In March of 2022, the first “The Hunger Games” film reached the tenth anniversary of its theatrical release. The final film “The Hunger Games: Mocking Jay Part 2” was released in 2015. It has been seven years since the final film’s release, but in 2023, the franchise will continue with a new film, “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.”
Author Suzanne Collins has resurrected “The Hunger Games” franchise to bring us the prequel “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.” The book takes place 64 years before Katniss Everdeen was reaped into the 74th Hunger Games. It follows the story of President Snow (Tom Blyth) The Hunger Games’ main antagonist, in his youth. Therefore, it does not have the characters that the Hunger Games fan base has come to know and love and instead has an entirely new set of characters. The book itself has a 3.85 out of 5-star rating on GoodReads. It was nominated for the GoodReads Choice Award for Best Young Adult Fantasy & Science Fiction.
What exactly does this mean for the film? The film is to follow the same plot as the book. A teaser trailer was released by Lionsgate around four months ago. The teaser features snow-covered tree branches and a Mockingjay that is full of snow. The title screen reads “You’re Invited to Return to the Games.” Intense instrumental music plays, reminiscent of the original Hunger Games series. Everything begins to turn to gold. A snake and the songbird begin to move. It then reads, “In 2023 the World Will Discover Who is a Songbird and Who is a Snake,” and the title of the film and logo finally appear.
The film is set to be released on Nov. 17, 2023. The cast features well-known actors such as Hunter Shafer, Peter Dinklage, and Viola Davis. According to IMDb, Francis Lawrence had directed all four of the previous “The Hunger Games” films and has returned to direct “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.” Fans can look forward to a similar aesthetic to the original films due to the series continuing with the same director. In the first movies, President Snow was heavily associated with white cleanliness. As the series goes on, he begins to be associated with red and blood when it reveals his dark and gruesome intentions. I believe we will see this progression in the prequel too. CGI and cinematic technology have improved since 2015, so audiences should be able to enjoy the improvements made to this film compared to the previous films. But is the aesthetic and phenomenal cast enough to reignite fans’ interest in the series, especially after seven years?
In an article for Cinemax, Emily Hughes wrote, “10 Years Later, The Hunger Games’ Success Remains Hard to Repeat.” Hughes discusses the reasons for the franchise’s original success. This includes the time period it was released in, the fan base, and strong characters with themes that resonate with its audience.
It’s too early to say if the new film will have the same cultural impact that the original series did in 2012, but one thing is for sure, the release of this film will be highly anticipated by fans of the franchise.
“The Hunger Games” films can be found on Sling TV and Apple TV.