With the final Harry Potter installment out in theaters, it may officially be time to move on to the next big fantasy series, and some critics believe The Hunger Games is the best option to fill the void. The Hunger Games is a trilogy written by Suzanne Collins. It tells the story of Katniss Everdeen, a sixteen-year-old girl who lives in a post-apocalyptic world in a country that used to be North America. She is chosen to be one of the children to participate in The Hunger Games, which is a national, televised fight to the death.
The book series has garnered positive reviews and developed a strong fan-base over the years. It became so popular, Lions Gate Entertainment acquired the series’ worldwide distribution rights for the film adaption. The film is scheduled to be released on March 23rd, 2011, and since production started, the upcoming film has resulted in a steady efflux of news.
Academy Award nominee Jennifer Lawrence, who is well known for playing the protagonist of last year’s Winter’s Bone, will play Katniss Everdeen. The rest of the cast will include actors such as Josh Hutcherson, Wes Bentley from American Beauty, Academy Award nominee Stanley Tucci, and Donald Sutherland. The thought that Lionsgate put into the cast selections indicates that filmmakers are committed to cementing the upcoming film as more than just a piece of entertainment.
However, could this young series really replace Harry Potter as the next book/film series cultural phenomenon? While Lionsgate might have its fingers crossed, personally, I don’t think anything is ever going to replace Harry Potter. The two series share a similar theme of the threat of control by a cruel, evil regime. But besides that, they are their own animals. The Hunger Games is more Orwellian than magical, featuring government-control themes reminiscent of George Orwell’s dystopian 1984 and rise & fall themes of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. The Hunger Games universe is also cruel and brutal, too much so to be appropriate for children the way Harry Potter was, meaning that fans won’t “grow up” with the series quite the was Potter fans did.
That’s not to say that The Hunger Games film won’t be successful. While perhaps it may be foolishly optimistic to think any current well-known series can replace Harry Potter, The Hunger Games has its own compelling story to offer.