Gather once more, The Hunger Games swarm. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snake, a new book by Suzanne Collins that will be published on May 19, 2020, will be made into a film by Lionsgate under the same name.
The Hollywood Reporter reported that Lionsgate was “eyeing” a prequel movie after the introduction of Suzanne Collins’ new book, which sparked discussions regarding a return to the Panem universe that were officially launched in June 2019. Francis Lawrence, who directed the last three episodes of the original series, will now take the project in his direction. The remaining information on the project, including if any of the original cast members will return, is shown below.
What is the Hunger Games prequel about?
The novel dives further into Panem’s historical roots and is set 64 years before the first book in the original trilogy. Collins stated of the book, “With this book, I wanted to study the state of nature, who we are, and what we feel is essential for our survival,” according to THR. Characters can explore these issues and develop their perspectives on humanity throughout the Dark Days, a time of reconstruction that occurs ten years after the war as Panem struggles to get back on its feet.
The story takes place when Coriolanus Snow was only 18 years old, a long time before he started to rule Panem with a tyrannical hand. Even though the Snow family has experienced financial hardship, young Coriolanus is gorgeous and charming, and when he is selected to serve as a mentor for the 10th Hunger Games, he sees a potential for a turn around in his fortunes. However, his joy is short-lived when he is given the responsibility of mentoring the girl tribute from underprivileged District 12 instead.
In the Hunger Games movie series, Donald Sutherland portrayed President Snow at a more senior age. Although it’s possible that a different actor will be chosen to represent the younger version of the character, Sutherland might show up in flash-forward sequences.
Santino Fontana (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Broadway’s Tootsie) reads an 11-minute extract from the novel’s audiobook exclusively for Entertainment Weekly. There are often surprises when you believe you know someone, said Fontana to EW. “You’re going to comprehend why he is the way he is much more,” Part of the first chapter is available for listening here.
How long has the prequel been in development?
Collins was in touch with studio executives even as she was working on The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. Given that the first three Hunger Games novels—The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay—sold more than 100 million copies when they were published, that isn’t exactly shocking. The four-film series, which divided the Mockingjay events into two films, brought in almost to $3 billion at international box offices. It makes sense that Lionsgate was excited to start a new project in the Hunger Games universe.
According to THR, Lionsgate Motion Picture Group Chairman Joe Drake stated in a statement to the Associated Press, “As the proud home of the Hunger Games movies, we can hardly wait for Suzanne’s next book to be published. She and I have been in touch throughout the writing process, and we look forward to working closely with her on the film.
Who will steer the project?
The primary director from the original franchise will return. While screenwriter Michael Arndt (who wrote on Catching Fire) will adapt the screenplay, Collins will create the treatment for the movie, which is an outline-style first draft of the script. Along with executive producer Collins, producers for the first trilogy will be Nina Jacobson and Brad Simpson. According to THR, Collins stated in a statement, “Lionsgate has always been the cinematic home of The Hunger Games, and I’m happy to be returning to them with this new book.”
When will the movie come out?
Lionsgate stated that The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes would hit theaters on November 17, 2023 during CinemaCon 2022. The announcement was accompanied by a brand-new teaser video that, according to Variety, “panned over striking shots of icy tree branches and an eye-catching gold as text scrolled that reads, “The world will discover… who is a songbird… and who is a snake,” “though it didn’t reveal the cast or any footage from the film.” In June, the teaser was formally made available to the public.
Who’s in the cast?
“Waiting for Suzanne’s new book was worthwhile. Prior to CinemaCon, Lionsgate Motion Picture Group Chairman Joe Drake released a statement praising the film. “It delivers everything fans could wish for and expect from The Hunger Games while simultaneously forging new ground and presenting a whole new canvas of characters,” Drake stated. A new set of roles would therefore need to be filled, some of which might be connected to Katniss Everdeen and company.
Tom Blyth, who starred in Billy the Kid, was reportedly cast as a young Snow, according to a May 2022 Deadline article. The District 12 tribute that Snow mentors in the Hunger Games, Lucy Gray Baird, would be played by West Side Story actress Rachel Zegler, it was later announced by the same publication.
Then, in June 2022, Deadline revealed additional casting information for five additional characters, the most of which were mentors or tributes to the Hunger Games: Ashley Liao from Always Be My Maybe and Fuller House will play Snow’s friend and District 11 mentor Clemensia Dovecote; Jerome Lance will play Marcus from District 2; Mackenzie Lansing from Mare of Easttown will play Coral from District 4; Knox Gibson from Forgive Us Our Trespasses will play Bobbin from District 8; and Aamer Husain from Hudson & Rex will play Felix Ravinstill from District 11.
The Hollywood Reporter later stated that Tigris Snow, Snow’s “cousin and confidant,” would join The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes in June 2022. Hunter Schafer is best known for her role as Eliza in Euphoria.
Cameo appearances by cast members like Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Elizabeth Banks, or Woody Harrelson seem implausible given that the prequel plot takes place 64 years before the events of the original trilogy. Lawrence previously responded to a question from Variety about taking part in a prequel movie by saying, “I wouldn’t be engaged. It seems premature to me. My belief is that they must allow the body to become cold. (Remember that this took place in December 2015, less than a month following the publication of Mockingjay, Part 2.)