The first official trailer for “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes” is out, having marked its big debut at CinemaCon 2023 on April 27.
The teaser reveals a lineup of new, albeit familiar, faces to head up the Panem-based standalone — including “West Side Story’s” Rachel Zegler, Hunter Schafer of “Euphoria,” and Viola Davis.
Rewinding the clock 64 years before the rebellions of Jennifer Lawrence’s “Hunger Games,” the new movie pulls viewers into the 2020 prequel novel by Suzanne Collins, who also penned the first series.
The dystopian action adventure follows young President Snow (previously played by Donald Sutherland in the first franchise) long before he becomes a white rose-sniffing tyrant. Instead, in “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes,” the president is just 18-year-old Coriolanus Snow, a boy who has been tapped to mentor District 12 tribute Lucy Gray Baird (Zegler) in the 10th annual Hunger Games.
The prequel description says Snow “is the last hope for his fading lineage, a once-proud family that has fallen from grace in a post-war Capitol.”
“With the 10th annual Hunger Games fast approaching, the young Snow is alarmed when he is assigned to mentor Lucy Gray Baird (Zegler), the girl tribute from impoverished District 12,” the description continues. “But after Lucy Gray commands all of Panem’s attention by defiantly singing during the reaping ceremony, Snow thinks he might be able to turn the odds in their favor. Uniting their instincts for showmanship and newfound political savvy, Snow and Lucy’s race against time to survive will ultimately reveal who is a songbird and a snake.”
The film trailer also teases the appearances of “Game of Thrones” actor Peter Dinklage, Josh Andres Rivera (“West Side Story”) and Jason Schwartzman (“Moonrise Kingdom”). The trailer also appears to hint viewers will be able to expect the various aspects of the original series that swept so many off of their feet, including the extravagant and indulgent fashion spearheaded by members of the Capitol and the televised aspect of the games, which Schwartzman’s character (Lucretius “Lucky” Flickerman) delivers as a host.
Francis Lawrence, who previously directed three of the four “Hunger Games” films, stepped back behind the camera to helm the film.
“The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” is expected to appear in theaters on Nov. 17, 2023.