DISCLAIMER: This article contains the opinion of solely the author and not the website. Also, this article contains SPOILERS.
With all of the recent talk of a spin-off film to The Hunger Games in the vein of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them for Harry Potter, I initially thought that continuing the series after it ends would be a simple cash grab. Then I thought about the different characters in the franchise, and I realized that one character has the makings for one of the best prequel films ever.
That person is none other than District 12's own...
Although it is said in the original Hunger Games novel that there were two District 12 victors before Katniss and Peeta (with Haymitch being the only one still alive), the film says that Haymitch was the only victor before them. Therefore, it wouldn't be too outlandish if Haymitch was the first victor in the cinematic canon. With that being said, here is how a prequel/Haymitch origin story can go, according to Suzanne Collins' material.
The Capitol is celebrating the second quarter quell (the 50th anniversary of the games). For that year's Hunger Games, two tributes will be selected from each district.
Meanwhile, District 12 is even more desolate and hopeless than the beginning of The Hunger Games. Nobody from the district has ever won the contest in its entire 50 year existence, and being reaped is the equivalent of a death sentence, without even a glimmer (no pun intended) of hope for survival.
Haymitch was 16 at the time of his reaping. Unfortunately, this means that Woody Harrelson can't possibly reprise his role, but it could open the door for a new actor to shine. Once he is selected, he decides that he will take advantage of the opportunity that he has a team of three other people on his side instead of just one.
The first third of the film should be spent building up the other tributes, including Maysilee Donner, who Haymitch forms an Alliance with. He convinces them to work together during training, but the plan for a four-person alliance falls apart when the other tributes fully realize that there can only be one winner.
During the games, Haymitch fights hard with his knife at hand. He does an excellent job, and eventually forms an alliance with Maysilee.
Unfortunately for Haymitch, Maysilee is killed during battle. Much like for Katniss and Rue, this encourages Haymitch to take a stand against the capitol. He decides to win the games in a way that makes the Capitol look foolish, again, much like Katniss.
At last, it is down to Haymitch and a girl from District 1 (unnamed in the books) He uses the arena's force field as a weapon. He initiates a maneuver that uses the field it to ricochet an axe a girl from District 1 threw at him right into her skull. The move makes him a target of the Capitol, and as a response, President Snow orders the slaughter of his mother, brother and girlfriend. This, in turn, causes Haymitch to become an alcoholic, unsuccessfully training District 12 tributes for many years.
This isn't exactly a high note to end the movie on, so here's my idea: a montage can show Haymitch growing older as he becomes more and more dependent on alcohol. The montage ends at the train scene from the first Hunger Games story, where he meets Katniss and Peeta for the first time.
Maybe District 13 can even take notice of Haymitch's rebellion, which will lead to his involvement in their resistance against the Capitol.
I'm not usually a fan of milking franchises, but pretty much all of this backstory is included in Suzanne Collins' books. Many fans have been wanting to see a Haymitch origin film for years, even to the point of a fan film being made of it (seen below).
If the Hunger Games franchise is going to extend, by all means, let it be a prequel film starring Haymitch. If they're really confident about the project, they can call it Hunger Games Origins: Haymitch. Of course, it would definitely be superior to the other "origins" movie. It would be an action-packed and insightful thrill ride in my opinion. Maybe they can even include easter eggs like an appearance by Katniss' father before he was killed and Peeta's family's bakery. I'm guessing that audiences will be quick to get behind a film like this. Would you?