Author Suzanne Collins is taking readers back to Panem in a new The Hunger Games novel due for release next year. The as-of-yet-unnamed prequel occurs during a time of failed rebellion, the “Dark Days,” and decades before the birth of series heroine Katniss Everdeen—portrayed by Jennifer Lawrence in the film adaptations.
In a statement, Collins described a desire to return to the series’ roots, 64 years before Everdeen’s first battle royale:
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.
Scholastic Trade Publishing President Ellie Berger sounds understandably excited for the novel’s release, scheduled for May 19, 2020:
Suzanne Collins is a master at combining brilliant storytelling, superb world building, breathtaking suspense, and social commentary. We are absolutely thrilled—as both readers and publishers—to introduce the devoted fans of the series and a new audience to an entirely new perspective on this modern classic.
The prequel is the fourth book to focus on the dystopian nation of Panem. The Hunger Games, Catching Fire and Mockingjay have more than 100 million copies in print and digital formats worldwide.
And, of course, a film version of Collins’ new prequel is already in the works—which makes sense for a series that has earned more than $3 billion at the box office to date. In a statement to the Associated Press, Lionsgate Motion Picture Group Chairman Joe Drake commented:
As the proud home of the Hunger Games movies, we can hardly wait for Suzanne’s next book to be published. We’ve been communicating with her during the writing process, and we look forward to continuing to work closely with her on the movie.
Take a peek at the novel’s placeholder cover below.