Release date, story, cast, and more

The Hunger Games prequel novel, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is being turned into a movie, adding to the lore of the original Hunger Games trilogy starring Jennifer Lawrence. It’s due to hit theatres later this year and should give fascinating insight into the origins of Panem’s dictatorial president Coriolanus Snow.


Hunger Games prequel: Official title

The Hunger Games prequel movie will be called The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. It’s based on the same-name prequel novel written by Suzanne Collins, the author of the original Hunger Games trilogy.

The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes movie: Release date

  • Release date: Currently scheduled to hit cinemas on 17 November 2023

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes movie will release in theatres on 17 November 2023. The prequel was announced during Lionsgate’s event at Cinemacon, a yearly conference where film studios preview their projects.

Hunger Games prequel: Where to stream

  • Watch online from: Peacock

It was announced that NBCUniversal’s Peacock signed a multi-year deal to stream Lionsgate movies. And, yes, the agreement does include The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes for when it releases. It will likely land in cinemas first for at least 45 days before coming to the Peacock streaming service for anyone to watch from the comfort of their couch.

Peacock first launched in 2020. It is a video streaming service in the US that draws on NBCUniversal’s wide swathe of properties. It’s available in three tiers: Peacock Free, Peacock Premium with Ads (an ad-supported version that costs $4.99-a-month or $49.99 a year), and Peacock Premium (a $9.99-a-month or $99.99 annually subscription option that has fewer ads).

For more about Peacock, see Pocket-lint’s guide.

Hunger Games prequel: Story

The novel The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes was released in 2020.

The story is about Coriolanus Snow, the president of Panem during the original trilogy, as a young man. It’s also about Lucy Gray Baird, a mysterious girl from District 12, whom Snow mentors through the 10th Hunger Games. Keep in mind Katniss Everdeen – the focus of the original trilogy set over 60 years later – comes from District 12 and opposes Snow and his regime.

Synopsis

The Lionsgate synopsis for the film reads:

“Years before he would become the tyrannical president of Panem, 18-year-old Coriolanus Snow sees a chance for a change in fortunes when he is chosen to be a mentor to Lucy Gray Baird, the girl tribute from impoverished District 12.”

Logline

The Lionsgate logline for the film reads:

“Coriolanus Snow mentors and develops feelings for the female District 12 tribute during the 10th Hunger Games.”

Hunger Games prequel: Cast and crew

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes will be developed by Color Force and distributed by Lionsgate. Production will reportedly start in the first half of 2022, according to Deadline.

Cast

Lionsgate has announced most of the cast for The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. Having already revealed its lead characters, fans will be very excited to see the addition of Peter Dinklage and Viola Davis as Casca and Dr. Gaul respectively:

  • Tom Blyth will play the lead role of Coriolanus Snow
  • Rachel Zegler is to star as Lucy Gray Baird
  • Peter Dinklage will play Casca Highbottom
  • Viola Davis will play Dr. Volumnia Gaul
  • Hunter Schafer (from “Euphoria”) will play Tigris Snow, Coriolanus’ cousin and close friend
  • Jason Schwartzman will play Lucky Flickerman
  • Fionnula Flanagan will play Grandma’am
  • Jerome Lance will star as Marcus, a tribute from District 2.
  • Knox Gibson and Mackenzie Lansing will play tributes from District 8 and District 4, Bobbin and Coral.
  • Ashley Liao and Aamer Husain will play Clemensia Dovecote and Felix Ravinstill, mentors to the tributes from District 11.

Director

Lionsgate said The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes movie will be directed by Francis Lawrence, who previously helmed the franchise’s Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Mockingjay Part 1, and Mockingjay Part 2. The Hunger Games is among the highest-grossing film franchises of all time. It earned nearly $3 billion worldwide.

Writers

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes movie will be written by Catching Fire writer Michael Arndt.

The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes movie: Official trailer

On 27 April 2023, Lionsgate finally released an official trailer for the movie. Safe to say it looks incredible, dramatic and features all the right notes for a Hunger Games movie and some stunning casting choices.

Lionsgate reportedly showed a sneak peek teaser trailer during its presentation at CinemaCon 2022. “You’re invited to return to the Games”, reads the screen as ice melted in a wintry scene, revealing a bird and a snake. “In 2023, the world will discover who is a songbird, and who is a snake.”

Hunger Games prequel movie Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes: What we know so far photo 3
Lionsgate

Hunger Games prequel: How to catch up

You really should watch the previous Hunger Games films in order to go into The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes with a good knowledge of the world, story, and the characters:

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