As a franchise, The Hunger Games is quickly approaching its imminent curtain call. With Mockingjay — Part 1 poised to hit our screens in the coming weeks — the first chapter in the series’ two-part finale — fans of Katniss Everdeen are preparing to say their goodbyes to the Girl On Fire.
But, according to the franchise’s current director, Francis Lawrence, there is no reason that The Hunger Games couldn’t extend beyond next year’s Mockingjay — Part 2 and, in the vein of Harry Potter spinoff Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, explore new and undiscovered areas of Panem.
Speaking to Empire, here’s what Lawrence had to say on the future of the series on screen.
“It’s a tough thing. It’s a weird thing. That world of Harry Potter, there’s a lot to that world that you can explain. You can understand the appeal of telling another story, but can you actually do it without Harry, Hermione and those characters? Will people care as much? And I guess you can say the same thing about the Hunger Games world. There are a lot of past games and a lot of this world, but without Katniss, is it the same? Part of what I like about the series is the connection to things we think about and talk about now. What’s the new version of that? That would be the tricky thing.”
It’s interesting to learn the filmmaker’s perspective on the topic. Having an entry into The Hunger Games sans Katniss would no doubt be a bold decision, but given that Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is transporting Harry Potter fans to a new timeline and a whole new set of characters, there’s no reason that a Panem spinoff couldn’t materialize at some point in the future.
Maybe that’s comparing apples to oranges, though. Ultimately, the fate of The Hunger Games rests in the hands of Lionsgate and it’s difficult to imagine the studio placing the lucrative property on the shelf indefinitely once the credits roll on Mockingjay — Part 2. But time will tell.
Elsewhere in the interview, Francis Lawrence also touched upon the role of the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman in the upcoming release, with the director confirming that, rather than incorporating Plutarch Heavensbee in digitally, the creative team chose to work around the scenes they had already filmed.
“He had two substantial scenes left and the rest were appearances in other scenes. We had no intention of trying to fake a performance, so we rewrote those scenes to give to other actors… The rest we just didn’t have him appear in those scenes. There’s no digital manipulation or CG fabrication of any kind.”
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1 will launch into theaters on November 21st, 2014.