The Hunger Games: Catching Fire wowed the crowds in Comic-Con's Hall H today, but one of the big highlights-- the brand-new trailer-- is available for us to watch online right now, via Yahoo!. A lot of the footage is familiar from earlier glimpses at the film, and Lionsgate is still sticking with their strategy of not marketing any scenes of fighting in the arena, aside from that quick glimpse near the end. But there's a lot here that fans have been dying to see, particularly Katniss's "wedding dress" that she wears for a live TV broadcast, so that the entire nation can watch the white dress catch fire and turn into a giant Mockingjay.
Among the new stuff, which mostly comes in near the end and takes place in the Capitol, there's even more of Donald Sutherland's President Snow, whom the movies are working hard to set up as a central villain much more so than in the books, so that when the war gets started in Mockingjay we really feel like it's a battle between him and Katniss. But the new character who matters most by far is Finnick, played by Sam Claflin and revealed here in what ought to be his signature look-- shirtless. This image is the only suggestion we've got so far of the weird sexual intimidating that Finnick pulls on Katniss, even when they're supposed to be working together, but I guess that's the kind of nuance you only get in a full film. Based on what I hear from Hall H today, the shirtless shot of him here did more than enough to get the fans on board with Claflin, so it clearly got the job done.
It's only when watching this trailer that I've truly realized how political Hunger Games: Catching Fire is, and though presumably Lionsgate is marketing the film to a LOT of people who have read Suzanne Collins' book, by not showing the arena footage they're going to wind up selling people a film that's not so much about a teen girl heroine, but a young revolutionary. Katniss isn't exactly leading armies and dispersing propaganda in Catching Fire, but she's on her way to getting there, and this film focuses even more than the book does on the slowly growing revolution against the government that Katniss inadvertently started when she defied the Capitol in The Hunger Games by refusing to kill Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), whom she's now pretending is her fiance for the sake of keeping the government happy and keeping them both alive. Yeah, it's dark and complicated-- usually two things that adaptations of young adult books try to avoid entirely.
Of course, a lot of this civil unrest footage is similar to what we saw in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire's first trailer-- if anything, this one goes heavier on the glitz with the reveal of the wedding dress and the return of Katniss's personal stylist Cinna, played by Lenny Kravitz. But especially at Comic-Con, where news about Batman fighting Superman and World of Warcraft movie have been the big story, seeing something this grounded in discontent and realistic violence is a bit of a surprise. A good one, really. Check out that first Catching Fire teaser below if you'd like to compare:
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire comes to theaters on November 22 this year. For more on everything else the movie revealed at Comic-Con today, click here.
UPDATE! A new images of Katniss in Catching Fire has been released. See it in our full report.