Gen Z sweetheart and Mugler model Hunter Schafer is breaking away from the HBO original series Euphoria and into Panem. Schafer plays Tigris in the upcoming installment of the Hunger Games franchise, The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes. Even if the name “Tigris” doesn’t ring a bell, you’ve definitely seen her on screen before — and you’ll never guess who she turns out to be.
Tigris appears in the original Hunger Games franchise in the Mockingjay book and Mockingjay: Part 2 movie. Tigris’ name matches her appearance: her face, neck, and hands are now covered in tattooed tiger stripes, her nose is flattened like a cat’s, and she has long whiskers. In the book, Katniss recalls that Tigris was a stylist in the Hunger Games for many years and guesses that “she must have had one operation too many and crossed the line into repellance.”
Since Tigris’ appearance in Mockingjay: Part 2 is very different from Schafer’s look in The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes, some readers have theorized the characters in these movies are not the same person. Though it seems that way, certain things about Tigris in The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, such as the fact that she’s an aspiring fashion designer, suggest that they are the same character.
Suzanne Collins’ novel The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is a prequel to the rest of the Hunger Games series and takes place 64 years before Katniss and Peeta first step into the arena. It follows a young Coriolanus Snow (AKA Panem’s future President Snow) as he mentors District 12’s female tribute in the 10th Hunger Games. One of the biggest shockers in the book is that President Snow and Tigris are cousins.
Tigris Snow is Coriolanus’ older cousin, best friend, and confidante all in one. They live with their grandmother in the Snow family’s Capitol penthouse. After the war that sparked the Hunger Games in the first place, the Snow family became destitute. Tigris works as a fashion designer’s assistant and trades on the black market to support her family. Throughout the 10th Hunger Games, she often advises Coriolanus and even styles his tribute, Lucy Gray Baird, for her TV interview.
Tigris plays a huge role in Snow’s younger life — so why have we only seen her once before?
Hiding Katniss at her clothing store in Mockingjay proves that Tigris is anti-Capitol when she’s older and therefore, anti-Snow. It’s unknown what happened between Tigris and Coriolanus in the 64 years between the events of Songbirds & Snakes and Katniss’ Games, but it couldn’t have been good. Katniss’ guess about Tigris being fired due to her appearance might have some truth to it. But now that we know Tigris is President Snow’s cousin, the real reason she was fired is probably a lot more personal.
Schafer’s version of the character stays true to her empathetic and resourceful nature in the Songbirds and Snakes novel. Tom Blyth, who plays Coriolanus, said that Schafer is “so natural, light, and buoyant. Hunter plays Tigris with a lightness and this savviness at the same time, which really defines the character.” Hunger Games fans should have full faith that Schafer will bring Tigris’ younger self to life — tiger stripes not included.