Lionsgate built out a successful franchise with its adaptations of Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games trilogy. Now, it’s going to add to it with an adaptation of her forthcoming prequel, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.
Variety reports that the studio has picked up the rights to the novel — which is set to be released on May 19th — and that Francis Lawrence, who directed Hunger Games: Catching Fire and the two part Hunger Games: Mockingjay in 2013, 2014, and 2015 respectively. His return to the director’s chair will bring a sense of continuity to the franchise.
The novel will be set 64 years prior to the events of The Hunger Games, during Panem’s dark, early days in which the Hunger Games tournament is only a decade old. The novel will follow Coriolanus Snow (who eventually became the brutal ruler of Panem during Katniss Everdeen’s time) as he prepares to act as a mentor for District 12 in upcoming games.
The studio didn’t announce a release date or potential cast.