Book Club / Culture

Who will portray young Haymitch in the ‘Hunger Games’ prequel?

It may have been 16 years since the original The Hunger Games book was published, but that doesn't mean we're over it just yet. Last year's epic prequel film A Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes was a testament to the fandom's undying passion for the world of Panem – and today we've received official word that the world is set to be expanded.

Suzanne Collins has confirmed she is returning to the dystopian, post-apocalyptic world of The Hunger Games with a new prequel novel called Sunrise on the Reaping– and even more excitingly? There will be a film to go along with it.

Everything we know so far, below.


What is it about?

The fifth volume of Collins’ blockbuster dystopian series will follow the second-ever Quarter Quell, set 24 years before the original novel, and 40 years after Collins’ most recent work The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. Sure, that probably doesn't mean much to the untrained eye, but avid readers of the series will know that this is the Quarter Quell that a fan favourite character participated in… Haymitch Abernathy (played by Woody Harrelson).

There's a fair bit of known history to contend with, given that Katniss and Peeta watch Haymitch’s game in Catching Fire. But perhaps most interestingly, the second Quarter Quell’s surprise twist saw twice the amount of tributes being drawn.

"With Sunrise on the Reaping, I 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,’" Collins said in a statement. "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."


Who will be involved in the film?

Considering the film is set in Haymitch's youth, it's unlikely we'll see Harrelson reprise the role (though we'd love to see him make some sort of flash-forward cameo). Instead, we're likely to see a cast of younger actors take part.

What we do know, is that Lionsgate have already confirmed Francis Lawrence, who directed all but the first Hunger Games movies, will return as director.


Who are some contenders reportedly reaped for the role?

Word has been floating around the districts, and the shortlist of some considered talent has been released. Here are some alleged participants who might be taking on Harrelson's younger mantle.



When will the Sunrise on the Reaping book be released?

Sunrise on the Reaping book will be published on 18 March 2025, according to a Scholastic press release.


When will the Sunrise on the Reaping film released?

Lionsgate, the production studio that released all four previous Hunger Games films, announced that Sunrise on the Reaping would open in theatres on 20 November 2026.


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