Time is running out on The Hunger Games franchise. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 opens this November, and then the series is complete until the studio can figure out a way to create sequels, prequels, or whatever they can fashion to not let it die.
In the meantime, the studio has seized on some free public domain writing by fast-tracking an adaption of Homer’s The Odyssey. The story follows Odysseus returning home from the Trojan War and overcoming various obstacles including sirens, the cyclops, a witch, and more. Meanwhile, back at his home in Ithaca, his wife Penelope and son Telemachus must fend off suitors who believe Odysseus is dead.
According to Deadline, Lionsgate is bringing in Francis Lawrence to direct, Peter Craig to write, and Nina Jacobson to produce. Lawrence helmed all of the Hunger Games movies except the first one; Craig wrote both Mockingjay movies; and Jacobson has been with the franchise from the start.
The plan is to get production rolling early next year once the filmmakers have finished promotion on Mockingjay – Part 2, which means pre-production for the film will already be underway while Mockingjay is moving towards the finish line.
The Odyssey is a great story, and while Deadline doesn’t specify if this will be a single movie or a franchise, I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s the latter. Thankfully, The Odyssey is large enough to support more than one movie, and the characterizations are specific enough to make you care, but not so broad as to make the characters one-dimensional. There’s a lot of potential in this project, and the challenge will be making audiences go for another swords-and-sandals picture. The last time Homer was adapted into a blockbuster—2004’s Troy was based on The Iliad, which takes place before The Odyssey—it underperformed domestically, although it was a big hit overseas.