Hunger Games Prequel Movie In The Works, Director Francis Lawrence Returning

Francis Lawrence turned the Hunger Games sequel films Catching Fire and Mockingjay 1 & 2 into international box office hits, and now he's been tapped to do it all again! THR reports that Lionsgate is indeed bringing Lawrence back to direct the Hunger Games prequel film, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes", which will be based on the book of the same name by original Hunger Games trilogy author, Suzanne Collins. In a somewhat controversial turn, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes will follow the younger version of Hunger Games villain President Coriolanus Snow, who will now be the hero of the story!

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes Sounds like the kind of interesting and potentially dark turn that Francis Lawrence is known for (see: Constantine, Red Sparrow). Lawrence himself had hinted that he could be returning to the Hunger Games franchise last fall, while doing press for his Apple TV+ series See:

“Yeah, I’ve definitely been talking to Suzanne about it, and to Lionsgate about it,” Lawrence told PEOPLE Now. “It’s something I would absolutely love to do.”

Also returning to the Hunger Games movie franchise will be screenwriter Michael Arndt and producer Nina Jacobson, who worked on all four of Lionsgate's Hunger Games movies, to the total sum of a $3 billion box office haul.

Lionsgate's chairman Joe Drake issued a statement that praises and hypes Collins forthcoming prequel book, as a sure-fire hit with fans of the Hunger Games franchise:

"Suzanne’s new book has been worth the wait. It offers everything fans could hope for and expect from The Hunger Games while also breaking new ground and introducing an entirely new canvas of characters."

In her own statement, Suzanne Collins praise the chance to re-team with the studio on another adaptation of her books: "Lionsgate has always been the cinematic home of The Hunger Games, and I’m delighted to be returning to them with this new book."

Here's a small teaser for what The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes will deliver, as we meet Coriolanus Snow as "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." You can read a small excerpt from the book, below (courtesy of EW):

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"The grand staircase up to the Academy could hold the entire student body, so it easily accommodated the stream of officials, professors, and students headed for the reaping day festivities. Coriolanus climbed it slowly, attempting a casual dignity in case he caught anyone’s eye. People knew him—or at least they had known his parents and grandparents—and there was a certain standard expected of a Snow. This year, beginning this very day, he was hoping to achieve personal recognition as well. Mentoring in the Hunger Games was his final project before graduating from the Academy in midsummer. If he gave an impressive performance as a mentor, with his outstanding academic record, Coriolanus should be awarded a monetary prize substantial enough to cover his tuition at the University."

No production or release date for Hunger Games: The Ballad of Snakes and Songbirds has been given yet.