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While The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 spent plenty of time reinventing itself to tell a story that is only comprised of the first half of the final book in Suzanne Collins’ popular young adult series, the new movie Mockingjay – Part 2 stays pretty darn faithful to the source material. There are some changes in Francis Lawrence’s movie, of course, but overall it sticks with the source material to give the scores of audiences who have read all of the books all the major points they expected. Because of that, the ender isn’t exactly what I’d call uplifting, poignant or shocking, but it is true to text.
Following are the 13 biggest changes I noticed in my screening of Lionsgate’s The Hunger Games: Mockingjay –Part 2. Plenty of other details were changed, of course, and feel free to remark on any changes you feel may have been more noticeable. There are many spoilers in the Mockingjay – Part 2 book to movie comparison. Do not delve in if you want the film to be a surprise.
Collins’ books are told from Katniss’ perspective. In the films, we get behind-the-scenes intel from the other important people involved in the rebellion. Like other films we see Coin and Plutarch making plans. In addition, we also see what Snow is up to.
Katniss and Prim’s dance is more meaningful. At Finnick and Annie’s wedding, egged on by Johanna, Katniss opts to dance with her sister in both the books and the movie. However, only in the movie does she share a long, memorable hug with her sister, which resonates even more deeply when Prim dies later on.
In the movie, Katniss sneaks to District 2. In the books, she is feeling frustrated and asks to be sent to the District; Plutarch and Coin allow her to go. The change in the movie makes sense, though, as it further proves the point that Katniss is impossible to control and causes a bigger rift between her and Coin.
After being shot in District 2, Katniss doesn’t lose her spleen. This is a small detail, but since she only bruises her ribs, it’s a lot easier to see how she gets back on her feet so quickly.
Prim tries to sway Peeta from hating Katniss after he’s been brainwashed. In the books, a character from Peeta’s childhood, Delly, is brought to Peeta's hospital room in order to help him feel closer to his normal himself.
Johanna and Katniss do not room together or train together. Katniss’ healing is sped up since she doesn’t lose her spleen and the two never share a room together or have to train to get back into shape. However, Johanna’s morphling addiction is apparent.
Peeta doesn’t make any strides before being sent out in the field. In the novels, therapy is somewhat working and Peeta is actively trying to get better. He even spends some time training in District 13 and decorating cakes before he is sent off to the front lines. The training in the books makes his ultimate recovery seem a bit more believable.
After the big wave, the Leeg sisters stay behind. In the books, Leeg 1 makes it out and is present when the emergency broadcast goes off later that evening. In the movie, she and her sister hold a group of peacekeepers off while Katniss, Gale, Peeta and others make their big escape.
In fact a lot of the Hunger Games-esque deaths are different. The movie treats all of the extraneous soldiers and camera crew as important, so Jackson and others are given a last stand, rather than simply mentioned off-handedly as being a person who "stayed behind," etc. This amps up the stakes a little in the movie.
Katniss doesn’t kill a civilian of The Capitol. While violence is inherent in The Hunger Games, that moment in the book is a stark example of the casualties of war and the lengths Katniss will go to protect herself and those she cares about. It’s toned down to a PG-13 level for the movie.
Caesar Flickerman gets a brief cameo. The Capitol’s most famous TV personality doesn’t really show up in the third book, but he’s so integral to the film series that Lawrence gives him a cameo when the emergency broadcast announces Katniss and co. are dead, even when they aren’t.
Instead of a televised trial, Haymitch reads a letter to Katniss about the way things turned out. It’s still cool that she killed Coin, but Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s untimely death likely contributed to the changes in this scene.
Katniss tells her final speech to her baby. There’s a moment inside Suzanne Collins’ book where Katniss watches Peeta and their children play and she remarks she has to actively think about the good things, like it’s a little game. In the movie, she tells her baby these things, that there are worse games to play. It’s a small change, made so we can hear the speech, but for a scene shot in such an idyllic setting, this way of ending is very dark.