When Suzanne Collins released the prequel to her beloved Hunger Games series, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes in 2020, fans were understandably elated to be getting new content set in the world of Panem. Of course, before the book came out, a movie was already in the works at Lionsgate. The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is set to be released on November 17, and the first trailer for the film dropped yesterday.
The trailer opens with a shot of the Capitol, but not as we’ve seen it before. Songbirds is set years before Katniss Everdeen volunteered in place of her sister for the 74th Hunger Games. To be exact, the book and film follow the events leading up to the 10th annual Hunger Games. The trailer does a good job of letting audiences know that this is a Capitol we don’t know yet, as the city’s aesthetic and its technology seems to be inspired by the 1950s.
The film follows a young Coriolanus Snow (played by Tom Blythe) as he is assigned to train a new tribute from District 12 for the annual fight to the death. That tribute is Lucy Gray Baird, played by West Side Story’s Rachel Zegler. Zegler makes her entrance in the trailer by bowing to the audience, imitating a pose Jennifer Lawrence did in the first Hunger Games movie. (Though of course, technically Zegler’s character would have done it first.)
We also get our first glimpse of queen Viola Davis as Dr. Valumnia Gaul, the original head gamemaker, the person who designs all of the deadly and malicious tricks and weapons used in the arena. Euphoria’s Hunter Schafer also stars as Tigris, President Snow’s cousin, and a fan favorite character from the books that didn’t get much screen time in the original Hunger Games franchise.
The trailer ends with a voiceover of Donald Sutherland’s original President Snow, speaking the iconic line, “It’s the things we love most that destroy us” followed by the famous Hunger Games whistle.
The fact that we get Viola Davis, Rachel Zegler, and Hunter Schafer in the same movie is enough to make us bolt the theaters on November 17, the fact that the movie in question is Hunger Games film is just an added bonus.
Top photo: Screen grab from “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes (2023) Official Trailer” from @LionsgateMovies on YouTube