time to move on to other lands.”
The studio who made the Hunger Games films appears to have no interest in moving on, but their motivation isn’t likely because they love Collins’ concept so much they want to explore Panem more — they want to keep cashing in on a very profitable enterprise.
Speaking at a conference this week, Lionsgate vice chairman Michael Burns said he thinks the fans want prequels that take place in the arena, where children fight in high tech and violent battles until they brutally murder each other for the entertainment — and placation — of the masses, The Hollywood Reporter added.
The first two films took place inside the arena, but the second two did not. Those films (and the accompanying book) follow the heroine, Katniss Everdeen, as she and her allies tried to take down the Capitol and the machine that supported the annual child sacrifice. The story ended with Katniss victorious.
But Burns believes that fans want the fights to come back (much like President Coin, in fact) and were disappointed that the concluding films took place outside the deadly arena. The prequels would satiate that need and earn the massive dough Hunger Games and Catching Fire earned.
“The one thing that kids say they missed [from the early Hunger Games films] was there were no arenas. If we went backwards, there obviously would be arenas.”
Director Francis Lawrence, who directed three of the four Hunger Games movies, wants prequels, too, saying, “The interesting part of the story for me is to go back 75 years earlier and see how everything became the way it is. I’m sure if Suzanne were to get inspired and decide there’s another story that’s important for her to tell that exists within the world of Panem and whether about the Dark Days, another character, or another set of Games, whatever that could be, I’m sure it would be great. And I’d loved to be involved, absolutely.”
A source told Entertainment Weekly that Lionsgate is unlikely to move forward with prequels if Collins isn’t interested in telling more stories. At the very least, they’d need her blessing.
Prequels, reboots, sequels, and the like are exactly where Lionsgate wants to make its money. Its other franchises Twilight, The Expendables, and Saw have had plenty of those. Forbes was sympathetic to the studio, who may be hesitant to put their most profitable franchise to rest and say goodbye to lots of money in the process.
But while prequels would be good financially, are they the best idea artistically?
Much of the interest in Hunger Games is with the protagonist Katniss Everdeen, arguably the best female action hero and most beloved fictional character of recent memory. People love Katniss (and Jennifer Lawrence) first, and Hollywood often interprets this love as love for the world the character lives in.
Prequels would be a tribute to Panem and its “annual poor kids kidnapped from their families to fight each other to the death for the entertainment of the rich people” competition, sans its most compelling heroine. Will the stories even be worth the fans’ attention? Burns promises the prequels will be deeper than that, he told Variety.
“Whatever extensions of ‘The Hunger Games’ brand we pursue, the intent is not to glorify violence by arbitrarily telling arena stories, but to continue Suzanne Collins’s exploration of the concepts of just war theory.”
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