Will ‘Hunger Games’ Films Continue After ‘Mockingjay Part 2’?

Source: Lionsgate

Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 is out next month, with Part 2 following in November of next year. But though the latter installment is expected to bring Katniss Everdeen’s story to an official close, that doesn’t necessarily mean viewers won’t see the world of Panem on the big screen again. Director Francis Lawrence recently opened up about the option of creating Hunger Games spinoff flicks in the future.

In an interview with Empire magazine, Lawrence, who helmed Catching Fire and both Mockingjay films, revealed he hasn’t completely ruled out the possibility of extending the hugely successful franchise. As the director explained, any additional films post-Mockingjay – Part 2 wouldn’t include fan favorite characters like Lawrence’s Katniss or Josh Hutcherson’s Peeta, but would still take place within the same Hunger Games universe, similar to how J.K Rowling’s upcoming Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them films will explore creatures from the original Harry Potter world.

Considering how well both of the first Hunger Games installments performed at the box office, it’s not surprising that spinoffs are within the realm of possibility. The original movie earned more than $691 million worldwide, while last year’s sequel grossed over $864 million worldwide and became the fifth highest-grossing feature film of the year. Though the prospect may excite fans who are simultaneously anticipating and dreading the final film, it also brings up the question of what story the additional movies will tell — particularly without the presence of the major characters that viewers have rooted for over the course of the franchise.

Rowling published Fantastic Beasts in 2001, the same year that the Harry Potter film series started, so the material for spinoffs was available a decade before the movies ended. But Hunger Games author Suzanne Collins hasn’t written anything in the Panem universe beyond the final book of the trilogy, the epilogue of which already provided a thorough conclusion to Katniss and Peeta’s story.

Lawrence himself acknowledged the difficulty of finding a way to delve into the world of Panem again. As he explained to Empire magazine:

“It’s a tough thing. It’s a weird thing. That world of Harry Potter, there’s a lot to that world that you can explain. You can understand the appeal of telling another story, but can you actually do it without Harry, Hermione and those characters? Will people care as much? And I guess you can say the same thing about the Hunger Games world. There are a lot of past games and a lot of this world, but without Katniss, is it the same? Part of what I like about the series is the connection to things we think about and talk about now. What’s the new version of that? That would be the tricky thing.”

Of course, we don’t actually know whether Fantastic Beasts will truly succeed as a spinoff, as the films are still a ways off. But Lawrence’s issues with the idea of a similar extended universe are justified: The Fantastic Beasts world co-exists with Harry’s, but it doesn’t demand his involvement the way Panem seems to demand Katniss’s presence. Even if a prequel or a spinoff focusing on another character is worked out, there’s also the question of whether fans will really be happy with a movie that doesn’t include her and the rest of the cast we already know.

Either way, viewers shouldn’t get too excited (or too annoyed) at the possibility just yet, as no other Hunger Games-related films are actually in the works as of now. We’ll have to wait to see if the idea ever comes into play in the future. In the meantime, moviegoers should enjoy the franchise while it lasts. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 is due out on November 21.