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Does Anyone Want This Hunger Games Prequel Movie?

The odds are not in your favor.

jennifer lawrence

Ever since Suzanne Collins announced that she was writing a prequel to her massively popular Hunger Games series, it seemed all but inevitable that the book would be turned into a film. After all, Hunger Games is the 21st highest grossing film franchise of all time, earning nearly $3 billion worldwide. Making a film of the upcoming The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is a no-brainer.

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So it’s no surprise then that Lionsgate announced that director Francis Lawrence and producer Nina Jacobson would be returning to Panem for the prequel film. Lawrence directed The Hunger Games: Catching Fire as well as Mockingjay Parts 1 and 2. Michael Arndt (Catching Fire, Star Wars: The Force Awakens) will write the screenplay.

No cast has been announced yet, and thanks to the pandemic we are likely a few years out from the film being made. And as much as I enjoyed The Hunger Games, I am struggling to muster the same enthusiasm for The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. And that’s because the prequel centers on the one character whose backstory I don’t need: the villainous President Coriolanus Snow.

The prequel describes Snow as “a teenager born to privilege but searching for something more, a far cry from the man we know he will become. Here, he’s friendly. He’s charming. And, for now anyway, he’s a hero.” Of all the characters in Panem, this is the backstory we’re getting?

I would much rather read the story of young Mags, or Finnick and Annie’s romance, or literally any other character’s origin story. I get the appeal of focusing on the series villain (hello Star Wars prequels), but why not take on a more complex character like District 13 head Alma Coin?

As our own Princess Weekes said of the choice, “Why not use this prequel series to deal with any other the oppressed people that were affected by the Capitol or literally any people of color? Instead, we revisit the story of a privileged white man who turns to evil for … reasons.”

Still, despite our reservations, I doubt there’s anything that will blunt the momentum of The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, which will be available to read on May 19. Joe Drake, chairman of the Lionsgate Motion Picture Group, released a statement saying, “Suzanne’s new book has been worth the wait. It offers everything fans could hope for and expect from The Hunger Games while also breaking new ground and introducing an entirely new canvas of characters.”

We also got more information about the plot of the prequel, wherein Snow “is chosen to be a mentor for the 10th Hunger Games, only to have his elation dashed when he is assigned to mentor the girl tribute from impoverished District 12.”

The Hunger Games franchise is also being mined for other money-making opportunities, including a proposed theme park and a live concert series. How would that work? If this is a theme park that starts hunting guests a la Westworld I will be highly amused horrified.

What do you think of the new prequel? Are you excited for The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes?

(via The Hollywood Reporter, image: Lionsgate)

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Chelsea Steiner
Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.

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