The Hunger Games will be rebooted next year as a prequel movie, based on an upcoming novel from author Suzanne Collins.
Hollywood studio Lionsgate has begun work on the project, although there is as yet no cast, director or screenwriter.
But while most fans greeted the news with something akin to rapture and claims they were crying with joy, some mainstream and social media users wondered if there’s still an appetite for The Hunger Games.
The Hollywood Reporter sounded a note of caution, asking if the dystopian story would still mean anything in 2020.
Almost 10 years after Collins’ final work, “A lot has changed”, said THR.
Lionsgate was having none of it, with chairman Joe Drake saying in a statement on Monday (US time) the studio “can hardly wait for Suzanne’s next book” to be published.
Signalling the film could follow hot on the heels of the new book, “We’ve been communicating with her during the writing process and we look forward to continuing to work closely with her on the movie,” Mr Drake said.
Collins’ blockbuster trilogy – The Hunger Games, Catching Fire and Mockingjay – was published by Scholastic from 2008 then developed into four films starring Jennifer Lawrence and Liam Hemsworth.
The trilogy sold more than 100 million copies and was translated into 55 languages.
The new book is set in fictional Panem 64 years before heroine Katniss Everdeen (Lawrence) was forced to fight to the death against other children in a televised contest called the Hunger Games.
Katniss eventually helped lead an uprising against President Snow and the Capitol.
— Batata (@BatataReal) June 17, 2019
The still-untitled work will be released on May 19, 2020 and will focus on the failed rebellion called the ‘Dark Days’.
It means a whole new group of young characters, struggles and possible romance will be introduced, but had some fans and critics asking questions.
“Multiple franchises that launched off the back of The Hunger Games like Maze Runner and Divergent have come and gone with varying levels of success and failure,” noted The Hollywood Reporter.
“And there’s a more robust conversation around representation and inclusivity in publishing, particularly in YA books.”
Collins explained what inspired her for the next iteration.
“I wanted to explore the state of nature, who we are and what we perceive is required for our survival,” the author said in her statement.
“The reconstruction period 10 years after the war, commonly referred to as the Dark Days – as the country of Panem struggles back to its feet – provides fertile ground for characters to grapple with these questions and thereby define their views of humanity.”
The book will “introduce the devoted fans of the series and a new audience to an entirely new perspective on this modern classic,” Scholastic Trade Publishing president Ellie Berger promised.
The Hunger Games film franchise, also starring Josh Hutcherson, Woody Harrelson and Elizabeth Banks, grossed nearly $4.3 billion worldwide between 2012 and 2015.
It spawned spinoffs including a Hunger Games theme park that opened in Dubai in 2017, with rides including a Capitol bullet train rollercoaster, the hall of heroes, and the Panem aerial tour multimedia experience.
A Lionsgate theme park is set to open in China in July and will feature a 3D motion simulator attraction pegged to the final film, plus a salon where guests can have their hair, make-up and nails done to look like Hunger Games chaperone Effie Trinket (Banks.)
Fans were overwhelmingly positive on Twitter when the news broke.
“My lil 11 year old self is screaming,” wrote one.
“I’m literally going to cry,” said another while a third had one message: “Take my money.”