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President Snow in The Hunger Games

Whether you read the popular Hunger Games books by Suzanne Collins or watched the four-movie saga starring Jennifer Lawrence, both roads led to the same place: Katniss Everdeen’s story concluding. However, we’re not done exploring the Hunger Games universe on both the printed page and the big screen. It’s been announced that the forthcoming Hunger Games prequel novel will indeed be adapted into a movie.

Lionsgate has officially announced that Suzanne Collins’ The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, which hits bookshelves on May 19, is getting the cinematic treatment. Francis Lawrence, who directed all but the first of the Hunger Games movies, is back to helm the prequel, and producers Nina Jacobson and Brad are also returning. In addition to serving as an executive producer, Collins has been tapped to pen the film’s treatment, and Little Miss Sunshine’s Michael Arndt will adapt the screenplay.

In case you missed last summer’s announcement of the Hunger Games prequel book, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes will follow Coriolanus Snow, the main antagonist of the main Hunger Games series who was previously portrayed by Donald Sutherland, at age 18, long before he becomes the president of Panem. With his family having fallen on hard times, Snow sees an opportunity to reverse their fortunes when he’s chosen to be a mentor in the 10th Hunger Games, although his excitement is snuffed out when he learns he’s assigned to guide the girl tribute from District 12, the poorest of Panem’s 13 districts and where Katniss Everdeen will be born decades later.

We’ll have to wait and see who’s cast as the young Coriolanus Snow in The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, but here’s what Joe Drake, chairman of the Lionsgate Motion Picture Group about Suzanne Collins’ new book being turned into a movie:

Suzanne’s new book has been worth the wait. It offers everything fans could hope for and expect from The Hunger Games while also breaking new ground and introducing an entirely new canvas of characters. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is creatively thrilling and takes this world to complex new dimensions that open up amazing cinematic possibilities. We’re thrilled to reunite this filmmaking team with this very unique franchise, and we can’t wait to begin production.

Joe Drake also called making The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes a “priority” for Lionsgate, so it sounds like we can expect this project to arrive sooner rather than later. Still, at least once the book arrives next month, then we’ll know what we can specifically expect from the movie. Along with exploring Coriolanus Snow’s origins, hopefully the story will also flesh out the mythology of Panem further.

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The original four Hunger Games movies were released between 2012 and 2015, and for the most part were each met with solid critical reception. Commercially, however, they shined much brighter, taking in nearly $3 billion worldwide altogether. For now, it seems like The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes will be a one-and-done story, but who knows, maybe the Hunger Games franchise will follow in Fantastic Beasts’ footsteps and turn this tale into a prequel saga.

Keep checking in with CinemaBlend for more updates on how The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is progressing, and in the meantime, keep track of this year’s movies with our 2020 release schedule.

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