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The Hunger Games Sunrise On The Reaping: Everything We Know So Far

Editorial credit: Anton_Ivanov / Shutterstock.com

“May the odds forever be in your favour” or at least until 2026 as a new Hunger Games film is set to reach our screens.

Haymitch Abernathy fans all rise! Because this one is for you. The Hunger Games story is not over yet. Following the success of last year’s release of The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes, Suzanne Collins has announced she is releasing a new novel, Sunrise On The Reaping.

So, What Do We Actually Know So Far?

Credit: BalkansCat / Shutterstock.com

Unlike The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes, which takes place 64 years before the original trilogy, The Sunrise On The Reaping is set in the year of the 50th Hunger Games (the Second Quaterquell). The year we saw District 12’s Haymitch win and 24 years before Katniss Everdeen (played by Jennifer Lawrence) won.

The fifth volume of the Hunger Games series is set to be published on March 18th 2025. Shortly after the novel announcement, Lionsgate declared that the movie adaptation is set to follow a year later. The novel is already available to pre-order which should keep us busy while we wait for the film!

Haymitch Abernath is the star of the new Hunger Games novel.
Credit: Lionsgate Pictures

This latest installment promises to be met with just as much enthusiasm as the rest of the franchise. More than 100 million copies of all four books in Collins’ Hunger Games series have been sold. While the films have grossed more than $3.3 billion at the worldwide box office. So expect this one to be a hit with the Hunger Games fans, especially Haymitch ones!

What Do We Know About The Theatre Release?

Credit: Lionsgate Entertainment 2024

The upcoming film is set to be released in theatres on November 20th, 2026. Woody Harrelson portrayed Haymitch in the original Hunger Games cast, but as of yet, there is no news on who will portray the younger version of Haymitch. The rest of the cast is yet to be announced.

The prequel will be produced by Lionsgate again. Francis Lawrence is in talks to return for the 5th time to direct the film. On this, Collins has said “From the beginning, Lionsgate has been a wonderful home and partner for The Hunger Games franchise, and I’m very excited to be collaborating with Adam and the team as we bring this next story to theatres in 2026.”

What Is ‘Sunrise On The Reaping’ About?

Sunrise on the Reaping will revisit the world of Panem 24 years before the events of The Hunger Games, starting on the morning of the reaping of the 50th Hunger Games, also known as the Second Quarter Quell. In “honour” of the 50th Hunger Games, 2 sets of tributes were reaped from each district (2 girls and 2 boys), meaning there were 48 tributes overall.

Although Suzanne Collins has not released the novel yet, she did give some details about Haymitch’s games in Catching Fire but these were missed out in the film adaptation.

“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. 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.”

Suzanne Collins on The Hunger Games: Sunrise on The Reaping novel

These details give us a baseline for what we can predict as the main film’s premise or events. They tell us that Haymitch is reaped at 16 years old alongside female tribute Maysilee Donner. The pair formed an alliance and remained together throughout the games until only five tributes were left. Maysliee decided to go her own way to avoid having to kill Haymitch but sadly died after being attacked and killed by bird-mutts. Haymitch held her hand as she passed.

Haymitch then went on to win the games by using clever tactics of using the force field at the edge of the arena to kill the District 1 tribute with her own axe. (Can you see where Katniss got her tips from in Catching Fire?)

Sunrise On The Reapings Connections To The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes

Rachel Zegler and Tom Blyth in 'The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes'. Credit: Murray Close/Lionsgate
Credit: Murray Close/Lionsgate

Sunrise on The Reaping is set 40 years after the 2019 novel, The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes, which dives into President Coriolanus Snow’s origin story. The 2023 successful film adaptation explored President Snow’s life before becoming Panem’s leader. During this, he mentors District 12 and games-winner Lucy Gray Braid.

In Sunrise On The Reaping, the viewers will see an older version of President Snow and his first couple of years as the leader of Panem. Shortly after Haymitch’s win in the games, Snow ordered the execution of Haymitch’s mother, younger brother and girlfriend. Thus the 2026 film will show us how Snow’s character has progressed since The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes.

So prepare yourself for Haymitch’s story of hatred towards Snow!

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University of Worcester

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