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Everything You Need to Know About The Hunger Games Books and Movies

Here's how Sunrise on the Reaping fits into the dystopian world of Panem.

the hunger games series includes sunrise on the reaping

On September 14, 2008, Suzanne Collins introduced the world to Panem with The Hunger Games. It was a brutal world where every year, citizens from each of the twelve districts volunteered two of their children to fight in the Capital games—to the death. And if no one volunteered, two were chosen at random.

The story was fast-paced and filled with non-stop action. But what really drew readers in was Katniss Everdeen and her absolute refusal to give the Capital any piece of her. Katniss didn’t play to win. She did it to protect her sister, and if the Capital wanted to kill her, she wasn’t about to make it easy. 

That rebellious attitude, spurred by love and fed by hate, made for an enigmatic protagonist that you simply couldn’t help rooting for. Katniss never tried to convince you she was worth your time, and in simply being raw, real, and unapologetic for both, she became absolutely captivating.

After the original trilogy (and four movie adaptations), the world still couldn't get enough of Panem. Fortunately, Collins chose to expand the world through the fourth book. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes was released May 19, 2020, with the film premiering on November 17, 2022, taking audiences back in time 64 years to discover how Cornelius Snow rose to his eventual power. 

Earlier this month, Scholastic and Collins announced that there would be a fifth Hunger Games book. This time, we’re going 24 years before the games with Katniss and Peeta, to the Fiftieth Hunger Games.

If you’ve somehow missed out on the worldwide phenomenon of The Hunger Games, or are looking for a refresher, here’s everything we know about the new novel, if there will be a movie, and a quick recap of the entire series.

The Hunger Games Trilogy

To say that the first trilogy took the world by storm is a bit of an understatement. It was a cultural phenomenon that debuted on the New York Times bestsellers list, broke Amazon bestselling records, and catapulted to the number two spot in NPR’s top 100 teen novels. 

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The Hunger Games

By Suzanne Collins

In the ruins of North America, in the heart of Panem, the Capitol shines. After the thirteenth district tried to rebel, the Capitol now maintains peace over the remaining twelve districts by ruling with an iron fist. Every year, each district must send one boy and one girl to participate in the annual Hunger Games where they will fight to the death, until only one winner remains. 

Katniss Everdeen never intended to volunteer. But when her sister’s name is called, she volunteers to take her place. To live, she has to win, forcing her to redefine how far she’ll go and what she’ll do to survive.

Catching Fire (Hunger Games Trilogy, Book 2)

Catching Fire (Hunger Games Trilogy, Book 2)

By Suzanne Collins

Katniss Everdeen never expected to win the Hunger Games. She also never expected to save her fellow contestant, Peeta Mellark. But that victory came with a cost: Her defiance has sparked a rebellion. 

As she and Peeta set out to visit each district on their Capital propaganda Victory Tour, Katniss has to prove that she isn’t mutinous, but deeply in love. If she can’t, the consequences will be more horrifying than what she just survived in the Hunger Games.

Mockingjay (Hunger Games Trilogy, Book 3)

Mockingjay (Hunger Games Trilogy, Book 3)

By Suzanne Collins

The rebellion has grown stronger than Katniss and Peeta ever imagined, and now it’s a full-blown revolution. Only things are more precarious for Katniss than ever. The Capital has Peeta, and she believes they’re torturing him. Her family is safe in District Thirteen, but not everyone in District Twelve was so lucky. 

Once more, Katniss is forced to play a game she never wanted to play. For the revolution to succeed, she must be the rebels’ Mockingjay … even if it costs her everything.

The Hunger Games Movies

In the same way the book broke records, the film franchise also set multiple records, including best opening weekend. Jennifer Lawrence was cast first as Katniss Everdeen, followed by Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Mellark, Liam Hemsworth as Gale, Woody Harrelson as Haymitch Abernathy, Elizabeth Banks as Effie Trinket, and Donald Sutherland as President Snow. In the subsequent movies, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Julianne Moore, Sam Claflin, Natalie Dormer, and Jena Malone joined the cast.

Gary Ross directed the first film, while Francis Lawrence took over as director and stayed on for the rest of the franchise. It was decided to split the last film into two movies to do the story justice. As of January 2024, The Hunger Games franchise is one of the highest-grossing franchises worldwide.

The Hunger Games Prequel

Suzanne Collins shocked fans when she announced she was returning to the world of Panem. But instead of continuing the story of Katniss and Peeta, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes follows Cornelius Snow’s rise to power.

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

By Suzanne Collins

Before Cornelius Snow was President of Panem, he was a mentor in the tenth Hunger Games. It’s his chance to redeem his family name, as they’ve fallen into disgrace over the years. This game will determine their fate. To save his family, Cornelius has to mentor the winning tribute. 

Unfortunately, the odds aren’t in his favor. He’s assigned the female tribute of District Twelve—the player with the lowest odds. Inside the area, it’s up to her. Outside the arena, Cornelius has to charm, outwit, and maneuver for his doomed tribute. He wants to follow the rules. He also wants to survive. 

Only one of those desires will win out in the end.

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes Movie

Similar to the initial trilogy, the prequel adaptation is a spectacular mix of well-known, highly acclaimed actors with up-and-coming newer talent. Tom Blyth plays Cornelius Snow, assigned to mentor Lucy Gray Baird (played by Golden Globe Award winner Rachel Zegler). Viola Davis, Peter Dinklage, Jason Schwartzman, and Hunter Schafer also star in various roles. It’s a stunning return to the world, showing us a version of the Capitol, the games, and characters that shaped the Panem Katniss was born into and subsequently burned down.

The movie was produced by Lionsgate, and director Francis Lawrence returned to bring it to life. It went on to gross more than $300 million worldwide.

What Is Sunrise on the Reaping About?

Little has been released about the new book, other than the title. But what we do know is intriguing: It’s set 24 years before the games that Katniss volunteered for. In the Second Quarter Quell, the Capitol announced that double the number of tributes would be selected. One of those tributes was District Twelve’s Haymitch Abernathy, who ended up winning.

While it hasn't been explicitly stated that the book will follow Haymitch, it’s a fair assumption that it will. It’s even more likely when the official description states that the novel “starts on the morning of the reaping of the Fiftieth Hunger Games”.

Haymitch played a vital role in helping Katniss survive both Hunger Games and find her place as the rebel Mockingjay. He was never able to talk about what the games were like for him, but we saw glimpses of how deeply they traumatized him and the devastating price he paid for wining. It’s possible the book will pick back up with President Snow, but we hope Haymitch finally gets to tell his story. 

Sunrise on the Reaping will release March 18, 2025.

Will There Be Another Movie?

Considering the monumental success of the previous books and movies, it’s no surprise that Sunrise on the Reaping also has a movie currently in development. The adaptation will also be produced by Lionsgate and once again, director Francis Lawrence is anticipated to return. The movie is expected to premiere November 20, 2026.