The upcoming release of The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes has been generating a lot of buzz and speculations regarding its possible connections to the existing beloved franchise.

The film is expected to honor the Jennifer Lawrence-led movies‘ legacy, thanks to the return of director Francis Lawrence, who helmed the previous three installments, Catching Fire, Mockingjay Part 1, and Mockingjay Part 2. The recently unveiled trailer also ensures that fans can anticipate a deeper dive into the backstory of a young Coriolanus Snow, originally played by Donald Sutherland in those movies.

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In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, director Lawrence broke down the trailer, pointing out the obvious as well as some subtly inserted Easter eggs connecting the films. The trailer has caught people’s attention for including the haunting opening notes of lead actress Rachel Zegler’s rendition of “The Hanging Tree,” a song Katniss Everdeen sung in the Mockingjay movies. Lawrence explained that Zegler’s Lucy Gray was actually the one who originally came up with the melody and that it resonates across generations in District 12. He said, “After witnessing a man being hanged for multiple murders, she crafts ‘The Hanging Tree’.”

The trailer notably delivered a line of Sutherland’s Snow from original movies It’s the things we love most that destroy us.” The director teased that the prequel’s scope extends far beyond the Hunger Games arena, as Snow’s journey takes the center stage as he navigates the complexities of Peacekeeper duties. Lawrence emphasized the contrast between the young Snow and the hardened figure we know from the original films: “If you’ve just seen the other movies with Donald Sutherland and how he reacts to District 12, you would never think that he’d actually spent a fair amount of time there himself as a Peacekeeper.”

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The director also addressed the symbolic white rose from the trailer, revealing how the object is synonymous with Coriolanus Snow. The rose makes its debut at the train station when Snow meets Lucy for the first time. The director empathized that the white roses did not mean evil in the prequel books, and are meant to be foreshadowing the intricate web of alliances and betrayals that ultimately created Snow.

Lawrence admitted to not being able to thoroughly bring Suzanne Collins novel into the adaptation. He said, “When you’re distilling a book of this length down to a feature film, there are certain things you have to lose, and we lost a little bit of that.” However, the references already covered in the previous films were much easier to revisit and hence, utilized to connect the film’s. He added, “But of course we can’t lose roses and Snow’s connection to roses. It’s part of the fun of being able to tell a story like this. We get to dive into the origins of elements we’re familiar with.”

The director also spoke highly of the supporting cast, including Peter Dinklage and Viola Davis. He said, “Some of Peter’s scenes are some of my favorites in the movie. I wanted to work with him for so long. He came in and blew everybody away.”

The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes will hit the theaters on Nov. 17.

Source: Entertainment Weekly

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