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The Hunger Games: The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes: Release Date And Other Things We Know

Hunger Games' Ballad Of Songbirds logo title
(Image credit: Lionsgate)

May the odds be ever in your favor. 

As one of those kids who was obsessed with The Hunger Games books and movies, as well as Jennifer Lawrence in that lead role, you can understand how incredibly happy I was when I heard that the prequel novel, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, was in development, and it seems that each week, we are constantly getting more news for this anticipated film. 

But who else is going to be in this new adaptation? And what is the plot going to be about? To answer your Songbirds and Snakes questions, here are six quick things that we know about the new film. 

Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss doing three finger salute in The Hunger Games

(Image credit: Lionsgate)

The Hunger Games: The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes Will Debut In Theaters On November 17, 2023 

Unfortunately, if you were thinking that The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes was going to be coming out at any point during the 2022 movie releases, that will unfortunately not be the case. But, on the bright side, we won’t have to wait for long, because the film is set to come out next year. 

The official release date that has been set so far is November 17, 2023 - almost eight years after the last film, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2, released in 2015. Truly, this will be the adventure of a lifetime once this film comes out, and it’ll be almost like a reset in my brain - we’re returning to Panem. 

Donald Sutherland as Cornelius Snow in The Hunger Games series.

(Image credit: Lionsgate)

The Prequel Will Follow A Young Cornelius Snow

Remember in the original Hunger Games series when we all hated Cornelius Snow, the tyrannical president of Panem? Yeah, that’s who is going to be the lead character of The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes - Cornelius Snow. 

Based on the novel of the same name, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is going to follow Snow as a young man, trying to save his family from ruin in a post-war Capitol. When he’s assigned to mentor Lucy Baird, the girl tribute from District 12 for the 10th annual Hunger Games, she ends up singing during the reaping ceremony. And Snow starts to see how he can use her to turn the tide in their favor, and rebuild the reputation of not only his family, but himself. 

If you can tell from the basic premise, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is a prequel to The Hunger Games series - which means we probably aren’t going to get to see any of the characters that we know about from the original Hunger Games trilogy (which you can watch streaming). However, as someone who has read the novel, I can say that it will open up a whole new side to Snow that we’ve never seen before, and it tells a story that truly will blow your mind.

Tom Blyth as Billy the Kid

(Image credit: Epix)

Tom Blyth Will Star In The Lead Role

If you’re wondering who out there is capable of taking on such a complex character like Cornelius Snow, the lead has already been cast, and he’s going to be played by Tom Blyth. 

The 27-year-old actor has appeared in a good amount of movies and TV shows, from a guest role in the HBO series, The Gilded Age, to the lead role in the Epix original series, Billy the Kid, playing the titular character, but seeing him in The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is going to be great, as he not only gets to play this awesome character, but show off his acting skills. 

Rachel Zegler, Hunter Schafer, Jason Schwartzman are going to be in The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.

(Image credit: 20th Century Studios/HBO/FX)

The Cast Also Includes Rachel Zegler, Hunter Schafer, Jason Schwartzman, And More 

When I tell you that casting news has been constantly coming out for The Hunger Games: A Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, I mean it. Ever since the original announcement of the film, more and more news has been released. 

One of the biggest casting announcements was that Rachel Zegler, who has gained so much fame in the last year for her portrayal of Maria as part of the 2021 West Side Story cast (and will play Snow White in the upcoming live-action Disney adaptation), was cast as Lucy Baird, the tribute that Snow is assigned to mentor. I can’t wait to see her and Blyth’s interactions on screen together. 

Plenty of other casting news has come out as well. Hunter Schafer, best known for her portrayal of Jules in the Euphoria cast, a popular teen drama on HBO, has been cast as Tigres, Snow’s cousin. Jason Schwartzman has also joined the cast as Lucretius “Lucky” Flickerman, who is the host of the 10th Hunger Games - and is an ancestor of Caesar Flickerman, if you can remember him as the host in the original trilogy. 

Other cast members that have been announced, according to Deadline, are Max Raphael, Zoe Renee, Ayomide Adegun, Kaitlyn Akinpelumi, Sofia Sanchez, Amelie Hoeferle, Josh Andres Rivera, and many others. Truly, this cast is stacked with stars. 

Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen during ending of Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2

(Image credit: Lionsgate)

Director Francis Lawrence Will Return For The Prequel

While the first Hunger Games movie was directed by Gary Ross, Catching Fire and Mockingjay: Part 1 and Part 2 were directed by Francis Lawrence, and while the director has come out with plenty of films in the nearly seven years since the last Hunger Games came out, such as Red Sparrow, Slender Man, and Slumberland, he’s returning to direct The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.

Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss in The Hunger Games

(Image credit: Lionsgate)

Suzanne Collins, The Author Of The Original Novel, Will Serve As An Executive Producer

See, this is what truly makes me happy. In many book adaptations, I’m always eager to see that the author is a part of the process of making the movie, such as Stephen Chbosky, the author of The Perks of Being a Wallflower, directing the film, so I was really excited to see that the author of The Hunger Games franchise, Suzanne Collins, is going to serve as an executive producer. 

Suzanne Collins actually co-wrote the screenplay for the first Hunger Games movie, so I’m happy to see her return as an executive producer for this film, and hopefully, we’ll be able to see from the ground up just how Snow came to be that tyrannical president we all know. 

What are you the most excited for when it comes to The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes? The drama? The fighting? The amazing acting we are sure to get? I need this movie now and for it to get here as soon as possible.  

Alexandra Ramos
Alexandra Ramos

Big nerd and lover of Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire. Will forever hate season eight. Superhero and horror geek. And please don't debate me on The Last of Us 2, it was amazing!