Hunger Games Series Director Francis Lawrence to Return for Anticipated Prequel Movie
The Hunger Games are soon set to return!
Lionsgate announced Tuesday that the series is officially getting a prequel movie based on author Suzanne Collin’s forthcoming novel, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.
Series filmmaker Francis Lawrence, who previously directed the last three films in the series — The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Parts 1 and 2 of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — will return to direct the new film, according to Entertainment Weekly. Collins is set to adapt the screenplay with one of the Catching Fire screenwriters, Michael Arndt, and will also take on an executive producer role.
Also returning are franchise producers Nina Jacobson and Brad Simpson. No casting or release date announcements have been made yet. The book comes out next spring.
WATCH: Francis Lawrence Reveals He’s In Talks to Direct a Potential Hunger Games Prequel Film
The prequel takes place in the Hunger Games universe and will be set roughly 64 years before the first book in the original trilogy.
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes will follow an 18-year-old Coriolanus Snow, who would eventually rise to become the tyrannical ruler of the dystopian nation of Panem, and the main villain of the Hunger Games series.
Years before he becomes the president of Panem, Snow is picked to be a mentor for the 10th annual Hunger Games, only to have his delight disappear when he is assigned to mentor the female tribute who hails from the poverty-stricken District 12.
Donald Sutherland portrayed the authoritarian President Snow across the first four movies, which followed the story of a brutal annual affair where two teenage tributes from each of the 12 Districts of the nation Panem are chosen at random to fight to the death in an arena.
RELATED: Hunger Games Prequel Novel in the Works — with a Potential Movie to Follow!News about the planned film won’t necessarily comes as a surprise to many, as Joe Drake, chairman of Lionsgate Motion Picture Group, has revealed in the past that he and Collins were already in talks about a film.
“As the proud home of the Hunger Games movies, we can hardly wait for Suzanne’s next book to be published,” Drake shared previously in 2019. “We’ve been communicating with her during the writing process and we look forward to continuing to work closely with her on the movie.”
In a statement issued Tuesday, Collins shared her own excitement over the news, stating, “Lionsgate has always been the cinematic home of The Hunger Games, and I’m delighted to be returning to them with this new book.”
She added, “From the beginning, they have treated the source material with great respect, honoring the thematic and narrative elements of the story, and assembling an incredible team both in front of and behind the camera. It’s such a pleasure to be reuniting with Nina, Francis, and Michael to adapt the novel to the screen, and having them share their remarkable talents, once again, with the world of Panem. I look forward to collaborating with them and all at Lionsgate as we bring The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes to theaters worldwide.”
The first three books in Collins’s series — The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay — have more than 100 million copies in print worldwide and have been translated into 54 languages worldwide. Lionsgate adapted these books into four feature films that grossed close $3 billion worldwide.
Scholastic has rights to the prequel novel and it will publish in print, digital and audio formats in the US, Canada, the UK and Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand next month.