Suzanne Collins is bringing back The Hunger Games, with the author announcing a new prequel novel that takes place 64 years before the events of the first book in the series, set for release on May 19th, 2020.
“With this book, I wanted to explore the state of nature, who we are, and what we perceive is required for our survival,” Collins said in an announcement to AP. “The reconstruction period 10 years after the war, commonly referred to as the Dark Days — as the country of Panem struggles back to its feet — provides fertile ground for characters to grapple with these questions and thereby define their views of humanity.”
The time period isn’t one we know much about from Collins’ existing trilogy. For reference, The Hunger Games sees the events of the 74th iteration of the annual titular competition (in which Katniss and Peeta compete). That would put the prequel beyond the lifetime of almost all the characters we know from the books, except for President Snow, who at the time that the prequel is set would be about 11 years old.
Based on the previous novels in the series, though, we do know that 74 years before the main novels (and ten years before the new prequel), the 13 Districts of Panem tried to rebel against the Capital. But the rebellion was put down, with 12 of the Districts put back under Capital control and the system of the Hunger Games instituted to remind the Districts of their place (District 13 was secretly left in a cold war of mutually assured destruction due to its control over nuclear weaponry). The new prequel will be set ten years after that rebellion, although if Collins’ statement is anything to go by, it seems things aren’t quite settled yet.