The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes: Will it Live Up to Our Expectations?

By Clara Frank

November 13, 2023

The Hunger Games book series rocked the world in the early 2000s, selling millions of copies. These books were such a hit among young readers, according to Words Rates, “The Hunger Games (book 1) spent over 100 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list.” This is a very impressive feat for any author, let alone during the technologically driven world of the 21st century. This trilogy amassed so many fans that the concept of a movie became a real possibility. 

The first movie was released only four years after the book was released. The movie was very popular, even among people who hadn’t read the books. Although original fans of the series were disappointed with the movie and how they portrayed the books that they held so dear. Fans were so upset about the differences between the movie and the book that they dedicated an extremely lengthy page on The Hunger Games Wiki to the differences in all of the movies and books. Their annoyance with the films did not hurt the overall earnings of the movies, but it was a disappointment for loyal fans. 

With a new Hunger Games movie coming out November 17th, similar concerns are arising among original fans. The Ballad of Song Birds and Snakes is the prequel to the series and delves into the life of character Coriolanus Snow and how he became the president in the dystopian world of Panem. There is a lot of excitement surrounding this movie, primarily because of the nostalgia that it is bringing back for generations of readers. Although prior to the movie's release there is already a lot of worry about what will happen to the authenticity of the story. 

The trailer for the new young adult movie is already generating concern around the storyline. In the trailer it depicts an essence of a love story between two characters, Coriolanus Snow and Lucy Gray Baird, even though in the books this is not the case. The movie is supposed to revolve around the world building of Panem, not a romance between two characters. 

The casting has also been heavily debated. The actress that plays Baird, Rachel Zegler, has been rather controversial. When discussing the movie that she will star in, the live action Snow White, the actress goes on and on about how much she dislikes the original Snow White movie. This classic film is loved by many, so when the lead explained her disdain for the story it was an extreme issue. Hunger Games fans are worried that the actress will add a negative connotation to the adaptation of the prequel. 

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes book has an immense amount of details layed out in 528 pages that could not possibly be covered in one movie that is only two and a half hours. There are already several articles regarding the accuracy of the movie. Screen Rant has put out several articles before the release of the movie describing how the movie could not possibly live up to the expectations being set by fans. 

This beloved book series holds a special place in many hearts, but the accuracy of the adaptation is heavily debated due to the storyline, casting, and its ability to fit into one movie. Will this movie be as good as fans hope, or will it be another 2023 flop film?