Everything We Know About the Hunger Games Prequel

Originally Published: 

Viola Davis wearing a bright yellow gown in Cannes
Photo by Daniele Venturelli/WireImage via Getty Images

Monday’s reveal that Viola Davis will star in The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is proof that we’re finally starting to see some movement ahead of its November 2023 release. Set in the decades before Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss Everdeen entered the picture, the adaptation of Suzanne Collins’s 2020 young adult novel centers on a young Coriolanus “Coryo” Snow, an orphan who later becomes the tyrannical president of Panem. (Donald Sutherland portrayed the older Coriolanus in the original film.) Read on to find out who’s portraying him this time, plus everything else we know so far.

Who are the stars of The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes?

Tom Blyth is taking over from Sutherland in portraying Coriolanus, and he must have some some serious talent: The British actor has only had one major leading role so far. (He’s fresh off playing the ill-fated outlaw at the center of the Epix series Billy Kid.) West Side Story’s Rachel Zegler will costar as Lucy Gray Bard. The mentee of Coriolanus, she’s one of the so-called “tributes” forced to battle to the death in the 10th edition of the franchise’s titular tournament. The last one standing is declared winner, and Coriolanus is almost positive that Lucy, who’s from the historically poorly performing District 12, doesn’t stand a chance. (Though if she does, she may end up wishing she lost; winning tributes are resigned to a life of being touted around by the government and working through their guilt over killing a bunch of kids.)

Who plays the villain?

None other than Academy Award winner Viola Davis. On August 15, the Hollywood Reporter revealed that the actor has been cast as Dr. Volumnia Gaul, head gamemaker of the 10th annual Hunger Games. Essentially, her job is to put Lucy and co. through hell. “Dr. Gaul is as cruel as she is creative and as fearsome as she is formidable,” Lionsgate president Nathan Kahane said in a statement, noting that casting Davis to play her has always been the dream. “Snow’s savvy as a political operator develops in no small part due to his experiences with her as the games’ most commanding figure.”

Who else is in the cast?

Namely, Hunter Schafer. The Euphoria star is set to portray Coriolanus’s cousin, Tigris Snow. She comes to feel more like a sister when their grandmother takes them both in. Jason Schwartzman will play Lucretius “Lucky” Flickerman, the competition’s host, and Deadline reports that Peter Dinklage has just come on board as Casca Highbottom, the dean of the academy where Coriolanus studies. He’s credited with creating the Hunger Games, and immersing himself in the competition results in a drug addiction. As for the crew, Francis Lawrence will be directing what makes for his fifth Hunger Games film.

Is there a trailer yet?

Nope, though there is a one-minute and 27-second animated teaser that suggests the movie will take place in the wintertime.

When is the release date?

Blyth and Zegler started filming in Berlin last month, marking the beginning of a shoot that will take them all across Europe. Seeing as stars such as Dinklage only just signed on, though, the cast and crew have a long way to go. If all goes as planned, the film will hit theaters on November 17 of 2023.

This article was originally published on