7 Jun, 2024 05:16 AM3 mins to read

Jennifer Lawrence in the 2015 movie The Hunger Games Part 2: Mockingjay

Hunger Games - Figure 1
Photo New Zealand Herald

The Hunger Games universe is set to gain another storyline - both on the page and the screen.

Inspired by an 18th century Scottish philosopher and the modern scourge of misinformation, Suzanne Collins is returning to the ravaged, post-apocalyptic land of Panem for a new The Hunger Games novel.

Scholastic announced on Thursday that Sunrise on the Reaping, the fifth volume of Collins’ blockbuster dystopian series, will be published on March 18 next year.

The new book begins with the reaping of the Fiftieth Hunger Games, set 24 years before the original Hunger Games novel, which came out in 2008, and 40 years after Collins’ most recent book, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.

Lionsgate, which has released film adaptations of all four previous Hunger Games books, announced later on Thursday that Sunrise on the Reaping will open in theatres on November 20, 2026. Francis Lawrence, who has worked on all but the first Hunger Games movie, will return as director.

The first four Hunger Games books have sold more than 100 million copies and have been translated into dozens of languages. Collins had seemingly ended the series after the 2010 publication of Mockingjay, writing in 2015 that it was “time to move on to other lands”.

Hunger Games - Figure 2
Photo New Zealand Herald

But four years later, she stunned readers and the publishing world when she revealed she was working on what became The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, released in 2020 and set 64 years before the first book.

Collins has drawn upon Greek mythology and the Roman gladiator games for her earlier Hunger Games books. But for the upcoming novel, she cites the Scottish Enlightenment philosopher David Hume.

“With Sunrise on the Reaping, I was inspired by David Hume’s idea of implicit submission and, in his words, ‘the easiness with which the many are governed by the few’,” Collins said in a statement.

“The story also lent itself to a deeper dive into the use of propaganda and the power of those who control the narrative. The question ‘Real or not real?’ seems more pressing to me every day.”

The Hunger Games movies are a multibillion-dollar franchise for Lionsgate. Jennifer Lawrence portrayed heroine Katniss Everdeen in the film versions of The Hunger Games, Catching Fire and Mockingjay, the last of which came out in two instalments. Other featured actors have included Philip Seymour Hoffman, Josh Hutcherson, Stanley Tucci and Donald Sutherland.

A scene from The Hunger Games: Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. Photo / Instagram, @thehungergames and @lionsgate

“Suzanne Collins is a master storyteller and our creative north star,” Lionsgate chair Adam Fogelson said in a statement. “We couldn’t be more fortunate than to be guided and trusted by a collaborator whose talent and imagination are so consistently brilliant.”

The film version of Songbirds and Snakes, starring Tom Blyth and Rachel Zegler, came out last year. This fall, a Hunger Games stage production is scheduled to debut in London.

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