Woody Harrelson as Haymitch Abernathy in The Hunger Games
(Lionsgate)

This Is Not a Drill, ‘Hunger Games’ Fans! Suzanne Collins Is Releasing a New Prequel Set During the 50th Games

Suzanne Collins surprised The Hunger Games fans by announcing another book in the series. Sunrise on the Reaping will officially expand the bestselling series next year and delve deeper into one of its most interesting characters.

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Since the series started in 2005 with the release of The Hunger Games, it has quickly grown to become one of the bestselling Young Adult book series of all time. The series is set in the fictional world of Panem, where society is divided into 13 districts ruled by the wealthy and oppressive Capitol. While the districts suffer from poverty and famine, they are dissuaded from starting a rebellion by the construction of The Hunger Games after the last uprising.

Every year, each district must offer a boy and girl to compete in a competition where they fight to the death as a reminder of the Capitol’s power and hold over them. However, when Katniss Everdeen enters the competition, her unintentional act of rebellion has far-reaching implications for all of Panem.

Given that the original trilogy starts with the 74th Hunger Games, there has always been room to expand the series by exploring past competitions and victors. Collins grasped this opportunity once before with her prequel The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, which takes viewers back to the 10th Hunger Games, where Coriolanus Snow serves as a mentor. Now, she’s going back in time again with Sunrise on the Reaping.

We’re officially getting another Hunger Games prequel

On May 6, Collins dropped the surprise announcement via Scholastic that another Hunger Games prequel is on the way. Scholastic dropped the temporary cover of Sunrise on the Reaping, revealing the book will be released on March 18, 2025. It is already available for pre-order for fans who want to ensure they’ll be the first to get their hands on the new book.

The official synopsis for Sunrise on the Reaping reads:

Sunrise on the Reaping will revisit the world of Panem twenty-four years before the events of The Hunger Games, starting on the morning of the reaping of the Fiftieth Hunger Games, also known as the Second Quarter Quell.

Although no characters have been officially announced, readers familiar with The Hunger Games will know exactly who could appear in this story: Haymitch Abernathy. In the series, Haymitch is the sole living Hunger Games victor from District 12 and is chosen to mentor Katniss and Peeta Mellark. While he initially appears to be a callous, unsympathetic alcoholic, he eventually becomes Katniss’ biggest ally and a key figure in the rebellion. However, he has lingering trauma from his time in the arena. Throughout the course of the series, he and other former victors slowly revealed his experience.

Haymitch was one of four tributes reaped for the Second Quarter Quell when he was 16. To commemorate the milestone, the Capitol switched up the 50th Hunger Games, requiring each district to double its number of tributes. Haymitch survived by forming an alliance with one of his fellow District 12 tributes, Maysilee Donner, and finding an unconventional way to utilize the force field at the end of the arena. However, using the arena to his advantage was seen as an act of rebellion since he didn’t win the traditional way, leading to President Snow killing his entire family and girlfriend.

Given that Sunrise on the Reaping focuses on the 50th Hunger Games, many assume Haymitch will be the lead protagonist. Even if he’s not the main focus, he is sure to be featured in the book as the Games’ ultimate victor. Other characters expected to make an appearance or receive a mention are President Snow and long-time Hunger Games host Caesar Flickerman. Haymitch’s District 12 ally, Maysilee, is also likely to appear. However, Haymitch and Maysilee are the only known tributes who participated in the Fiftieth Hunger Games, leaving the other 46 tributes unknown.

Sunrise on the Reaping may also introduce Haymitch’s family, as he mentioned having a mother, brother, and girlfriend when he was reaped, though their names are unknown. The book could go in a lot of different directions as there is still much unknown about Haymitch’s past, his family, and the fellow tributes and Capitol workers behind the 50th Hunger Games. Like its predecessors, it is also expected to hold some political and social commentary. In a statement, Collins revealed her inspiration for the book came from Scottish Enlightenment philosopher David Hume, especially his thoughts on submission. She stated:

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. 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 philosophical inspiration, Haymitch, Maysilee, and a Quarter Quell, Sunrise on the Reaping is shaping up to be quite an exciting Hunger Games prequel.


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Rachel Ulatowski
Rachel Ulatowski is a Staff Writer for The Mary Sue, who frequently covers DC, Marvel, Star Wars, literature, and celebrity news. She has over three years of experience in the digital media and entertainment industry, and her works can also be found on Screen Rant, JustWatch, and Tell-Tale TV. She enjoys running, reading, snarking on YouTube personalities, and working on her future novel when she's not writing professionally. You can find more of her writing on Twitter at @RachelUlatowski.