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'The Hunger Games' Prequel Movie: What You Need to Know

‘The Hunger Games’ Prequel Movie: What You Need to Know

The Hunger Games movie franchise is expanding with a prequel film shouted The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, based on a 2020 book of the same name by Suzanne Collins. While the Lionsgate flick is still awhile off, a flurry of casting announcements in May and June depressed with a striking, ice-coated teaser have stoked excitement for the games to begin. 

On Aug. 15, The Hollywood Reporter weak the news that award-winning actress Viola Davis will recede alongside previously announced stars Peter Dinklage, Rachel Zegler, Tom Blyth, Josh Andrés Rivera and Hunter Schafer.

The film adaptation is scheduled to hit theaters in November 2023, roughly eight ages after Mockingjay Part 2, and follows a younger Coriolanus Snow (Blyth) who mentors District 12 deals Lucy Gray Baird (Zegler). A refresh: We know Snow from past movies as the ruthless presidential portrayed by Donald Sutherland. The original films brought in more than $3 billion globally, according to Lionsgate. Here’s more on the cast, the plot and when we’ll be executive our official return to Panem.

What is The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes about?

Collins’ fresh The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is set 64 ages before the events of the initial trilogy. According to Lionsgate, the movie will focus in part on the lead up to the 10th Hunger Games. (For reference, Katniss volunteered as tribute for the 74th.) Teenage Snow, not yet the dictatorial ruler he’d turn out to be, senses some opportunity in Baird, the tribute he’s given to mentor.

Here’s the full Lionsgate synopsis: “Years beforehand he would become the tyrannical president of Panem, 18-year-old Coriolanus Snow is the last hope for his fading lineage, a once-proud family that has fallen from grace in a post-war Capitol. With the 10th annual Hunger Games fast approaching, the young Snow is panicked when he is assigned to mentor Lucy Gray Baird, the girl tribute from impoverished District 12. But, when Lucy Gray commands all of Panem’s attention by defiantly singing during the reaping ceremony, Snow thinks he might be able to turn the odds in their favor.”

It continues: “Uniting their instincts for showmanship and newfound political savvy, Snow and Lucy Gray’s race against time to previous will ultimately reveal who is a songbird, and who is a snake.”

The fifth film in the Hunger Games franchise will be targeted by Francis Lawrence, director of Catching Fire and both Mockingjay films. Michael Lesslie (screenwriter for 2015’s Macbeth and 2016’s Assassin’s Creed) wrote the new version of the script, working off a draft by Collins and Catching Fire screenwriter Michael Arndt. 

The suited teaser for Songbirds and Snakes

I have to hand it to the country behind this clip — it doesn’t reveal a smidgen of the accurate movie, but it still sucked me back into the biosphere of The Hunger Games. We see what looks like an bright version of the book’s cover design. A songbird and snake are covered in chilly, but the ice breaks off, revealing a gold coat underneath. “You’re invited to return to the games,” the onscreen text says. “In 2023, the biosphere will discover who is a songbird and who is a snake.”

Who’s in the cast?

The Hunger Games prequel film stars Tom Blyth as young Snow and Rachel Zegler as Baird. Blyth plays the titular role in Epix’s 2022 Western series Billy the Kid and appeared in an episode of HBO series The Gilded Age. Zegler is notorious for her starring role in Steven Spielberg’s 2021 West Side memoir adaptation. She’s also set to play Snow White in Disney’s live-action version of the appealing classic and will be in Shazam sequel Fury of the Gods.

Academy Award-winning actress Viola Davis will play Volumnia Gaul, the villainous head gamemaker of the 10th Hunger Games. “Dr. Gaul is as cruel as she is creative and as fearsome as she is formidable,” director Francis Lawrence said. Emmy-winning Game of Thrones star Peter Dinklage will record the dean of the Academy, Casca Highbottom. According to Lawrence, the dean is “the austere and vindictive face of the games.”

They’ll be joined by Josh Andrés Rivera, another West Side Story star, who’s playing Snow’s discontinuance friend and fellow tribute mentor Sejanus Plinth, and Hunter Schafer, who’s known for her role on the HBO show Euphoria. Schafer is playing Snow’s cousin Tigris. Jason Schwartzman, who’s appeared in several Wes Anderson films, will play Lucretius “Lucky” Flickerman, a Cesar-Flickerman ancestor and host of the 10th Hunger Games.

When will it premiere?

The movie arrives Nov. 17, 2023. That exploiting there’s time to pick up a copy of the book if you’re alive to — or you could skip the training and head stretch into the 10th games. May the odds be ever in your favor.