The Hunger Games prequel book The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is becoming a movie. Here’s who is involved, its release date, the story, and more.

Warning! Contains possible SPOILERS from the novelization of The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.A new Hunger Games prequel movie is on the way based on the novel The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. It was announced in 2019 that Suzanne Collins was writing a new Hunger Games novel and that it already was being eyed to become a feature film. One of the main characters of the novel is a younger Coriolanus Snow (who becomes the president of Panem as an adult), with the spotlight on him proving to be a controversial decision. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is out in book form, allowing fans of the franchise to dive back into the world with new Hunger Games stories.


The young adventures of Snow and a story that happens 64 years before Katniss’ Hunger Games is new to readers, and it won’t be too long before an adaptation of the novel is released as a movie. Lionsgate initially brought Suzanne Collins’ original trilogy of books to the big screen starting in 2012. Starring Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen, The Hunger Games launched a wildly successful franchise for the studio. With just three books of source material, Lionsgate split Mockingjay into two parts to capitalize on the property and remained optimistic that more movies would follow in some form. That optimism has paid off.

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Latest The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes News

Hunger Games Prequel Movie Based On The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes In Development

Actress Rachel Zegler revealed that the movie wrapped filming in late 2022 by sharing images of her experience on social media (via Collider). That means early 2023 is the time in which the bulk of the editing will be taking place for the movie. According to director Francis Lawrence, there is a lot of editing to get through. He estimates that The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes will end up with a longer runtime than all the previous Hunger Games movies, which is definitely good news for those Hunger Games fans hoping to delve even deeper into the world of Panem.

The Hunger Games Prequel Movie Release Date

President Snow in The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games prequel movie is expected to release on November 17, 2023. Lionsgate appeared to find a comfortable home for the Hunger Games franchise on the release calendar, with the final three movies all arriving in late November on their respective release years. They’ve gone for the same window with The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, which means the prequel should net a strong box office return just before holiday season.

The Hunger Games Prequel Cast

Hunger Games Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes teaser

The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is filled with talent. Tom Blyth (Benediction) will be playing the young Coriolanus Snow, with Rachel Zegler (West Side Story) co-starring as Lucy Gray Baird. The doomed pair is joined by Hunter Schafer (Euphoria) as Tigris Snow, Coriolanus’ cousin and Jason Schwartzman as Hunger Games broadcast host Lucretius “Lucky” Flickerman – an ancestor of Ceasar Flickerman from the other movies/books. Viola Davis is fittingly cast as head gamemaker (and villain) Dr. Volumnia Gau which is fitting given her turns as Amanda Waller in the DCU. Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones) plays one of the co-creators of the Hunger Games, Casca Highbottom.

Tony Award nominee Fionnula Flanagan was added to the cast in the role of Snow’s grandmother, expanding the audience’s look into the Snow family. Flora Li Thiemenn (Tigermilk) will play one of the mentors to the unlucky tributes and Isobel Jesper Jones (The Bastard Son & The Devil Himself) will play the daughter of District 12’s mayor. Competitors and mentors in the Hunger Games themselves could include Laurel Marsden, Dakota Shapiro, Vaughan Reilly, and George Somner who were cast in minor roles.

Related: Hunger Games Prequel Casting Teases 1 Major Book Fix

The Hunger Games Prequel Movie Story Details


Readers can already get a head start on learning the story that the movie will tell. The prequel sees Snow living with his cousin Tigris and being tasked as a mentor in the Hunger Games. He’s selected to mentor the tribute from District 12 (where Katniss is from) through the grueling process. Her name is Lucy Gray Baird, and she is in many ways the exact opposite of Katniss. Lucy is a charismatic singer who doesn’t present herself as a physical threat, but she must work with Snow if she wants a chance of staying alive.

While the action will be focused on the events of the games, thematically the movie’s story will explore how society came to be so accepting of the Hunger Games by the point Katniss Everdeen led a revolution. With no brewing insurrection to speak of despite there being rebels and dissidents, the Hunger Games prequel ending will land on a very different note from the other movies. A romance subplot heavily features, and first-look shots (via Vanity Fair) seem to confirm that the relationship between Lucy and Snow goes beyond the platonic.

The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes Trailer

Mockingjay From Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

Lionsgate released a teaser trailer for The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes before footage of the movie was available for audiences to see. The teaser highlights a songbird and a snake, symbolizing Lucy and Snow in the upcoming movie, but doesn’t feature a look at the characters. Most movies release full trailers instead of teaser trailers about three months before the movie lands in theaters, so fans can expect a new trailer, at the very least, in August 2023.

Will There Be More Hunger Games Stories?

The cast of Tributes from Hunger Games: Catching Fire.

Whether there will be more Hunger Games novels to use as source material for movies is up to writer Suzanne Collins. She has more than 75 years of history only hinted at in the existing stories in which to set new ones. If she does pen more novels or short stories set in the world of Panem, Lionsgate will want the chance to adapt them and continue the success of the Hunger Games franchise.

Lionsgate’s decision will hinge on the success of The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes. If the studio can capture the same level of interest for Snow and Lucy as they did for Katniss, they’ll will want to expand its movie universe. Fans have already expressed an interest in seeing original trilogy characters like Mags (Lynn Cohen), Finnick (Sam Claflin), and Johanna (Jena Malone) in their own stories before the events of Hunger Games: Catching Fire, and in seeing just what Katniss’ mentor Haymitch Abernathy (Woody Harrelson) was like as a child. Any of those characters offer up potential for new stories.

MORE: Ballad Of Songbirds & Snakes Can Make 1 Hunger Games Moment More Powerful

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