“The Hunger Games” franchise, based on the novels of the same name by Suzanne Collins, is finally releasing a prequel adaptation, “The Battle Of Songbirds And Snakes” this year. Lionsgate released the first official trailer for the film. The prequel follows a young Coriolanus Snow (Tom Blyth) as he embarks on a journey of love and loss that ultimately paves his path to becoming president of the fictional post-apocalyptic nation of Panem. Blyth will star alongside Rachel Zegler as Lucy Gray Baird, an early District 12 tribute who was trapped in the coal mining district amid the fallout of the war.
The prequel takes place several decades ahead of “The Hunger Games” trilogy. The franchise tells the story of a post-apocalyptic North American society that resorts to an annual fight to the death among children between 12 and 18 as a form of population control.
— The Hunger Games ???? (@TheHungerGames) April 27, 2023
The prequel has both been long anticipated by fans of Collins’ original franchise and moviegoers alike. While some are excited about the casting, particularly Golden Globe winner Zegler, some were more apprehensive. Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson, who played the protagonists Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark in the original films, each found a new level of fame from the project. Critics applauded their emotionally impactful performances, and viewers are not sure if the new leads will deliver similarly. Regardless of the apprehension, fans noted the chemistry between the two leads visible in the brief trailer.
— hayden (@haydenizer) April 27, 2023
they don’t make movies like they used to. josh hutcherson is laughing out loud rn
— lea (ᴘʜ.ᴅ. ɪɴ ɪᴅɢᴀғ ᴍᴀɴᴀɢᴇᴍᴇɴᴛ) (@whowantsfudge) April 27, 2023
Others are taking notice of the star-studded cast outside of the titular roles. Hunter Schaffer, Viola Davis, Peter Dinklage and more are also set to appear in the film.
First look at Hunter Schafer in The Hunger Games prequel, ‘The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.’ pic.twitter.com/TzAJOTDYmd
— Pop Base (@PopBase) April 27, 2023
First look at Viola Davis in ‘The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.’ pic.twitter.com/zlWODhP2hR
— Pop Crave (@PopCrave) April 27, 2023
The unique and elaborate costumes of the franchise have long been a fan-favorite, and this new installment’s vintage flair is catching the eye of fashion connoisseurs.
new ???? one of hunter schafer’s outfits as tigris for the hunger games ballad of songbirds and snakes!! pic.twitter.com/oc5FC3dANC
— hourly hunter schafer ???? (@hourlyhunty) April 27, 2023
Most of all, fans look forward to the overall intricate look at human nature that the film will take. Many parents criticized author Suzanne Collins for her depiction of violence against children. Some literary critics disagreed, feeling that Collins’ novels, while dark, told a much needed cautionary tale on the impacts of a national power imbalance. The dynamic present in this story will differ greatly from the narrative of the original trilogy.
Katniss and Lucy Gray are very, very different. The Hunger Games is about what happens when you place a hunter in a performance. The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes is about what happens when you place a performer in a hunt.
— Leah Marilla Thomas (@leahmarilla) April 27, 2023
Despite the differences, fans took note of an important parallel between Zegler and Lawrence’s performances. Zegler later confirmed that the bow was ad-libbed.
this was an ad-lib :’) https://t.co/GWLYVFacwc
— rachel zegler (she/her/hers) (@rachelzegler) April 27, 2023
Fans of the dystopian genre are looking forward to another female-led film in the space. Based on source material from a female author and featuring a strong female lead, the projects have furthered the careers are several of the young women initially involved. The franchise was also praised for its soundtrack, which featured a young Taylor Swift and Lorde.
“The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” comes to theaters on November 23.