The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes


64 years before he becomes the tyrannical president of Panem, Coriolanus Snow sees a chance for a change in fortunes when he mentors Lucy Gray Baird, the female tribute from District 12.

Tagline: Everyone hungers for something.


Official Website:
Language:  English
Release Date:  15 November 2023

Box Office

Budget:  $100,000,000
Revenue:  $332,400,000

Company Credits

Production Companies:  Lionsgate, Color Force

Technical Specs

Runtime:  2 h 37 min

Katniss from Tom Blyth’s Snow and Rachel Zegler’s Dollar Store Has No More Hunger Than Herself!
It makes the same error that HBO correctly avoided by shelved the Game of Thrones prequel after spending $30 million on it.

What’s Good: The title’s “songbirds” cliché provides a melodic counterpoint to all the mayhem and disorder occurring in other departments.

What’s Bad: It can’t live up to the hopes and expectations of being associated in any way with the “Hunger Games” franchise without failing to satisfy any obligations in order to maintain even a small amount of the excitement.

The prequel tells the origin tale of Coriolanus Snow (Tom Blyth), the cunning, strong, and fundamentally wicked character from the Hunger Games. It is set precisely 64 years before the Katniss era. It tells the tale of how he overcame his privilege, battled classism among the classists, and wasn’t born wicked.

The story, which takes place in the capital of the post-war nation of Panem, tells the tale of Snow’s infatuation with Lucy Gray Baird (Rachel Zegler), the manic pixie dream girl of District 12, which is where Katniss lives. Over the course of the bromidic length of more than 150 minutes, a number of subplots are explored as a result of this complex tribute-mentor connection during the 10th Hunger Games, the first to be broadcast live to the public.

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General Crassus, the patriarch of the Snow family, is killed in action during the First Rebellion between the Capitol and thirteen Districts in the dystopian, war-torn nation of Panem. Years later, one of the twenty-four Academy students chosen to mentor a tribute for the 10th Annual Hunger Games is Coriolanus, the son of Crassus. In order to redeem the Snow name, Coriolanus wishes to be awarded the Plinth Prize scholarship. Mentors should concentrate on entertaining viewers instead of the tributes winning the Games, according to mentor Casca Highbottom, originator of the games and dean of the Academy, who abuses Coriolanus. Sejanus Plinth, Coriolanus’s tutor and wealthy friend, is enraged by the brutality of the Games.

District 12’s female tribute, Lucy Gray Baird, is allocated to Coriolanus. She entertains Capitol spectators during the reaping ceremony by singing and tucking a snake inside the mayor’s daughter’s frock. To the chagrin of Highbottom, who paired Coriolanus with a District 12 tribute who would fail, Coriolanus gains Lucy Gray’s trust by taking her to the Capitol Zoo, bringing her food, and promoting her to Capitol people while fellow mentor Arachne Crane teases her tribute, who subsequently kills her.

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Coriolanus offers Head Gamemaker Dr. Volumnia Gaul a sponsorship plan: To boost viewing during the Games, Capitol viewers can send supplies to their favorite tributes through their mentors. Clemensia Dovecote, Coriolanus’s classmate, claims credit for his idea. Gaul compels Clemensia to grab the proposal from a tank filled with genetically altered snakes that attack strange smells. Clemensia is bitten by the snakes, proving that Coriolanus wrote the book.

Rebel bombs detonate during a tour of the Games’ arena, killing a number

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of mentors and tributes. Coriolanus gives Lucy Gray some rat poison to use as a weapon after she saves him from falling debris. He also informs her that there is a hole in the arena floor caused by a bomb. The first bloodbath claims the lives of several tributes. Along with Jessup, a fellow District 12 tribute, Lucy Gray flees down a tunnel. Sejanus enters the arena covertly and laments the passing of his homage Marcus, a former classmate from District 2. Gaul convinces Coriolanus to bring Sejanus back. Coriolanus beats the tribute to death when he confronts them.

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Felix Ravinstill, the president’s son, perishes from wounds sustained in the rebel bombing. All tributes are killed save for Lucy Gray when Gaul unleashes her snakes into the arena in retaliation; earlier, Coriolanus surreptitiously placed a handkerchief scented with her perfume within the tank. It’s only after Capitol spectators insist that Gaul pronounce her the winner. Following the festivities, Highbottom gives Coriolanus a twenty-year Peacekeeper service sentence in District 8 by confronting him with the handkerchief and poison. Sejanus offers to accompany Coriolanus when the latter bribes an officer to move him to District 12.

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Lucy Gray wrote the song “The Hanging Tree” after seeing a hanging execution in District 12. Coriolanus reconnects with Lucy Gray, who is performing with the Covey, a band that used to travel, when he and Sejanus go to the Hob bar. Sejanus gets entangled in a scheme by rebels in the meantime. When Coriolanus approaches Sejanus, he uses a jabberjay to record his confession and sends it to Gaul. Later, Coriolanus discovers that Sejanus is conversing with rebel Spruce, Billy Taupe, Lucy Gray’s ex-boyfriend, and Mayfair, Taupe’s girlfriend. Billy is killed by Spruce and Mayfair by Coriolanus during the inevitable confrontation. After that, Sejanus and Spruce are executed by hanging for treason.

Coriolanus and Lucy Gray flee northward. Lucy Gray only knows about two of the three victims Coriolanus unintentionally discloses he killed. Hidden in a hut is where Coriolanus discovers the weapons that implicate him in Mayfair’s murder. Knowing that she is the sole loose end keeping Coriolanus from returning, Lucy Gray flees. As he follows her, he gets bitten by a snake that she set out as a trap. He is so confused that he fires his gun mindlessly when jabberjays imitate her voice. Her whereabouts remain a mystery.

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When Coriolanus gets back to the Capitol, Gaul tells him that she enrolled him in the university and that she had him honorably discharged. Unaware Coriolanus was the reason behind their son’s demise, Sejanus’s parents named him their successor and provided for his schooling. When Coriolanus goes to see Highbottom, he admits that the Games were never meant to happen and that he came up with the concept while intoxicated. However, Crassus submitted the plan as their joint venture. Highbottom never forgave Crassus since he felt he was to blame for the violence during the Games. He accuses Coriolanus of making sure that the horrifying brutality of the Games would endure for many centuries. By injecting poison into Highbottom’s morphling bottle, Coriolanus ends his life. Afterwards, Gaul starts Coriolanus’ ascent to power by training him to be a gamemaker.


Suzanne Collins surprised everyone (not in a good way) when she published the prequel novel TBOSAS during the terrifying COVID-19 lockdown. The book revolves around the genesis tale of Coriolanus Snow (Tom Blyth). Imagine, my fellow Star Wars fans, that an Emperor Palpatine spin-off would discuss how he wasn’t necessarily born on the dark side.

Because they shed light on the psychological states of antagonists like the Joker, Sith, and X-Men: First Class, we all enjoy reading origin stories about villains. However, it falls short of providing Snow with a worthy homage, making his character glaringly undeveloped. You will be times when you’ll wonder why it’s necessary for you to know Snow’s past. Because it isn’t really noteworthy, particularly in the third act when his character is fully realized.

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