The Hunger Games is back. Following the box office success of the four movies that were released from 2012 to 2015, Lionsgate has announced that a prequel project is in the works, according to Entertainment Weekly. The prequel film will be based on Hunger Games author Suzanne Collins’ upcoming novel, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.
Director Francis Lawrence, who directed the last three Hunger Games films, is set to return to direct the prequel film. Collins will apparently adapt her novel to the screen with the help of screenwriter Michael Arndt, who previously co-wrote Catching Fire.
The prequel book is set to take place 64 years before the events of the first book in the series and will be released on May 19 of this year. In the book, viewers will follow an 18-year-old version of Coriolanus Snow, who played a prominent role in the original series as Katniss’s primary antagonist and the leader of the villainous Capitol.
The book takes place years before he ascended to that role, and follows his journey after he is selected as a mentor in the 10th Hunger Games. Snow’s initial excitement at being tasked with the job quickly evaporates after he is assigned to mentor the female tribute from District 12.
Donald Sutherland played the elder Snow across the first four films in the saga. As of yet, there have been no announcements with regard to casting for the new film. The original series follows the story of a girl selected as a tribute in a horrific battle to the death that’s held annually in the fictional, futuristic nation of Panem.
The news of this new film adaptation likely won’t come as a surprise to many of the franchise’s biggest fans. Not only were the first four movies a box office success, but Lionsgate producer Joe Drake had already suggested that he had been in touch with Suzanne Collins about adapting her latest book for the screen.
“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,” Drake said in 2019.
In a statement released on Tuesday, Collins said that she was also excited about the adaptation of her latest work.
“It’s such a pleasure to be reuniting with Nina, Francis, and Michael to adapt the novel to the screen, and having them share their remarkable talents, once again, with the world of Panem. I look forward to collaborating with them and all at Lionsgate as we bring The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes to theaters worldwide,” Collins said.