'The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes' : Everything to Know About 'The Hunger Games' Prequel

From the official release date to the cast, here's everything you need to know about the Hunger Games prequel movie

Tom Blyth as Coriolanus Snow and Rachel Zegler as Lucy Gray Baird in The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes. Photo Credit: Murray Close
Photo: Murray Close/Lionsgate

Get ready to return to Panem.

More than 10 years after The Hunger Games hit theaters, a brand-new prequel film is in the works.

Based on Suzanne Collins' 2019 novel The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, the upcoming movie adaptation will follow a young President Coriolanus Snow (played in the original films by Donald Sutherland) before he became president of Panem.

Collins' dystopian novels and film adaptations were a huge hit during their initial release, leaving fans more than eager for this next journey.

In addition to catapulting the careers of its young stars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, and Liam Hemsworth, the films sparked a fandom frenzy, breaking box-office records from 2012 through 2015, earning more than $3 billion worldwide.

From the official release date to the full cast, here's everything you need to know about the upcoming film.

What is The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes about?

The Hunger Games Donald Sutherland
Donald Sutherland as Coriolanus Snow in The Hunger Games. Color Force/Lionsgate/Kobal/Shutterstock

The book serves as a prequel to The Hunger Games book series as it follows a young Coriolanus Snow before he became the powerful president in the original trilogy. It occurs during the 10th Hunger Games, during which Snow serves as a mentor to a tribute named Lucy Gray Baird for District 12.

Throughout the story, we get a closer look at how the Hunger Games transformed over the years and how Snow eventually became the villainous politician who torments Katniss Everdeen.

Who is in the cast of The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes?

Tom Blyth and Rachel Zegler
Jon Kopaloff/Getty, VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty

In May 2022, PEOPLE exclusively revealed that Tom Blyth (from Epix's new Western adventure series Billy the Kid) will play young President Coriolanus Snow.

On May 31, 2022, Lionsgate revealed that West Side Story star Rachel Zegler will star as Lucy Gray Baird, a tribute from District 12 in the 10th Hunger Games.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 07: Josh Andrés Rivera attends Disney Studios' premiere of "West Side Story" at El Capitan Theatre on December 07, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/WireImage) BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 30: Hunter Schafer attends Variety's Power of Women Presented by Lifetime at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on September 30, 2021 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Variety)
Jon Kopaloff/WireImage; Emma McIntyre/Getty

In June 2022, it was announced that Zegler's former West Side Story costar and real-life boyfriend Josh Andrés Rivera would star as Sejanus Plinth, a Hunger Games mentor who befriends a young Coriolanus Snow.

On June 22, 2022, Lionsgate announced that Euphoria star Hunter Schafer would be playing Tigris, Snow's cousin who eventually becomes a stylist in the Hunger Games. The character was originally played by Eugenie Bondurant in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2.

Viola Davis, Jason Schwartzman, Peter Dinklage
Robin L Marshall/Getty Images; Amy Sussman/FilmMagic; Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

Other key cast members include Viola Davis as Dr. Volumnia Gaul, who serves as the Head Gamemaker of the 10th Hunger Games; Jason Schwartzman as Lucretius "Lucky" Flickerman, the host of the 10th Hunger Games and presumably a distant relative of Caesar Flickerman; and Peter Dinklage as Casca Highbottom, the Dean of the Academy where Snow attends and the unintentional creator of the Hunger Games.

Are any cast members from The Hunger Games returning for The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes?

The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

Seeing that the upcoming film is a prequel, it's unlikely that any Hunger Games actors will reprise their roles. That being said, the film does feature a handful of familiar characters from The Hunger Games franchise, including Snow and Tigris from The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2, who is revealed to be Snow's cousin in The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.

Who is directing The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes?

Francis Lawrence Reveals He's In Talks to Direct a Potential 'Hunger Games' Prequel Film
Getty Images

Francis Lawrence, who previously directed the last three films in the series — The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Parts 1 and 2 of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — will return to direct the new movie, while Hunger Games series author Suzanne Collins will serve as an executive producer alongside Tim Palen. Michael Lesslie will write the script, based on Collins' book.

When did The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes film?

Rachel Zegler
Rachel Zegler/Twitter

Filming first kicked off in Poland in July 2022 and ended in Berlin, Germany in November 2022. Zelger celebrated the film's wrap on Twitter, writing, "I have loved every second."

"Many many many more words come to mind, but I shan't bore you by pretending I have anything new to offer you with my thoughts," Zegler added in a followup tweet. "Just know I am thankful. Just know I love telling stories. Just know I am so happy with real life. Happy wrap, my songbirds."

Is there an official image for The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes?

The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes
Rachel Zegler and Tom Blyth in The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. Murray Close

In August 2022, Lionsgate shared the first photo from the film, which shows Blyth and Zegler in character as Snow and Lucy.

Is there a poster for The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes?

The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

During CinemaCon 2023, an official poster was released, showcasing Lucy and Snow standing back to back with the text, "Everyone hungers for something."

Is there a trailer for The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes?

During the 2022 MTV Movie & TV Awards on June 5, Lionsgate debuted the first teaser for the upcoming Hunger Games prequel. Though no footage from the film was revealed, the teaser shows a gold snake slithering toward a gold bird on a tree, both shedding snow from themselves.

"You're invited to return to the Games," the text in the trailer reads. "In 2023, the world will discover who is a songbird and who is a snake."

During CinemaCon in April 2023, the official trailer was released, showcasing the wild events to come. The end of the trailer also features a voiceover from Sutherland's Snow in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 during which he tells Katniss, "It's the things we love most that destroy us."

When does The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes release?

The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

During the 2022 CinemaCon, Lionsgate announced that the film would be released in theaters on Nov. 17, 2023.

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