See the Dystopian Nightmare That Launched the Hunger Games in New ‘Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes’ Trailer

new-hunger-games-trailer - Credit: Murray Close/Lionsgate
new-hunger-games-trailer - Credit: Murray Close/Lionsgate

A new trailer for The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes reveals more of the Games’ twisted origins ahead of the film’s Nov. 17 release.

“I want my enemies to see a rainbow of destruction engulfing the world,” Dr. Volumnia Gaul, the Head Gamemaker played by Viola Davis, says at one point, long after the rest of the clip has shown children screaming and dumped out of trucks like garbage. The events in the movie took place 64 years before Katniss Everdeen’s timeline.

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In the trailer, Gaul also rhetorically asks Coriolanus Snow (Tom Blyth) what he thinks the Hunger Games is for, given all the suffering in the world. “The Hunger Games,” he says, “they’re to punish the Districts. Those ‘tributes’ don’t have a choice,” he says, referring to the children gathered to fight. There are also plenty of snakes, but not a single songbird in the trailer. But perhaps the most disturbing scene in the trailer is Jason Schwartzman, playing Games TV host, exhorting the kids, “Smile. It’s why we have teeth.”

Filmmaker Francis Lawrence, who helmed the previous Hunger Games movies Catching Fire and the two Mockingjays, helmed this adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ novel. The film also features Rachel Zegler as Lucy Gray Baird, whom Snow mentors, as well as Hunter Schafer and Peter Dinklage, among others.

Rolling Stone included The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes on its list of 42 Must-See Movies of Fall 2023. The film will “pay tribute (get it?) to the concept of extending this cinematic universe at least one, if not three more times,” the magazine’s blurb predicts.

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