The Hunger Games Prequel Reportedly Heading Into Production in 2022

The Hunger Games franchise got a new update last year, with the release of the controversial prequel novel The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. The novel dives into the world of the original trilogy's villain, President Show, and completely changed the way readers looked at his story. Even before the novel was released, it was announced that Lionsgate planned to adapt the prequel as a movie, and now we know when it might get off the ground. During Lionsgate's quarterly earnings call, the company's motion picture group chairman Joe Drake shed light on the plans for the film, which they hope to release in late 2023 or early 2024. The film reportedly plans to start production in the first half of 2022, and is apparently "moving along really, really well" in pre-production.

Set 64 years before the events of the original trilogy, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes revisits the world of Panem from the perspective of its future tyrannical dictator, President Snow, as he's assigned to mentor District 12's female tribute at the 10th Hunger Games in an ironic twist of foreshadowing. The book opens on the morning of the reaping, an event that Hunger Games fans know all too well. But this time, we see the heartbreaking holiday through the eyes of a very different protagonist and the story unfolds from there.

The film will see the return of director Francis Lawrence, who helmed the final three installments in the Hunger Games film series.

"We see the evolution of Snow and that's interesting. But to me, the more interesting part was seeing the evolution of Panem and seeing the Hunger Games in its 10th year and seeing how rudimentary it was," publisher David Levithan said of the book in an interview late last year. "And seeing how all of the themes and all of the ideas that we'll see later in the trilogy are having their origin story. When you see them in the trilogy, it's a foregone conclusion: The Hunger Games is what it is, it is evil, it is punitive. But seeing where it didn't have to go that direction, seeing how it sort of wobbled, and seeing how the forces pushed it into existence, that was fascinating to me because there are lessons to be learned about human nature and about societies and governments that we would really do well to listen to."

"Everybody at first thought it was going to be a fallen angel story, like Snow's going to be a hero and then something happens and he becomes bad," Levithan added. "What Suzanne shows is that it's so much more complicated than that. His personality was what it was but it was outside forces that either amplify pieces of who you are or help you go a different direction. You see a tug of war in this book."

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h/t: Deadline