The Hunger Games was incredibly popular young adult book series that got adapted into an incredibly popular film series. Ever since the last movie hit screens, we've heard that the possibility for more movies was being considered, and now it seems almost certain that another movie will be on the way before too long, because a new book has just been announced.
While the new novel from Suzanne Collins has no official title as yet, it is set to be released in May of next year, and according to the New York Times, it will be a prequel set 64 years before the events of the first Hunger Games novel. This will take the story to the years following the "Dark Days," the failed rebellion in the nation of Panem, which was referenced in the original trilogy of books.
Lionsgate, the studio behind the previous Hunger Games films, has not spoken publicly regarding whether or not the film rights to the book have already been secured, but there's a good chance that has already been taken care of. If not, you can bet that deal is being worked out as we speak.
Talk of a Hunger Games prequel movie has been around since before the final film, Mockingjay: Part 2, was actually released in theaters. Since the Suzanne Collins trilogy pretty effectively brought its story to an end, the only place that made sense for a new movie to go was backwards in time.
The fact that we're now seeing an actual prequel novel come out first doesn't feel like a coincidence. One certainly has to wonder if the movie studio's interest in continuing the franchise may have inspired the author to write this new book. Lionsgate did release a statement in which the studio said it had been communicating with Collins throughout the writing process and was "looking forward" to working with her on a future movie. All the more reason to assume the rights have already been sewn up.
While the final movie in the Hunger Games franchise did not perform at quite the same level as the previous films, the franchise as a whole has still been big business for Lionsgate.
The only thing that the details on the new novel would seem to indicate is that it will deal with an entirely new, or very nearly so, cast of characters. The vast majority of the characters from the Hunger Games trilogy will have yet to be born in a book that takes place more than 60 years before the books that we know. That means new heroes, new villains, and an entirely new cast of actors when the eventual movie makes it to the screen.
It's not specifically stated that the new book will be a stand alone novel, though it's also not being announced as the first of a new series. Based on the genre, it seems probably we could be getting more books, and therefore more movies, following this one, though I suppose we'll just have to wait and see.