Another ‘Hunger Games’ Announced, Rachel Zegler Says “You’re Welcome”

in Entertainment

Rachel Zegler as Lucy Gray Baird in The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

Credit: Lionsgate

It’s happening – we’re finally getting the long-awaited The Hunger Games prequel, which will focus on a fan-favorite character.

Nearly a decade after the final film in the original series hit theaters, The Hunger Games fandom is still going strong. Last year saw a massive revival in interest in the franchise, with The Hunger Games: Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (2023) raking in $337.4 million at the box office.

Rachel Zegler at a microphone in Hunger Games
Credit: Lionsgate

Unlike the first four films, which focused on Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and her journey as the Mockingjay who incites rebellion against the Capitol in Panem, this follows the events and aftermath of the 10th Annual Hunger Games. To be specific, it focuses on Coriolanus Snow (Tom Blyth), the future President reviled by Katniss, as he mentors District 12’s female tribute, Lucy Gray Baird (Rachel Zegler).

Like the book of the same name, this received rave reviews from critics and fans alike. Zegler’s performance, in particular, was a standout for many, with The Sunday Times proclaiming, “Thank goodness for Rachel Zegler.”

With the release of The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes came a renewed appetite for more stories set within the world of The Hunger Games. While author Suzanne Collins previously denounced the idea of writing more stories for the story’s sake, she did admit that she would pen more when or if the inspiration struck.

Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen on a fiery background with wings in Hunger Games
Credit: Lionsgate

Luckily for fans, it has indeed struck again. Today, Scholastic confirmed that Collins will release her fifth installment in the series – “Sunrise on the Reaping” on March 18, 2025.

Set 40 years after the events of the book “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes,” the book’s setting coincides with the 50th Annual Hunger Games – AKA the second Quarter Quell, in which Katniss’ mentor Haymitch Abernathy (played by Woody Harrelson in the first four films) competed and emerged triumphant.

A man with shoulder-length blonde hair and a light scruffy beard holds up a glass containing a small amount of amber-colored liquid. Wearing a light brown vest over a white shirt, he has an expression of contemplation or indifference.
Credit: Lionsgate

Fans have long clamored for a book focusing on Haymitch, whose time in the games and relations with the Capitol weigh so heavily that, by the time he mentors Katniss and Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) in the 74th Annual Hunger Games, he is deeply reliant on alcohol.

In fact, one very famous fan even called for Suzanne Collins to pen Haymitch’s origin story back in 2021. A year before she was cast as Lucy Gray Baird, Rachel Zegler – who will star as Snow White in Disney’s live-action remake – shared a tweet insisting that “girls don’t want boys. girls want suzanne collins to release a haymitch abernathy origin trilogy.”

girls don’t want boys. girls want suzanne collins to release a haymitch abernathy origin trilogy

 

Fast-forward three years, and Zegler is as happy as anyone that Collins is giving the people what they want. The actress returned to X (formerly known as Twitter) earlier today to write, “You’re welcome guys.”

For now, we don’t have any precise details on what to expect from “Sunrise on the Reaping.” However, Collins did tell the AP that she 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.’”

Rachel Zegler and Tom Blyth in 'The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes'
Credit: Lionsgate

Collins also added that “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.”

Like its predecessors, “Sunrise on the Reaping” will also get the Hollywood treatment. Francis Lawrence, who has directed all but one Hunger Games movie, will return for a film adaptation that will premiere on November 20, 2026.

We’d also hazard a guess that President Snow will once again return in “Sunrise on the Reaping.” However, with Tom Blyth decidedly too young to portray a character who will at that point be in his late 50s, and Donald Sutherland (who starred alongside Lawrence and co. in the original films) too old, the character will likely need to be recast once again.

Are you excited for the next Hunger Games installment? Let us know in the comments!

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