The Only Hunger Games Spinoff(s) I’m Interested In

Recently, after their raucous appearance at San Diego Comic-Con, three of my favorite actors stopped by ‘Conan’ to talk about ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2.’ In their little interview Conan asked them if there could be any potential sequels and Josh Hutcherson let it slip that there is a distinct possibility.

Jennifer Lawrence’s reaction kind of confirms it, too. We could get sequels to ‘The Hunger Games’ or at least spinoffs that exist in the world of Panem created by Suzanne Collins.

Usually I balk at spinoffs that aren’t Marvel or Harry Potter related. Who needs them? The three books in the current HG trilogy tell a pretty distinct story and Katniss has her own arc. The more I thought about it though, the more I realized that part of my DOES want some more HG stuff, as long as it’s a specific story with specific characters.

I don’t want anything about Katniss, Peeta, or their little adorable babies. Leave them alone for goodness sake! Another movie would mean more conflict for the Mellark-Everdeens and haven’t they been through enough? I also don’t really care too much about the other tributes. Unless it’s Johanna and Finnick, we both know that they all die. And if it is about Finnick, we do know how that will end. Telling the story from another character’s point of view doesn’t really do it for me, either. As Hutcherson said in another interview, Katniss is the best person to tell this story.

What I do want are movies about Haymitch.

Though he’s a little pricklier in the books, I love the movie version of Haymitch brought to life by Woody Harrelson. I find him to be a fascinating character, especially when we learn about his own Hunger Games in ‘Catching Fire.’ That subplot was dropped from the cinematic version for time, but it’s super interesting to me. Later we also find out that because Haymitch resisted some of the responsibilities bestowed on the recently crowned victors that his family and friends paid the price. I’d see a movie on that in a heartbeat. So much emotion and action and suspense!

I’d also watch anything on Haymitch post-Hunger Games. Does he stay a drunk that raises geese? Does he have a love affair with Effie? Do Katniss and Peeta’s children inspire hope within him? Does he help rebuild Panem? Is he looked upon as a wise old historian by the time his hair turns completely grey? So many unanswered questions!

Other than more celluloid exploration of everyone’s favorite mentor, I don’t need more Hunger Games. Some things should just be left alone and don’t need sequels, prequels, spin-offs or tie-ins. Every now and then, it’s nice to leave something alone.

But if you insist on poking the bear, Lionsgate, give me some Haymitch Abernathy.


The 7 Emotions I’ve Had About ‘Go Set A Watchman’

No other book has sent me on more of an emotional rollercoaster than “Go Set A Watchman” by Harper Lee. I know that may seem like an exaggeration, but it really isn’t. I can’t tell you how torn I am about this book. There’s been some high highs and some really low lows. And where am I after all of this? Still unsure if I will read this sequel to one of the greatest American novels ever.

1. So Elated I Cried At My Desk

Seriously. My friend Katie texted my the news and I started to well up. I collected myself because I was at school and if anything seems amiss I will get 137 questions about it. I was over the moon though. I was even more excited to learn that it would follow Scout as an adult. I could finally see if she ever married Dill.

2. Cautious Optimism Inspired By Teaching TKAM To My 8th Graders

I finished teaching “To Kill A Mockingbird” to my 8th graders. It’s a very rewarding book to teach, and it was while we were reading it that the news broke of the sequel. I was optimistic to read it and some of the 8th graders even expressed interest in picking it up. However, we did talk a lot about how Harper Lee doesn’t want anyone to write a critical introduction and how she declines interviews, which led me to the the third emotion…

3. A Weirdly Appreciative Nostalgia

You know, it’s kind of great that this beloved novel was the only thing Harper Lee ever wrote. She’s been living off it all this time! And the fact that she doesn’t want criticism means that you have to just take the book as it is and nothing more. It was kind of great that this book just stood by itself. In a way, I felt a certain ownership to Scout, Atticus, Jem, and Boo and I was happy just knowing them within the context of “To Kill A Mockingbird.” Do I really NEED a sequel? Well, no.

4. Pure Worry

Reports start to surface that Harper Lee has both failing eyesight and failing hearing. She’s almost 90. I remembered a story from a while back about some crazy lawsuit enacted by the lawyers who run her estate. It seemed really fishy to me that now this book is coming out. I mean, I always figured we’d get more from her after her death a la J.D. Salinger, but now? It seems to me like there are some sketchy characters behind the scenes and they are taking advantage of a poor old woman. Not okay! I hope and pray it isn’t true, but all signs point to skullduggery.

5. Looking Forward

“Stop worrying!” I tell myself. “It’s just a book!” After I repeat this mantra for a while I start to look forward to the book’s release, but not in a counting-down-the-hours-until-Deathly-Hallows kind of way. Harper Lee can tell a good story and I am interested to see where it goes.

6. Outrage


7. Apathy

I’ve now arrived at one of my least favorite emotions—apathy. Some great essays have come out explaining why it’s good that Atticus has a dark side. It fits with our modern times for him to be flawed. Others say it’s worrying. Others say that to them, “To Kill A Mockingbird” will stand on it’s own and nothing will change that. There’s a lot out there on it, and I just can’t find it within myself to care anymore. I may or may not read it. Part of me wants to, and another part knows I can live without. It goes back to the question I asked earlier, “Do I NEED a sequel?”

I’ll be interested to see how “Go Set A Watchman” sits with the literary community and if my students bring it up this winter when we read it. I think eventually I’ll get around to it, but I’m not chomping at the bit. Frankly, there are some other things out there that I’d rather read right now. That seems blasphemous, but it’s true. It also seems extreme to say I’ll never read it. Yet, at the same time, it doesn’t feel right buying the book.

See my inner struggle, readers? What about any of you? Are you excited for “Go Set A Watchman”?