The Hunger Games prequel story about President Snow will be adapted to the big screen with The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes in November 2023.
While the end of Katniss Everdeen’s story was bittersweet, this new story will dive deep into how the infamous figure, President Coriolanus Snow, in The Hunger Games universe rose to prominence. During the 2022 MTV Movie & TV Awards on Sunday night (June 5, 2022), Lionsgate revealed the first teaser for The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. While the footage shown did not show any actual scenes from the film, it provided some semblance of what this new lore will be bringing.
The animation of the promotion teaser showed a gold snake slithering toward a gold bird on a tree, with both figures melting off the snow from their skin. “You’re invited to return to the Games,” the text in the teaser read. “In 2023, the world will discover who is a songbird and who is a snake.”
This prequel Hunger Games film already revealed its two stars will be Billy the Kid actor, Tom Blyth playing the young Coriolanus Snow before becoming the president of Panem, who was played by Donald Sutherland in the original movie series. The West Side Story breakout star, Rachel Zegler will play the female protagonist, Lucy Gray Baird, a tribute from District 12 in the 10th annual Hunger Games.
The director of the last three Hunger Games films, Francis Lawrence, will be returning to direct this new film and the movie series’ author, Suzanne Collins will serve as an executive producer. The script will be written by Michael Lesslie, based on Collins’ published book from 2020 under the same name.
Lawrence stated in a press release, “Like everybody, I first saw Rachel Zegler in West Side Story, and like everybody, I knew I was watching a star who would command the screen for a generation… Lucy Gray is a perfect match for her as an actress: the character is bold, independent and defiant, but also vulnerable, emotional and loving. Rachel will make this character unforgettable.”
For those on the fence with the past films in the same universe, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes novel presented a better outlook and explanation behind the inner workings of how and why the Hunger Games were invented in the first place. It also detailed the innocence of a teenage Coriolanus Snow and how his mind became as warped as he was presented in his future, older adult years reigning as president of Panem.
I believe this storyline was a great example of how the introspection and deeper analysis of other original Hunger Games characters could work really well. Of course, some could argue to see a Haymitch Abernathy (played by Woody Harrelson in the films) origin story when he was in his first Hunger Games or other Tribute characters from the Quarter Quell in Catching Fire such as Finnick Odair (Sam Clafin), Beetee (Jeffrey Wright) or Wiress (Amanda Plummer).
Here is the official synopsis for the film:
“Years before 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 alarmed when he is assigned to mentor Lucy Gray Baird, the girl tribute from impoverished District 12. But, after 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 favour…Uniting their instincts for showmanship and newfound political savvy, Snow and Lucy’s race against time to survive will ultimately reveal who is a songbird, and who is a snake.”
The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes was revealed to debut in theatres on November 17, 2023. While it is still more than a year away, I highly recommend checking out the books at your local bookstores as this was arguably a more suspenseful, thrilling experience compared to some of the original three books and four films.