With a total gross of almost 3 billion US dollars, the "Hunger Games" series is one of the most successful films. The enthusiasm was correspondingly great when it became clear that the prehistory of the fictional future dystopia would also make it onto the cinema screens of this world. Like the previous four parts, the fifth part of the series is based on the book series of the same name by the successful author Suzanne Collins. It was not until 2020 that Collins delivered the much-needed, long-awaited novel supplement to the story of Katniss Everdeen and the Hunger Games with "The Hunger Games X - The Song of the Bird and Snake".
But unlike parts 1 to 4, the prehistory is not about the heroine of the nation herself, but about the then 18-year-old Coriolanus Snow, who appeared in the previous parts as the cold-blooded, merciless president. Viewers learn more about Snow's career and life, which ultimately shaped him and made him the person he is at the time of the 74th Hunger Games: The brutal president of the country "Panem", a country of poverty, injustice and cruel perversion is drawn.
As a reminder, "The Hunger Games" takes place in the future of North America, which has been largely destroyed by war and natural disasters. Since then, the country's citizens have been "safe" in twelve so-called districts, which differ greatly in terms of their wealth and social status from 1 to 12. While District 1 primarily produces luxury goods and is very rich, mining District 12 lacks infrastructure, food and drinking water. To prevent people from rebelling against the dictatorial regime, the government introduced the Hunger Games, in which 24 young women and men between the ages of twelve and 18 have to fight to the death until only one tribute remains.
For the Games, each district appoints two tributes annually by drawing lots. The focus of the first parts is 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen from District 12, who volunteers for the Hunger Games in place of her younger sister Primrose and ultimately wins together with Peeta Mellark (also from District 12) through a forced rule change. In doing so, she rebels against the makers of the games, who see her actions as a rebellious act and at the same time becomes a symbol of resistance and freedom for the nation.
First glimpses of the prequel trailer now transport viewers to the early days of the Hunger Games, 64 years before Everdeen's victory, with Snow making his first appearance on the Hunger Games as the mentor of Lucy Gray - a female tribute from District 12. Mentors prepare their assigned Tributes for arena survival and strategize to ensure their continued existence in the Hunger Games. Ultimately, they themselves benefit from the perseverance of their protégés in the fight for survival - they receive funds and rise further in society with the victory of their tribute.
A love affair develops between Snow and Gray in the course of the tenth Hunger Games, which the former mainly pursues as an end in itself. With a possible prize money he wants to pay his tuition fees, save his family's reputation and assert himself in the hierarchy of Panem. At first glance, Snow and Gray form a unit, but this turns out to be a fallacy when Snow finally abandons Gray for his own benefit.
With this - and further insight into his childhood days - it becomes clear where Snow's extremely violent worldview came from - and how he managed to become as cold-blooded and dehumanized as he is at the time of the 74th Hunger Games. What the trailer for the prequel also reveals: The games of that time seem to be even more barbaric and perfidious than they already are.
Game maker Dean Casca Highbottom, who is played by "Game of Thrones" star Peter Dinklage, is still in the middle of developing the lavish entertainment format with public appearances, displays and breathtaking costumes, as known from the first and second parts of the series. Instead, tributes are held captive in a zoo's monkey pen before struggling for their lives in the ramshackle Capitol arena.
As the title of the prequel suggests, snakes and songbirds will play an important role in the tenth Hunger Games - and not just symbolically. The former encounter the tributes as natural opponents in the arena, the latter are used - as so often - as messengers of secret messages.
In addition to stars like Peter Dinklage, the cast includes "West Side Story" newcomer Rachel Zegler, "Robin Hood" actor Jason Schwartzman, "Euphoria" star Hunter Schafer and "How to Get Away with Murder" protagonist Viola Davis on. Thematically, the cinema adaptation should be strongly based on the book. As in some of the previous parts, some of the filming also took place in German cities such as Berlin, Potsdam, Leipzig, Cologne, Hattingen and Duisburg. Scenes are said to have been shot at the Monument to the Battle of the Nations in Leipzig as well as on the Museum Island and in front of the Stalin buildings on Strausberger Platz in Berlin. In the film, the setting is intended to function as a megapolis of the future.
So fans can stay tuned. "In 2023 the world will discover who is a songbird - and who is a snake," is the conclusion of Lionsgate on the prequel, which, like the previous parts, is directed by Francis Lawrence. While the US start of "The Hunger Games 5" is planned for November 17, 2023, the film will start in Germany on November 16, 2023.