Dispatches from District 12 - A Hunger Games blog

Hunger Games: Mockingjay release date unaffected by Hoffman death

Studio confirms that production schedule will not be changed

COMMENT | With the actor who was due to play Plutarch Heavensbee, Philip Seymour Hoffman, having passed away in the last few days, preparations for the remaining two 'Hunger Games' movies has been rather thrown into chaos. Hoffman was due to play a significant role in both 'Mockingjay' films, and while some of the shooting for his part has been completed, it is quite evident that a lot of the planned material has not been filmed.

Thus, the production team are still currently working out how the gap left by the tragic death of Hoffman will be dealt with. Although we have heard that CGI will be utilised in order to deal with this problem, there has been no word on precisely how this will work, or how much of Hoffman's work will need to be supplemented by this procedure.

But there was some good news for fans of the series in the last 24 hours, as Lionsgate confirmed that they don't anticipate the passing of Hoffman to result in any delay regarding 'Mockingjay' filming. The distribution powerhouse for the 'Hunger Games' series has explicitly stated that the planned release date of November, 2014 remains in place and that no change is expected to this despite the issues surrounding Hoffman's part.

An official statement from the studio acknowledged that Hoffman was a "singular talent" who was among the greatest actors of his generation, and that he would be greatly missed by everyone involved in the 'Hunger Games' series. Lionsgate also stated that they had been honoured that Hoffman had "graced our Hunger Games family" and sent their deepest condolences to his family.

It seems critical to the success of the third and fourth 'Hunger Games' movies that their production and release follows the blueprint set by 'Hunger Games: Catching Fire'. A fourth-quarter release, several weeks before Christmas, looks to be key for the franchise, and a delay until 2015 would not have been ideal, and would undoubtedly have disappointed 'Hunger Games' fans who are keen to see 'Mockingjay' on the big screen as soon as possible.

Thus, 'Mockingjay: Part I' will still be released in November 2014, with the final part of the saga to follow a year later in November 2015.

Christopher Morris watches too many sci-fi films, has a fanatical interest in Philip K. Dick's work, and is a regular contributor to Yahoo on television, cinema, video games, technology and politics.

More articles from Christopher Morris:

Hunger Games: Jennifer Lawrence to stage special showing of 'Catching Fire'

Hunger Games: Full soundtrack for Hunger Games: Catching Fire is released

First television trailer for Hunger Games: Catching Fire released