Hey, you guys still remember The Hunger Games? Based on Suzanne Collins’ bestselling book trilogy, the four-film Jennifer Lawrence-led series earned a combined $2.970 billion worldwide between 2012 and 2015, with with the first three films breaking several box office records at the time. The films were nominated for and won several awards – including winning a Grammy for Best Song for Visual Media – and kickstarted a huge Hollywood rush of blockbuster adaptations of YA novels featuring teens in outlandish dystopian futures. And yet, it feels like the moment the credits rolled on The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part Two in 2015, everybody promptly forgot about the series.
There was immediate talk from Lionsgate Pictures about revisiting the world of Lawrence’s Katniss Everdeen, but we heard little in terms of plans. Midway through last year though, the silence was finally broken with the announcement that Collins was penning a prequel novel which Lionsgate would adapt for the screen, but again we had no real details. Well, now we do and they’re kind of… unexpected.
According to a report from EW, Collins’ upcoming prequel novel will be titled The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, is set 64 years before the events of the first Hunger Games, and will tell the heroic backstory of… President Snow? Huh.
Played by Donald Sutherland in the films, President Coriolanus Snow was the vindictive, cruel, manipulate villain of the entire franchise. His malice is what kept the Hunger Games – those televised sporting events where children from poor districts fight to the death for the entertainment of the wealthy in Snow’s Capitol – going for so long. And now we’re going to have to learn that he was actually a nice guy back in the day. Or, more specifically as EW describes him, “a teenager born to privilege but searching for something more, a far cry from the man we know he will become. Here, he’s friendly. He’s charming. And, for now anyway, he’s a hero.” We even have some early artwork to show us what this young heroic Snow looks like.
Along with the artwork and logline, EW also boasts an exclusive 1000-word excerpt from The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes which you can go read at the link to get your first taste of this new version of Snow. It’s an intriguing read because there’s already nothing actually heroic about the smug young Snow who ponders about how to make the brutal Games more exciting to viewers. Collins is definitely going to have her work cut out for her to somehow turn Snow into a relatable protagonist even though we know he becomes a dreadful antagonist later. I’ve read all the previous novels (actually binged them all on a three-week holiday) and though I felt they got progressively worse, I will probably pick up this prequel when it releases on 19 May, just to see how this plays out.
As for the feature film adaptation of the novel though, there are no details yet. Last we heard, franchise director Francis Lawrence had said that he would return to this world again if Collins produced more material. We’ll have to see if that will be the case still.
Last Updated: January 27, 2020