Everything We Know About The Hunger Games Prequel Coming Out In May 2020
With quarantine pass holders being referred to as "Tributes" on social media—spawning memes about which District you belong to and gifs of JLaw's iconic "I volunteer as tribute" scene—the Hunger Games has gone back up to full trending status in the past few weeks. Additionally, the four-part film adaptation is available for streaming on Netflix, and even more excitingly, a novel that will serve as a prequel to the series, called The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, is set to come out on May 19, 2020.
With Suzanne Collins back as the writer of this arguably relevant-in-2020 prequel, let's revisit what we know about this uber-successful franchise and the pop culture phenomenon that is The Hunger Games.
The Hunger Games Author: Suzanne Collins
Even before the publication of the first Hunger Games novel in 2008, Suzanne Collins was already a New York Times best-selling author of a fantasy-war series called The Underland Chronicles. The five-book series narrates the story of Gregor the Overlander, a kid who discovers Underland deep within New York City. The first book was released in 2003, and the last installment in 2007. The series has been sold into 21 foreign territories. (via Suzannecollinsbooks.com)
Prior to being a novelist, Collins worked as a children's show writer, and was even part of the staff of some iconic Nickelodean shows like Clarissa Explains It All.
In an interview with her publishing house, Scholastic, Collins shares her personal reasons for setting stories in the future:
"Telling a story in a futuristic world gives you this freedom to explore things that bother you in contemporary times. So, in the case of the Hunger Games, issues like the vast discrepancy of wealth, the power of television and how it's used to influence our lives, the possibility that the government could use hunger as a weapon, and then first and foremost to me, the issue of war."
On her advice to young writers, she says, "A lot of people tell writers to write about what they know. And that's good advice, because it gives you a lot of things to draw on. But I always like to add that they should write about things that they love. And by that I mean things that fascinate or excite them personally."
What We Know About The Prequel: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes
Set 64 years before the events of the OG Hunger Games novel, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes will begin on the morning of the reaping of the Tenth Hunger Games, and will tell the story of life after the Dark Days, a period "that took place following the First Rebellion, the civil war that was fought between the districts and the Capitol."
If you've seen Joker or Breaking Bad, it appears the prequel could similarly cater to the rise of the anti-hero, a move that has been met with both excitement and criticism online. In a chapter released exclusively on Entertainment Weekly in January 2020, it appears that at least part of the book will center on Coriolanus Snow, the main villain of the original trilogy geniusly portrayed by Donald Sutherland in the film adaptations. Although here, instead of being the future tyrannical president of Panem, Snow is a graduating college student from a once-rich family that is now struggling.
In the preview, the story centered on a young Coriolanus Snow, whose final project in the Academy was to mentor a Tribute for the 10th Hunger Games (an effort to raise viewership and engagement from the audience). Success could mean winning a generous cash prize upon graduation, something Snow secretly needs.
Considering being an overperformining student, he expected to mentor a contender from one of the top districts, but is instead assigned the female tribute from District 12 (much to his dismay).
The Hunger Games Movie Franchise
As far as adaptations go, The Hunger Games was quite loyal to the novel, and most critics would agree that Jennifer Lawrence, then 20 years old, definitely gave justice to Katniss Everdeen, 16.
Other notable characters were Liam Hemsworth as Gale Hawthorne, Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Mellark, Elizabeth Banks as Effie Trinket, and Woody Harrelson as Haymitch Abernathy. The film was directed by Gary Ross, who co-wrote the screenplay with Suzanne Collins and Billy Ray.
The next few movies moved on with a different director, Francis Lawrence. Philip Seymour Hoffman joined the cast later on as Plutarch Heavensbee in Catching Fire, as did Sam Claflin as Finnick Odair, and Jena Malone as Johanna Mason. Julianne Moore was also extremenely memorable as President Alma Coin in the two-part Mockingjay films. (via IMDb)
Here's the trailer for those of you who may have missed it:
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Outdoors Danielle Flestado @artdkf | May 1, 2020 "I miss the outside world. The last time I went outside of our house was on my birthday. We just bought coffee across our village and went back home immediately. This painting made me feel that I'm in a field, just appreciating the beauty of God's creation. Can you imagine the green grass and pink flowers?"
When everything around you suddenly turns dark, the first thing we'd prolly do, as humans, is to find and grab anything that is closest and nearest to us. We'll hold onto them for as long as we can, trying to collect ourselves and gather courage to adjust our eyesights to the pitch black environment that's consuming us minute by minute. And then you'd hear nothing. Your sense of hearing would somehow go off after not seeing anything for quite awhile. You'll let loose. Cry. Panic. You'll be exhausted for fighting your way out. Then just when you're about to stop and give up, you're no longer afraid. There's only this deafening silence and pithole of darkness that's gonna eat you up alive. And surprisingly, you'll make a home out of it.
You'll make a home out of the darkness that when a ray of light suddenly hits you, you'll try to avoid it. You'll try to cover your eyes. You'll try to cover your ears from the voices trying to help you get out of it. You'll try to hide because your mind and body will go against your will to come out and live. Because the darkness that used to scare you, now comforts you in a way you thought has helped you survived life. And you'll try to live. Day by day. In the darkness. Not knowing where to go. Not knowing where to start. Not knowing who is with you. You will try to live until the darkness that once surrounds you is now within you. And everyday, it's gonna be a cycle of subtle torture. But let me tell you a secret. The darkness won't make you whole.
You'll be broken. And in those hair-like cracks, the light will stubbornly fight its way through until it warms you up. Until you realize to check the switch and turn it on. Until you allow other people to help you find your way back in the light. Until you realize you're ready to live in light again. There's a light at the end of this long and dreading tunnel. The only question that matters: will you let them in?
I always thought of life, like a bead where each piece makes it worth sewing together with other piece of beads to make a stronger bond and to create a beautiful result. Today, how do we bond well with different people especially this difficult time? As this day challenges us to a new normal, may we continue to bead along positively with our life.