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Breaking Down the Characters and Canon that Connect The Hunger Games Saga
We break down the major character connectors across The Hunger Games saga.
Despite the fact that The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes is a prequel story set 64 years before the events of The Hunger Games saga featuring Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), astute observers of the mythology will see plenty of direct connections.
Director Francis Lawrence (who has helmed four of the five The Hunger Games films, including the new prequel), returning costume designer, Trish Summerville, and production designer, Uli Hanisch, have layered a multitude of visual Easter eggs into the very fabric and sets of the prequel film that foretell what's to come in the distant future of The Second Rebellion. But more overtly, author Suzanne Collins made sure in The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes to tie together some very specific characters and set pieces across the decades so that audiences could better understand how Panem evolved under President Snow's totalitarian reign. And specifically, how some of the seeds of The First Rebellion remained dormant in the history of the Districts, smoldering until they were used to ignite and inspire once more.
With the original Hunger Games films streaming now on Peacock, lets dive into the connections to the new prequel that you should look for on your next rewatch!
Five direct connections between The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes and The Hunger Games saga
This one's the most obvious of the character connectors, as The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes essentially focuses on a year in the life of 18-year-old Coriolanus "Coryo" Snow (Tom Blyth). In the book and film narratives, audiences find out about Snow's formerly wealthy Capitol family background, and the influence his father, Crassus Xanthos Snow, had on the Games. There's also an origin to Snow's signature roses which permeate The Hunger Games saga as a subtle threat to Katniss. And last but not least, Snow's mentoring of another infamous District 12 Tribute, Lucy Gray Baird (Rachel Zegler), is the foundation for how he will treat all Tributes going forward.
In The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2, when Katniss and The Star Squad look for a place to hide as they try to infiltrate the Capitol, it's Tigris Snow (Eugenie Bondurant) who invites them into her costume shop and protects them from the Peacekeepers. In that film, she's mostly memorable because of the extreme plastic surgery and makeup she wears to make her look more like a human Tiger. She's a visual representation of the excess of the Capitol citizens. But what The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes does is flesh out her back story as Snow's empathetic cousin. She's the connection to young Snow's humanity, and she is the one who encourages him to look at Lucy and the Tributes as people who should be treated as people. As a future stylist for the Games, we can imagine a growing-in-power Snow hooking her up with the job. But witnessing what he becomes would certainly make most people want to hide in plain sight, too.
In The Hunger Games saga, Caesar Flickerman (Stanley Tucci) is the glam, over-the-top Master of Ceremonies for the Games. He guides the District Tributes through their reality show pre-game rounds, selling their stories to gain sympathy and support from the Capitol sponsors. The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes establishes that he's pretty much a "nepo baby," as his familial relation, Lucretius "Lucky" Flickerman (Jason Schwartzman), was the first man to do the job. The 10th Hunger Games introduces the M.C. role as a way to make the Games more watchable for audiences. As both a weatherman and a musician, Lucky comes at the job as a comedic observer who injects his gallows humor into the proceedings. He is the first to host The Hunger Games: A Night of Interviews televised event, which lets Panem see the Tributes before they go into battle.
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The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes reveals that the Capitol's jackbooted soldiers have been around a very long time as the muscle that enforces the Capitol's rules in all of the Districts. Young Coryo Snow and his fellow Academy friend, Sejanus Plinth (Josh Andrés Rivera), are exiled to the Districts as Peacekeepers in training. Snow's rigging of the Games is considered cheating, so he's left to bribe his way to an assignment in District 12 where he gets to see firsthand the good and the bad of the Capitol's iron grip on the citizens of Panem.
The Hanging Tree
The Hanging Tree of District 12 is mentioned so often in all of The Hunger Games films, it might as well be considered a character. Audiences finally get to see the famed place in The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes. The Peacekeepers use the massive tree as a place of public execution for those who commit crimes against the rules of the Capitol. Lucy Gray Baird is revealed as the author of what will become a dark lullaby sung by generations of District 12 residents, including Katniss Everdeen. In Mockingjay: Part 1, Katniss sings the song to Panem in one of the propoganda videos used to help inspire the rebellion against the Capitol.