Whaaaaa? Wait, hold the phone.
We’re going back to Panem?
The legitimate answer is yes. Not only that, but there’s an actual release date, May 19, 2020. Only 11 months from now.
This new Hunger Games book is a prequel, as it will take place 64 years before the era we know in the original trilogy. What’s funny is that Suzanne Collins is calling the setting of her new book the “Dark Days” of Panem, and here I sit, thinking, “How could Panem get any darker?” If you’re even remotely familiar with the Hunger Games at all, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Apparently, the “Dark Days” is referring to the failed rebellion in Panem, well before Katniss’s time. At this point in time, we can only guess what the book will be about specifically and who is taking the spotlight as the main character as Collins has not yet revealed such information. But we do have a few words from the author regarding this new addition to the popular Dystopian series:
“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 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.” – Suzanne Collins
I don’t know about you, but I’m getting a strong whiff of redundancy.
Not only is there a book coming, but Lionsgate has been communicating with Collins during her writing process, and even though the studio hasn’t said whether they have the rights for the movie yet, it’s fairly likely that a movie based off the prequel will be happening as well. The franchise has reached the stars before; I can understand their hopes are high that they can reach them again.
If you’d like to research the talk about this new Hunger Games prequel, I recommend this site, as it also includes interesting information on where Collins first received inspiration for her popular Hunger games series and her thoughts on why she decided to write a story about teens killing each other for the sake of entertainment in the clutches of a bloodthirsty, totalitarian government.
In my personal opinion, I am more surprised and disappointed, if anything, rather than excited and anticipatory. I’m not a fan of the Hunger Games series––the books or the movies––but I am genuinely interested in how the world will receive this new Hunger Games book. As it takes place six decades before Katniss’s time, it’s safe to assume that it won’t feature the beloved characters from the original trilogy (but who knows when it comes to Y.A. fantasy these days? Legolas showed up in the third Hobbit movie and time travel is a thing). The prequel will also be published ten years after Mockingjay was; Panem has slept for an entire decade, and the fandom, though a vastly popular one, has had plenty of time to wear off among the strong fan base that originally helped it to thrive. Coming back with another book or series after a decade is apparently becoming the thing to do, what with Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, continuing the Wizarding World of the Harry Potter franchise, and perhaps Collins decided to jump on the bandwagon as well and make a run for the money. I am not doubting the possibility of the book being a hit, just theorizing over reasons why it might not be (because I like to be controversial and I’m not sorry). As someone who has sported emotional wounds brought about by the viewing of the fourth Hunger Games movie Mockingjay Part 2 and believes that this new prequel is simply an attempt to keep the fandom in the media front seat, I don’t plan on participating in the inevitable hype. Yet, I am eager to see how Collins will pull off and produce this new YA novel and how the rest of the world will receive it, and I am curious to see who the book will be about and what takes place during the “Dark Days of Panem”––I’m always up for a good backstory.
What are your thoughts on the news of this new Hunger Games publication? Are you a fan of Hunger Games and why or why not are you looking forward to this prequel? Tell me! As always, thanks for reading!