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‘The Hunger Games: The Ballad Of Songbirds & Snakes’ Is Set Years Before Katniss’ Story

After much anticipation, the latest installment in the Hunger Games series, The Hunger Games: The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes, is set to hit theaters on Nov. 17. Since the film’s production studio has not been affected by the SAG-AFTRA strikes, promotion for the film has been in full swing. Exclusive showings were held in multiple cities across the country on Nov. 13, the same day as the official Los Angeles premiere the cast attended. The soundtrack, which includes quite a few tracks by Rachel Zegler and the new Olivia Rodrigo song “Can’t Catch Me Now” has already received immense critical acclaim. 

When a new film in a popular franchise is released, it’s usually a continuation of the movies that came before. If you were thinking about catching up on the Hunger Games’ events before watching The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes, you might not necessarily need to, since the new film takes place earlier in the timeline. 

Based on Suzanne Collins’ 2020 novel, The Ballad of Songbirds And Snakes takes place 64 years before the events of the original films. The movie follows an 18-year-old Coriolanus Snow (played by Tom Blyth) as he mentors District 12 tribute Lucy Gray Baird (played by Zegler) for the 10th Annual Hunger Games. The film allows fans to get to know the person Coriolanus was before he became the tyrannical President of Panem. 

As described by Lionsgate Films, the movie follows “a young Coriolanus who is the last hope for his failing lineage, the once-proud Snow family that has fallen from grace in a postwar Capitol. With his livelihood threatened, Snow is reluctantly assigned to mentor Lucy Gray Baird, a tribute from the impoverished District 12. But after Lucy Gray’s charm captivates the audience of Panem, Snow sees an opportunity to shift their fates. With everything he has worked for hanging in the balance, Snow unites with Lucy Gray to turn the odds in their favor. Battling his instincts for both good and evil, Snow sets out on a race against time to survive and reveal if he will ultimately become a songbird or a snake.” 

In addition to Blyth and Zegler, the cast also includes Zegler’s real-life boyfriend Josh Andres Rivera, who stars as Sejanus Plinth, a mentor of District 2’s tribute and Coriolanus’ childhood friend, as well as Hunter Schaefer, Peter Dinklage, Jason Schwartzman, and Viola Davis. 

I love a good origin story in film, and cannot wait to see what The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes will reveal. 

Karly Ramnani is a junior at the University of Southern California, in Los Angeles, studying music industry, with a strong passion for art and journalism. They discovered this amazing community shortly after starting college, and are super stoked to be interning at Her Campus this semester. Karly has previously written for All Country News, The Honey Pop, Medium, Newsbreak, and their own startup music blog Playlists & Polaroids! When they're not writing blogposts and music reviews, you can find them composing and performing music, putting their nose in a rom-com book, binge watching "The Summer I Turned Pretty," or crying over Taylor Swift.