For years, fans of Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games had reason to believe the dystopian trilogy has wrapped up for good. It was therefore quite surprising when the 2020 prequel The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes was announced. So, could we expect another Hunger Games book, and when?
As of December 2021, there has been no announcement about any book beyond The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. Collins wrote the three books of the original trilogy with no break in between. That being the case, we think we would have heard if there was another book currently in the making or due for release soon.
As such, there's no release date we can currently offer for another Hunger Games book, though, of course, we'll keep you up to date with any news that might come up. Remember that it took Collins a decade to revisit Panem, so another book at some point would be possible, even if we get no update for some years yet.
In a 2020 interview, when asked whether she always planned to return to Panem, author Suzanne Collins said:
"Here’s how it works now. I have two worlds, the Underland (the world of The Underland Chronicles series) and Panem (the world of The Hunger Games). I use both of them to explore elements of just war theory. When I find a related topic that I want to examine, then I look for the place it best fits. The state of nature debate of the Enlightenment period naturally lent itself to a story centered on Coriolanus Snow."
Of course, an author's process and their reasons for writing might change over time. A decade after the original trilogy wrapped up, Collins' writing evolved a lot, becoming something completely different from what we were used to seeing from her. Taking this recent statement into account, however, we think that Collins would be unlikely to write another prequel simply because fans asked for it. Moreover, this recent statement illuminates her choice to focus on her more despicable character. A book about Snow didn't sit right with some fans, but she very much didn't do it to annoy them.
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is part villain study, part political philosophy. In it, Collins wanted to discuss just war theory. For the uninitiated, Wikipedia defines this theory as "a doctrine, also referred to as a tradition, of military ethics which is studied by military leaders, theologians, ethicists and policymakers. The purpose of the doctrine is to ensure that a war is morally justifiable through a series of criteria, all of which must be met for a war to be considered just."
On a secondary level, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes allowed Collins to explore a character she had only alluded to: Lucy Gray Baird, the fourth (though chronologically the first) District 12 victor. The original trilogy makes no allusion to the character's fate, but she's the one that introduced entertainment in the Hunger Games, and her songs are an important part of the rebellion that eventually takes Snow down.
In that sense, none of the elements of the prequel feel gratuitous or unnecessary. Whether or not we enjoyed it is a completely different question.
In her 2020 interview, Collins did not explain whether or not she plans a new book in Panem. Her idea of utilizing her settings to explore a theory that interests her - and is very relevant today - leaves the door open for more Hunger Games content, although, judging from the prequel, this wouldn't necessarily happen soon. If it does happen, we hope that this time, the focus will be on one of the characters we'd love to find out more about.
Haymitch, Johanna, Finnick and Annie would all be potential candidates as their backstories are moving and interesting. We'd also love to see more of Tigris, a Capitol citizen who helps Katniss in book 3 and is later revealed to be Snow's cousin. The reasons why they fell apart and their attempts to harm each other would make for interesting conflict.
Hopefully, we won't have to spend any more time in Snow's head, as his transformation from calculating student to a villainous dictator is complete.
In any case, if another Hunger Games book was to come out, we are quite sure it would be a prequel again. With the dystopia dismantled, a prequel would likely only harm the story. With dystopian books like the recently released Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao, treated the whole love triangle and televised romance in more original ways, it's best to let The Hunger Games be a good series of its time, rather than change an already completed story.i