Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes

Warning! Contains possible SPOILERS from the novelization of The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes!A new Hunger Games prequel movie is on the way based on the novel The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. It was announced in 2019 that Suzanne Collins was writing a new Hunger Games novel and that it already was being eyed to become a feature film. One of the main characters of the novel is a younger Coriolanus Snow (who becomes the president of Panem as an adult), with the spotlight on him proving to be a controversial decision. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is out in book form, allowing fans of the franchise to dive back into the world in anticipation for the 2023 release of the new Hunger Games movie.


The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes follows young Snow 64 years before Katniss’ Hunger Games, an news about the Hunger Games prequel has been arriving ever faster. Lionsgate initially brought Suzanne Collins’ original trilogy of books to the big screen starting in 2012. Starring Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen, The Hunger Games launched a wildly successful franchise for the studio. With just three books of source material, Lionsgate split Mockingjay into two parts to capitalize on the property and remained optimistic that more movies would follow in some form. That optimism has paid off, as anticipation for The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is high despite the number of years since 2015’s Mockingjay — Part 2.

Latest The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes News

Rachel Zegler playing guitar and singing in Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

The Hunger Games prequel updates have recently included some comments from director Francis Lawrence and producer Nina Jacobson. Both said that the Hunger Games prequel will feel very different from the original trilogy, despite some of the moments feeling a little familiar. “It’s a new story, with new ground and new characters. We were able to create a completely different visual language… one that is still recognizably Panem, but also different and fresh,” Jacobson explained. Lawrence also praised the opportunity, calling it a “playground that doesn’t come along very often, so when you have a chance to return, it’s enormously gratifying” (via Deadline).

Of course, this movie’s trailer showed it is the first time that Panem has tried to capitalize on the Hunger Games by making it a televised spectacle. That will make the games themselves feel very different. It is also clear the games are not as polished as in the future, and one might think that the problems happening here is why things become more structured in the future world. This might be why Katniss didn’t get the same kind of singing and performing opportunities as Rachel Zegler’s Lucy gets in this movie. Of course, Zegler showed off her singing voice in Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story. Jacobson explained this difference (via Variety).

“She’s such a different character from Katniss. She’s such a performer. Katniss is the opposite… One of the least Katniss things ever is to get up there and sing a song. It’s a far cry from ‘I volunteer as tribute’ to ‘I’m gonna get up there, grab the mic and sing a song.’”

The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes Release Date

Dr. Gaul shows the snakes to Coriolanus and another mentor in The Hunger Games The Ballads of Songbirds and Snakes

The Hunger Games prequel movie is expected to release on November 17, 2023. Lionsgate appeared to find a comfortable home for the Hunger Games franchise on the release calendar, with the final three movies all arriving in late November on their respective release years. They’ve gone for the same window with The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, which means the prequel should net a strong box office return just before the holiday season.

The Hunger Games: The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes Prequel Cast

An image of Casca Highbottom looking concerned in The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes cast is filled with talent. Tom Blyth (Benediction) will be playing the young Coriolanus Snow, with Rachel Zegler (West Side Story) co-starring as Lucy Gray Baird. The doomed pair is joined by Hunter Schafer (Euphoria) as Tigris Snow, Coriolanus’ cousin and Jason Schwartzman as Hunger Games broadcast host Lucretius “Lucky” Flickerman – an ancestor of Ceasar Flickerman from the other movies/books.

He’s not impersonating [Stanley Tucci] any way — but there are moments with his laugh or his flair,” producer Nina Jacobson said about Schwartzman (via Variety). However, Lawrence added that the character was underwritten and Schwartzman helped him flesh out who the character was and gave him a life of his own. “I think he had, at the end of the day, 50 pages of new ideas and dialogue for all of his scenes. He had so much fun.”

Viola Davis is fittingly cast as head game maker (and villain) Dr. Volumnia Gau which is fitting given her turns as Amanda Waller in the DCU. Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones) plays one of the co-creators of the Hunger Games, Casca Highbottom.

Tony Award nominee Fionnula Flanagan was added to the cast in the role of Snow’s grandmother in The Hunger Games prequel, expanding the audience’s look into the Snow family. Flora Li Thiemenn (Tigermilk) will play one of the mentors to the unlucky tributes and Isobel Jesper Jones (The Bastard Son & The Devil Himself) will play the daughter of District 12’s mayor. Competitors and mentors in the Hunger Games themselves could include Laurel Marsden, Dakota Shapiro, Vaughan Reilly, and George Somner who were cast in minor roles.

Related: Who Is In The Hunger Games: The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes? Cast & Character Guide

The Hunger Games Prequel Movie Story Details

Snow and Lucy lying together in The Hunger Games prequel.

Readers can already get a head start on learning the story that The Hunger Games prequel will tell. The prequel sees Snow living with his cousin Tigris and being tasked as a mentor in the Hunger Games. He’s selected to mentor the tribute from District 12 (where Katniss is from) through the grueling process. Her name is Lucy Gray Baird, and she is in many ways the exact opposite of Katniss. Lucy is a charismatic singer who doesn’t present herself as a physical threat, but she must work with Snow if she wants a chance of staying alive.

While the action will be focused on the events of the games, thematically the movie’s story will explore how society came to be so accepting of the Hunger Games by the point Katniss Everdeen led a revolution. With no brewing insurrection to speak of despite there being rebels and dissidents, the Hunger Games prequel ending will land on a very different note from the other movies. A romance subplot heavily features and first-look shots (via Vanity Fair) seem to confirm that the relationship between Lucy and Snow goes beyond the platonic.

Related: Ballad Of Songbirds & Snakes Plot Explained: What 2023’s Hunger Games Movie Is About

The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes Trailer

A room in The Hunger Games_ The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes scene

The first official trailer for The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is a mix of old and new for the franchise. While the characters are new to the audience, the games are familiar – but the trailer demonstrates clearly that these Hunger Games are different from what fans are used to. The Tenth Annual Hunger Games occur when the games are still in their infancy, and that’s clear in the arena not being as advanced as it is by the time The Hunger Games: Catching Fire roles around more than six decades after the events of this film.

Snow’s job is to make the District 12 tributes, Lucy included, “a spectacle,” not to help them win the games. Fans will get to see how some of the things that are commonplace by the time Katniss Everdeen is a tribute first began. There are also nods to the original movies and the future of the games. Donald Sutherland’s voice as the future President Snow can be heard in the trailer. The whistle that Katniss and Rue (Amandla Stenberg) use in order to communicate in the arena is also used in the trailer’s music. It’s the perfect combination of new and familiar to whet the appetite of the audience.

The official social media accounts for the Hunger Games prequel have given fans a few gifts. The first official poster for The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes was shared by Lionsgate in late March 2023. The first poster featured the titular songbird and snake gilded in gold but didn’t have anything else for fans just yet. A month later after sharing footage with investors at CinemaCon, Lionsgate released another poster and the official trailer for The Hunger Games prequel.

The new poster sees Lucy Gray Baird (Rachel Zegler) and Coriolanus Snow (Tom Blyth) take the positions of the songbird and snake from the title, fitting since Lucy is a singer from a family of traveling performers and Coriolanus has a legacy of snake-like behavior in the movie franchise.

Will There Be More Hunger Games Stories?

Coriolanus and Lucy talking to each other in The Hunger Games Ballads of Songbirds and Snakes

Whether there will be more Hunger Games novels to use as source material for movies is up to writer Suzanne Collins. She has more than 75 years of history only hinted at in the existing stories in which to set new ones. If she does pen more novels or short stories set in the world of Panem, Lionsgate will want the chance to adapt them and continue the success of the Hunger Games franchise.

Lionsgate’s decision will hinge on the success of The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. If the studio can capture the same level of interest for Snow and Lucy as they did for Katniss, they will want to expand the movie universe. Fans have already expressed an interest in seeing original trilogy characters like Mags (Lynn Cohen), Finnick (Sam Claflin), and Johanna (Jena Malone) in their own stories before the events of Hunger Games: Catching Fire, and in seeing just what Katniss’ mentor Haymitch Abernathy (Woody Harrelson) was like as a child. Any of those characters offer up potential new Hunger Games prequels.

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