If you haven't heard yet, there is a Hunger Games spinoff in the works over at Lionsgate as we speak. Now, it's not a definite yet, but I'm really hoping it will be. If you couldn't tell from my writing article after article after article after article about it.
I've explained how the spinoff could follow the characters after the events of Mockingjay Part II. I've gone into detail about President Coin's life and District 13 before Katniss. I've also gone on to explain how we don't know enough about District 12. Now, we're here to talk about something that I thought was missing out of Catching Fire. This specific plot line was in the book, but not in the movie. And I want to see how this could play out.
It all involves one victor that we all love.
If you've only seen the movies, then you're probably wondering what I'm talking about. But if you've read the book, you definitely know where I'm going with this.
In the book, Katniss and Peeta are preparing for their Quarter Quell by watching the previous Games of the living Victors. This way they can do some research on their opponents while figuring out ways for themselves to stay alive better this time around. And that's when they come across the tape from the fiftieth Hunger Games. The second Quarter Quell. The one where twice as many tributes were put into the arena than ever before.
That year is the year Haymitch reigned victorious. Katniss and Peeta figure this out for themselves before watching it, but you may be wondering how he won. He's a drunkard and, sure, he's a little paranoid (he sleeps with a knife under his pillow after all) but he doesn't seem like a blood thirsty killer. And that's true. However, that's not how he won. Haymitch won by outsmarting everyone else.
It makes sense. He's always seemed to have all the cards on his side of the table. He always knows everyone else's moves before they even make it. He knew how to keep Katniss and Peeta alive in the first Games.
Haymitch is an interesting character for a number of reasons. But the most important, I feel, is his past. Most of the other characters have an interesting past, yes. Finnick was used as a prostitute by President Snow after the Games because he was deemed desirable. Johanna lost everyone she ever cared about, it's hard to know why exactly, but we know that she did. Katniss lost her father to a mining explosion. Peeta has a family life we know nothing about except that his mother will beat him when he burns some bread. Gale's father died in the same mining explosion that claimed Mr. Everdeen's life. But Haymitch's life, to me at least, seems the most interesting.
Haymitch went into the Games with three other people from Twelve. We only hear about one of them: Maysilee Donner. Maysilee was Haymitch's ally in the Games, at least at the start. But Maysilee has another role in Panem. She is Mrs. Everdeen's best friend. And, for those who read the books, she is Madge's aunt.
While in the Games, Maysilee was only looking for survival. Where Haymitch looked to understand. At least some things. For one, he meant to find the edge of the arena. He'd made it to this cliff. He sat there for a while investigating. Sitting there for so long made Maysilee get bored. She abandoned him and went into the woods.
While he was there, he tossed a pebble down into the chasm below. It was gone for a while. It seemed to be lost. However, it came flying back up red and hot. There was some force (it was a force field) down there that launched the pebble back up to him. He tested this again with a hefty rock and it had the same results.
A little while later, Maysilee comes running out of the forest. And this forest was a greater danger than most - though not as dangerous as Katniss's Quarter Quell arena. The animals normally deemed vegetarians and dainty were ravenous carnivores. For example, the squirrels. They took out a number of the tributes at the beginning of the Games.
However, that is not what killed Maysilee. No. She was killed by something far more sinister. Something far more dangerous. Something so sharp it can skewer through her throat (as it does). Something so deranged and strange that it would make even Haymitch cringe.
Yes. Hummingbirds. That's how Maysilee Donner died. Kind of messed up and deranged and . . . gross. Like I said, their beaks went straight through her throat. Haymitch, much like Katniss, sat with his fallen ally until she passed. Holding her hand. After that, he went into the forest and began fighting in the Games again. As he was meant to do.
When the Games came to a close, forty-two lives later, it was Haymitch and a female Career tribute. She chased him, with her ax out, all the way to the edge of the arena. To the force field he'd found.
To put things in perspective, Snow did not want anyone to know about the force field. When Haymitch was doing his experiments, there were enough tributes roaming around to divert the nation's attention from what Haymitch was doing. They would all be looking elsewhere. Following Maysilee, perhaps, as she battled other tributes. But now, there were only two. So Snow had no choice but to allow the cameras to roll on Haymitch and his dastardly plan.
Before arriving at the force field, both tributes were injured pretty badly. Haymitch, more so. She was a Career after all. So they get to the force field and the girl hurls her ax at Haymitch. Being the genius that we all know him to be, he ducks. The ax hits the force field and flies back. Haymitch is still on the ground. So the ax buries itself in the Career's skull.
Done. Finished. Games are over. Right?
The trick he did with the force field is almost as bad as what Katniss did with the berries. Snow clearly can't stand for this. Especially not from an outlying district. So what does he do? He orders Haymitch's mother, brother and girlfriend all to be executed, of course.
Not only did that cause pain for Haymitch, but it sent a message to him and all other victors (because they are the mentors for the future Games). If you try and outsmart us, it will not work. Sounds a lot like . . .
So, that is what happened to Haymitch. All nicely summed up right there. So now that you know all of this, why should we have a movie? Well, here's why. If Snow blatantly gave all the victors - pointedly Haymitch - this warning, why would Haymitch risk what he risked with Katniss?
It's quite possible that all the people who were watching Katniss were watching Haymitch while he was in the Games. Plutarch. Coin. And a string of other characters we'd never met before. With Haymitch not being able to bring things together the way Katniss does, they'll have to improvise. But who's to say Haymitch won't be useful?
Clearly, he is. He trained Katniss, sort of. He taught her how to survive and he kept her alive.
I can see this ending with a meeting, through Beetee, over some secure line to District 13, after what happens to Haymitch's family. This could be a post credits scene or something. And Haymitch is led to this room by some young genius with glasses who calls himself Beetee. He shows him to a phone that rings after Beetee walks out.
Haymitch answers the phone and we're greeted by a younger looking Coin. Coin tells him how brave he was in the Games and how useful he could be to the rebellion. Haymitch at first is skeptical, but she convinces him by telling him his family's deaths were not in vain. He asks what he needs to do. She tells him to keep his eyes open for something the Capitol won't be expecting. He asks her what she's talking about. Her response "A Mockingjay."
Characters to add
I would love to see the team for Twelve involved in this one. A young Cinna, not a part of the team, but watching Haymitch's Games as a child. Just a quick shot of him, possibly drawing his own ideas for the outfits for the different districts. None look too great because of how young he is, but it will be a sign of things to come.
A young Effie on her first charge as the escort for Twelve with a young, dashing Haymitch that she fawns after. Until after the Games, that is, where he repels her.
I'd like to see the prep team that was never brought to light in the movies in this one. I always thought the movies were lacking because of this. Not in their story, but in their comedic dynamic.
Lastly, I think Lionsgate could really capitalize on this by making a series of movies, or a television series, of all the Games for the different victors. Or at least our favorites. Like Mags, Finnick, Annie, Johanna, Beetee, Wiress. The movies would be a great way to build up revenue. But a TV series could have each season dedicated to a different victor. In chronological order of course. And, like American Horror Story, the viewers could come in on the fifth season without seeing the preceding four and not be confused. Because each Hunger Games is different. A different set of tributes, a different arena, a different victor. It might be a better investment considering how people are shifting their viewing to Netflix as opposed to anything else.
Choosing between this plot and my final plot was tough. Both seem highly plausible and I would absolutely love to see either adapted to either the big or small screen. But it really came down to which one got me more excited. And it was, unfortunately, not this one. But, nonetheless. I think this is an awesome possibility and deserves its own time on screen.
So, tell me your thoughts.