Woody Harrelson as Haymitch in the Hunger Games, raising a glass of what appears to be whiskey.
(Lionsgate)

The New ‘Hunger Games’ Prequel Promises to Be Anything but a Cheap Cash-Grab

Hunger Games definitely won the battle of the 2000s–2010s YA franchises. It gave us four respected books, five respected movies, and everyone went away quietly devastated by the story but pleased to have spent some time fighting alongside Katniss Everdeen.

Recommended Videos

Suzanne Collins, the author of the books, is likewise well respected. She’s maintained a pretty low profile since the first wave of interest in the Hunger Games franchise. You won’t find her lurking on social media trying desperately to recapture the glory days; she simply said what she wanted to say about war and death, said it again in the hard-hitting Hunger Games prequel The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, and then carried on living her best life. (She’s the anti-Rowling, if you will.)

Now Collins has decided that actually, there is a little more she wants to tell us about the world of Panem. But this is no cheap cash grab, a sadly all too common thing in this world of Disney/Marvel mega-franchises. Collins has actually put some thought into the world she created and has a good reason for returning to it.

Yep, today marked the announcement of a brand new Hunger Games book, Sunrise on the Reaping, which will explore a time in Panem history that was only ever referred to in the books. We’re heading now towards the Fiftieth Hunger Games, which so happened to be won by a character that we met as an adult in the very first Hunger Games story. That’s none other than Haymitch Abernathy, played by Woody Harrelson in the movie.

And speaking of the movies, yes, we’re getting a movie of Sunrise on the Reaping, too. Francis Lawrence is set to direct and it’ll be with us before the end of 2026. (Who will play young Haymitch is sure to be a matter of intense speculation until casting is announced.)

But even more exciting than the prospect of getting a Haymitch story is knowing what Collins has taken as her inspiration for this return to Panem. When she wrote the original Hunger Games book back in the ’00s, she was inspired by the coverage of the Iraq War, the rise of reality television, and the gladiator games of Roman history. Now she’s selected a different framework to base a novel around.

“With Sunrise on the Reaping, I was inspired by [Scottish Enlightenment philosopher] 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 press release. “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.”

With the rise of deepfakes and AI, this sounds like a fascinating premise to build a Hunger Games story around. The book is due out on March 18, 2025, and promises to take a good long look at the systems that govern us right now.


The Mary Sue is supported by our audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Learn more about our Affiliate Policy
related content
Read Article The 10 Best Horror Novels of All Time
Horror book covers on an abstract background (clockwise from top left): 'Carmilla,' 'American Psycho,' 'Frankenstein,' 'It,' and 'Blood Meridian'
Horror book covers on an abstract background (clockwise from top left): 'Carmilla,' 'American Psycho,' 'Frankenstein,' 'It,' and 'Blood Meridian'
Horror book covers on an abstract background (clockwise from top left): 'Carmilla,' 'American Psycho,' 'Frankenstein,' 'It,' and 'Blood Meridian'
Read Article Utah Emulates ‘Fahrenheit 451’ With Statewide Book Bans and Calls for Book Burnings
A stack of books labeled "Prohibited Literature"
A stack of books labeled "Prohibited Literature"
A stack of books labeled "Prohibited Literature"
Read Article Conservatives Are Predictably Banning Books About Book Bans From Florida Schools
The cover of Ban This Book by Alan Gratz
The cover of Ban This Book by Alan Gratz
The cover of Ban This Book by Alan Gratz
Read Article Writing in Ursula K. Le Guin’s House Sounds Like a Dream, Right? That Dream Can Now Come True
Ursula K. Le Guin'sitting in a rocking chair and holding a book, black and white photograph.
Ursula K. Le Guin'sitting in a rocking chair and holding a book, black and white photograph.
Ursula K. Le Guin'sitting in a rocking chair and holding a book, black and white photograph.
Read Article Win a Signed Copy of ‘The Watchers’ From Dakota Fanning and Ishana Night Shyamalan
Dakota Fanning in 'The Watchers'
Dakota Fanning in 'The Watchers'
Dakota Fanning in 'The Watchers'
Related Content
Read Article The 10 Best Horror Novels of All Time
Horror book covers on an abstract background (clockwise from top left): 'Carmilla,' 'American Psycho,' 'Frankenstein,' 'It,' and 'Blood Meridian'
Read Article Utah Emulates ‘Fahrenheit 451’ With Statewide Book Bans and Calls for Book Burnings
A stack of books labeled "Prohibited Literature"
Read Article Conservatives Are Predictably Banning Books About Book Bans From Florida Schools
The cover of Ban This Book by Alan Gratz
Read Article Writing in Ursula K. Le Guin’s House Sounds Like a Dream, Right? That Dream Can Now Come True
Ursula K. Le Guin'sitting in a rocking chair and holding a book, black and white photograph.
Read Article Win a Signed Copy of ‘The Watchers’ From Dakota Fanning and Ishana Night Shyamalan
Dakota Fanning in 'The Watchers'
Author
Sarah Barrett
Sarah Barrett (she/her) is a freelance writer with The Mary Sue who has been working in journalism since 2014. She loves to write about movies, even the bad ones. (Especially the bad ones.) The Raimi Spider-Man trilogy and the Star Wars prequels changed her life in many interesting ways. She lives in one of the very, very few good parts of England.