A Hunger Games prequel novel from author Suzanne Collins is coming in 2020 with rumors of a Lionsgate snapping up the rights to the film with the intention of adapting it for the big screen following closely behind. The Hunger Games earned a devout fanbase when it was first published in 2008. Following Katniss Everdeen, a young woman living in the dystopian nation of Panem (formerly the United States of America) forced to compete against other Panem citizens in a survival competition, Collins' novels - which include The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay - were quickly greenlit for film adaptations.
The quartet of Hunger Games films based on Collins' books kicked off with 2012's The Hunger Games, starring Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Stanley Tucci, and Donald Sutherland. The Hunger Games arrived during a wave of adapted YA dystopian novels making their way to theaters in the 2010s, which included The Giver, the Divergent series, and The Maze Runner series. With the core cast remaining mostly intact throughout all four films, the films series overall did fairly well in theaters, although the franchise did lose interest from fans by the time the final film, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2, premiered in 2015.
The promise of a Hunger Games prequel novel from Collins will no doubt reinvigorate the fanbase, whetting their appetites to get more of the backstory of Panem and the Hunger Games. A statement from Collins (as reported by U.S. News) confirmed the still-untitled prequel novel would focus on the 10th Hunger Games, which occurred during the Dark Days before Panem rose up into the nation fans know it to be from The Hunger Games. The choice to set the prequel novel during the time period Collins has chosen raises a very interesting question: What exactly do fans know about the 10th Hunger Games? Let's assess the known facts.
District 2's Griffin Naysmith Won The 10th Hunger Games
Griffin Naysmith was a District 2 resident and the victor of the 10th Hunger Games. Griffin won his Hunger Games through an especially prominent show of violence, as his preferred weapons were an axe and a machete. He earned the nickname "The Beast" during his time in the arena, with one of his most memorable kills involving shooting a girl in the eye with an arrow and pulling it out while she was still alive, proceeding to stab her repeatedly. Griffin went on to become a mentor to future District 2 tributes, as was customary for victors of the Hunger Games. He ultimately died in his late 50s of natural causes, sometime after the 66th Hunger Games, long before Katniss' time as victor.
The 10th Hunger Games Was The Last Of The Second Gamemaker
The gamemaker is an important figure in the Hunger Games. A gamemaker is responsible for constructing the frequently inhospitable and deadly environment that house the tributes who are competing in the Hunger Games. The 10th Hunger Games was designed by the second-ever gamemaker in the history of Panem, Lukos Castor. Not too much is know about Lukos (including the kind of arena he designed for the 10th Hunger Games), but it's known he was in his 70s when he ended his career as a gamemaker, having worked as one since the 6th Hunger Games.
In the Hunger Games books, the gamemaker of the 74th Hunger Games is Seneca Crane. He is responsible for designing the forest, which featured obstacles like swarms of tracker jackers and jabberjays meant to torment the tributes. The 75th Hunger Games was overseen by Plutarch Heavensbee, who designed the island which functioned like a clock, a twist which past victors and Quarter Quell tributes Beetee and Wiress figured out in Catching Fire.
The Capitol Tried To Rig The 10th Hunger Games
Technically, there are only supposed to be 74 victors from all of the Hunger Games tournaments (there's no victor from the 75th Hungers Games, a.k.a. The Quarter Quell, and shortly after those games, Katniss leads the rebellion against President Snow and Panem). But there are 88 victors listed, implying the Capitol either rigged certain years to lean towards their preferred victor or have actively rewritten the outcome of a game year to reflect their chosen candidate. Actual victors are also listed, but the implication is they are not remembered or namechecked to the degree the Capitol's chosen victor, sometimes referred to as a "Capitol model," would be.
This was the case during the 10th Hunger Games with Griffin Naysmith and Shine Stanford. While Griffin was the true victor of the 10th Hunger Games, it's District 1 resident Shine who has been cited by the Capitol as the victor. Not much is known about Shine other than the fact he worked with the Capitol to rig the 10th Hunger Games so he would be remembered as the victor but he's believed to have died sometime before the 67th Hunger Games.
How The Story Influences The Hunger Games
Perhaps the most obvious answer here is that the events of the 10th Hunger Games would go on to influence future Hunger Games ceremonies for decades to come. The name "Griffin Naysmith" has lived on in infamy, with his name even appearing briefly on a pillar listing all of the past Hunger Games victors in Mockingjay. More importantly, the killing and survival methods deployed by tributes during the 10th Hunger Games, like Griffin and other tributes, is eating nuts off of certain trees in order to satisfy their hunger. This tidbit survived all the way through to the 75th Hunger Games, where Mags used this knowledge about nuts to source them and keep herself alive.
More broadly, the 10th Hunger Games cemented the purpose of the ritual and provided the blueprint for future Hunger Games to be designed. Ostensibly, by the 10th year, gamemakers and the governing forces of Panem will have worked out the gameplay kinks, how tributes are chosen, and the best ways to keep things interesting among those tributes duking it out for victory. This is the most important part of the 10th Hunger Games: it's not about knowing if it can work, but understanding how the games have been honed during even the darkest, most brutal of moments in Panem's pre-history that will speak to how the games then thrive during "happier" times during Katniss's lifetime.