It’s been a while since it was first announced The Hunger Games was getting a prequel, with Lionsgate first confirming their intentions to continue with the franchise back in June 2019. The following year, it was announced The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes was happening with Catching Fire and Mockingjay director Francis Lawrence returning, and the script will hail from Toy Story 3‘s Michael Arndt.
Presumably, the studio wanted to wait for the source material to arrive first, with author Suzanne Collins’ novel of the same name hitting bookshelves just weeks after Lawrence and Arndt’s involvement was revealed, so fans of the literary series should already have a decent idea of where the story is heading, which takes place 64 years before The Hunger Games and follows a younger version of President Snow.
It’s been a long time since the project gained any sort of movement, though, but during the outfit’s quarterly earnings call, President of the Lionsgate Motion Picture Group Joe Drake claimed that production is expected to start during the first half of 2022, with an eye to seeing The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes hit theaters in either late 2023 or early 2024.
The Hunger Games may have earned in excess of $2.9 billion at the box office, but should the prequel stick to that timetable almost eight years will have passed since Mockinglay – Part 2, and the brand’s time in the cultural spotlight has long since passed. Legacy sequels, prequels or reboots have proven to be fairly inconsistent from both a critical and commercial perspective, so casting will be key to The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes drawing in an audience without the presence of Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss Everdeen.