A decade after seemingly wrapping up The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins is bringing readers back to Panem. A prequel, set 64 years before the beginning of her multimillion-selling trilogy, is coming next year.
The novel, currently untitled, is scheduled for release on May 19, 2020. Collins said in a statement on Monday that she would go back to the years following the so-called “Dark Days”, the failed rebellion in Panem.
Collins set the Hunger Games books in a post-apocalyptic dystopia where young people must fight and kill each other, on live television.“With this book, I wanted to explore the state of nature, who we are, and what we perceive is required for our survival,” she said.
“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.”
Set on the morning of the reaping of the Tenth Hunger Games, the book takes place well before the lifetime of Hunger Games heroine Katniss Everdeen, played by Jennifer Lawrence in the billion-dollar movie franchise. Tracy van Straaten, a spokeswoman from publishers Scholastic, declined to comment on the new book’s contents or featured characters beyond what’s described in Monday’s announcement.
“Suzanne Collins is a master at combining brilliant storytelling, superb world building, breathtaking suspense, and social commentary,” Scholastic Trade Publishing President Ellie Berger said in a statement. “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 released the four Hunger Games movies, and the studio’s vice chairman, Michael Burns, has suggested a prequel.
In a recent statement, the chairman of the Lionsgate Motion Picture Group, Joe Drake, said, “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.”
The studio did not immediately respond when asked if an agreement for film rights had already been reached.
The first three Hunger Games books – The Hunger Games, Catching Fire and Mockingjay — have sold more than 100 million copies, have been translated into more than 50 languages and have been credited with launching a wave of Dystopian fiction for young people.