The Hunger Games prequel title and cover have been revealed, and it seems a fan plot theory has been debunked
Update, October 8th, 4:50 p.m. EDT: This post has been updated to reflect confirmation about when in time the Hunger Games prequel book will be set.
Update, October 8th, 12:35 p.m. EDT: We were already feeling excited about the news that a Hunger Games prequel was coming, but now that we know the title and can see the book cover, we’re grabbing our bow and arrows to go full Katniss.
The prequel will be titled The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, according to Entertainment Weekly.
With this news comes confirmation that the book will start on the morning of the reaping for the 10th annual Hunger Games—not the 11th, as many fans had suspected. Which means that it’s centering on the Games before the one for which Mags was the victor. While that doesn’t mean that the popular fan theory that this book will center on Mags is entirely disputed (read more on that below) as Mags would be alive during the Dark Days, it does put it as less likely.
Publisher Scholastic revealed the cover on Twitter.
We’re throwing up our (temporary) three-finger salute to the Mags fan theory, but we’re still super stoked for our return to Panem.
Original post, June 17th: The Hunger Games saga isn’t over just yet. Scholastic just announced that Suzanne Collins is writing a yet-untitled Hunger Games prequel that is slated to hit shelves on May 19th, 2020. It will be the first Panem-set book since the trilogy’s third installment, Mockingjay, was released in 2010. The publisher noted that the book would take place 64 years before Katniss Everdeen competes in the annual Games. Fans of the series immediately did the math and have a theory that the book will follow Catching Fire breakout star, Mags Flanagan.
Quick backstory: The book and movie series follows Katniss Everdeen as she competes in Panem’s annual “Hunger Games,” a televised event in which children fight to the death. In the second book, Catching Fire, Katniss competes in the 75th annual Games and meets Mags Flanagan. Mags is an elderly woman who had won the 11th annual Hunger Games, and she volunteers as tribute at the 75th Games in place of a younger woman. During the competition, Mags becomes one of Katniss’ allies before she eventually sacrifices herself.
True Hunger Games fans did the math and noted that 64 years before the events of Catching Fire would put us right on time to see Mags win the 11th annual games.
Collins has not confirmed whether the prequel would follow Mags, and the author’s official synopsis of the book only states that the prequel will take place during the “Dark Days,” which was 10 years after the failed rebellion that turned the United States into the nightmarish Panem.
Unless there is some weird math trickery going on in Panem, Catching Fire revolves around the 75th annual Hunger Games, and the prequel takes place 64 years before the events of the current books. In case you’re not following, we also did the math: 75 minus 64 equals 11. Mags competed in the 11th Hunger Games, so…the book is totally about Mags. Boom, solved it. Thanks, fans!