Francis Lawrence, who directed the previous “Hunger Games” sequels, returns for “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” and is bringing “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” scribe, Michael Arndt with him. Joining the pair is “Macbeth” and “Assassin’s Creed” screenwriter Michael Lesslie, and the story is once again based on Suzanne Collins’ novel of the same name. Interestingly, the book came about after Lionsgate had expressed interest in creating additional spin-offs and stories set in the world of “The Hunger Games” (because this franchise is a cash cow for the studio), and definitely has the potential to expand to more films.
Not to spoil anything, but as this is a prequel, we’re looking at The Hunger Games before it became the entertainment spectacle we saw in the original series. The games look different, the Capitol citizens act differently, and the governmental rule over the districts is not how they would appear after Snow came to power. This is to say, don’t be shocked if this film has a cliffhanger ending that leads to a sequel.
“The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” boasts an incredible cast of characters, with some of the most decorated actors working today lending their talents. Joining Blyth and Zegler is Peter Dinklage as the Hunger Games co-creator Casca Highbottom, Viola Davis as the 10th Hunger Games’ head game maker Dr. Volumnia Gaul, Jason Schwartzman as the Hunger Games’ TV host (and ancestor of Stanley Tucci’s Caesar Flickerman), Lucretius Flickerman, Hunter Schafer as Tigris Snow, Josh Andrés Rivera as District 2 mentor Sejanus Plinth, Fionnula Flanagan as Grandma’am Snow, Ashley Liao as District 11 mentor Clemensia Dovecote, and Burn Gorman as the peacekeeper Commander Hoff.
“The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” is scheduled to reach theaters on November 17, 2023.