Once again it’s time to say farewell to one of our favorite fandoms. But don’t worry, we’re pretty sure with these Hunger Games spinoffs, there’s no need to say goodbye just yet.
Four films is relatively few for a major franchise (we’re looking at you, Harry Potter), and the excitement around Mockingjay, Part 2 proves that there is still plenty of interest in the world of the Hunger Games.
It seems like we are not all that far off in asking for The Hunger Games spinoffs. Earlier this year, Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer told analysts that Lionsgate is “thinking about prequel and sequel possibilities.” Uh, yes please.
Only last week, the promotional team behind Mockingjay, Part 2 released a striking portrait of another former winner of the Hunger Games. Why introduce audiences to an otherwise unknown victor unless Lionsgate intended to remind us that, hey, other people have won the Games too and they’re just as interesting as Katniss. This poster shows Lionsgate’s interest in further developing the huge wealth of backstory they have to draw on.
When it comes to expanding a franchise, there are good and bad ideas. A Hunger Games theme park is an appalling idea, the very suggestion of which conveys a deep misunderstanding about the entire message of this series. But Hunger Games spinoffs would provide further opportunities to delve into the experiences and traumas of characters other than Katniss, who have suffered equally horrific treatment at the hands of their government. It isn’t about glorifying this violence, but understanding the many characters who have experienced it.
In order for any Hunger Games spinoffs to actually happen, we need author Suzanne Collins to write us some more story. But if Lionsgate are looking for ideas to pitch her, we have the answers for them. We’d just kill to see these happen, wouldn’t you?
A Finnick ‘Catching Fire’ prequel
Why? At age 14, Finnick won the 65th Hunger Games and the hearts of the Capitol. As we found out in Mockingjay, this came at a truly awful price and one that deserves further explanation. Plus, after Mockingjay, Part 2 we need a lot more of Finnick. A. Lot. More.
What it would look like:
A film trilogy. The first film would depict Finnick’s life in District Four and him being selected for, and then winning the Hunger Games. We would also get to see Finnick forming the relationship with his mentor, Mags, which would be so heartbreaking in Catching Fire. Given that Finnick was a Career tribute, his early experiences would be vastly different to Katniss’ and would offer an interesting point of comparison.
Film two would explore Finnick’s experiences post-Games and the tragic reality he revealed in Mockingjay: President Snow forced him to sell his body to the rich citizens of the Capitol. We’ll see Finnick gradually learn that in the Capitol, information is always the most valuable currency, while back in District Four he mentors Annie in the 70th Hunger Games, and through their shared trauma their friendship and romance develops.
The final film would take place at the same time as The Hunger Games and the beginning of Catching Fire, and would show Finnick’s growing discontentment with the Capitol. Finally, we would see him being recruited for the growing rebellion that has emerged around Katniss and Peeta. The film would end with Finnick entering the Games for the second time as a tribute in the third Quarter Quell, farewelling Annie and knowing he may not make it out alive.
A Haymitch ‘Hunger Games’ prequel
Why? We know how Haymitch ended up — a disgruntled, pessimistic alcoholic — but how did he get there? We caught a glimpse in the Catching Fire book of Haymitch’s victory in the second Quarter Quell, but there is a lot more to this character than we have had time to read about in the books, or see on screen.
What it would look like:
A television miniseries. The series would depict Haymitch’s Games and the repercussions afterwards. The miniseries would dedicate the majority of the episodes to the Hunger Games themselves, and Haymitch’s friendship with fellow District 12 tribute and aunt of Katniss’ friend Madge, Maysilee Donner. The Games would be brutal (think Game of Thrones), and we would have plenty of opportunities to witness Haymitch’s intelligence and cunning. Madge was omitted from The Hunger Games films, but even without the connection to Katniss, seeing Haymitch bonding with his fellow District 12 tribute and then fail to save her would make Katniss saving Peeta all the more potent.
After Haymitch’s victory, we would see how the Capitol punished him for outsmarting them using their own forcefield. We would see the tragedy that befell his life, including President Snow killing his mother, brother, and girlfriend. As we see Haymitch descend into the grief-fuelled despair that he existed in until Katniss sparked a flash hope in him, we will understand the toll that mentoring doomed tribute after doomed tribute has on his psyche. As Haymitch withdraws from society, we will realise that without Peeta and the extraordinary events of her own Hunger Games, this is how Katniss could have ended up.
A Johanna ‘Hunger Games’ prequel and ‘Mockingjay’ companion
Why? Johanna is one of the most underused characters in both The Hunger Games books and films. We know that she is strong, and that she is a survivor at almost any cost, but we don’t know what made her this way. Now, we want the answers.
What it would look like:
Two films. The first would show Johanna’s early life in District Seven, her Games and the aftermath. It is in this film that we would learn what Johanna meant when she told Katniss that the Capitol can no longer hurt her because there isn’t anyone left who she loves.
The second film would act as a companion to both parts of Mockingjay. We would see Johanna’s struggles both in the Capitol, where she is tortured following the events of Catching Fire, and then in District 13, where she fails to become a soldier. While Katniss is off fighting in the Capitol, we see in this film what Johanna — a smart, perceptive, self-sufficient survivor — contributes to the fight away from the frontline. This would be the perfect opportunity to include the District 13 training sequences that were cut from Mockingjay, Part 2. Just as both parts of Mockingjay focused on Katniss’ mental state, this film would give Johanna her due.
A Gale ‘Mockingjay’ sequel
Why? Gale’s appearances in the films have been sporadic to say the least, and while Liam Hemsworth has built a strong character out of the material he has been given, we just know there’s more of Gale’s story to tell. Although he shone in Mockingjay, Part 2, he is the least developed of our main trios, and so is the perfect character to move ahead with; his story is beginning just as Katniss and Peeta’s is ending.
What it would look like:
One standalone film. We imagine this to be the companion to Johanna’s films, because we know studios love trilogies. The film would pick up after the end of Mockingjay, Part 2 as we see Gale attempt to navigate a world where Katniss is no longer his central point of focus. So much of Gale’s personality is derived from his relationship with Katniss, but the war has changed him as much as anyone.
In this film we would see Gale venture back to District Two to begin the long, slow work of rebuilding Panem. As he works for the new government, we would see Gale dealing with PTSD from his experiences in the Capitol, and begin to gain firsthand insight into how Katniss must have felt after returning from the Games — twice. As one of the more morally grey characters in the series, Gale must reconcile his black and white beliefs with a world that is constantly changing, and find a new place for himself without “Catnip” by his side.
Have these ‘Hunger Games’ spinoffs caught your interest?
These spinoff ideas all have one thing in common: they are character based. We aren’t interested in seeing violence for the sake of violence. These Hunger Games spinoffs could work because they are focused on showing the ramifications of this war on characters who were effected in very different ways. By highlighting the broader spectrum of experiences, the filmmakers would prove that Katniss was not a miraculous exception, but the rule; every character living through these tragedies was damaged, and they all fought back in their own ways. There could only be one Mockingjay, but that shouldn’t make the traumas of Finnick, Haymitch, Johanna, Gale, or any other character any less important.