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A new Hunger Games trailer doubles down on reminding fans that the Hunger Games are bad, actually

The new trailer for prequel The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes wants to remind you who the villains are

The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes
Image credit: Lionsgate

There’s a clear message in the new trailer for upcoming Hunger Games prequel The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes, and it’s a simple one: The Hunger Games itself are very, very, very much not a good thing, no matter how much you might have liked watching Jennifer Lawrence kick ass in the last movies.

“The Hunger Games… they’re to punish the Districts,” explains Tom Blyth’s Coriolanus Snow — a younger version of the character played by Donald Sutherland in the original series; this new movie is set six decades before those movies — explains early in the new trailer, adding, “Those tributes don’t have a choice.” As if to underscore the dystopian note, Peter Dinklage’s Casca Highbottom — the man who sets the rules of the Games — shows up immediately afterwards to tell those behind the Games, “Your role is to turn these children into spectacles, not survivors.”

Got it? This is not just harmless entertainment this time around, nor is this the story of a totalitarian regime being overthrown, given that it’s a prequel to the original Hunger Games movies, which likely doesn’t mean good things for Rachel Zegler’s new heroine Lucy Gray Baird, despite how upbeat parts of this new trailer might seem. Viola Davis’ dramatic final line, and the scenes that follow, make that clear.

The official studio description for the movie goes like this: “Years before he would become the tyrannical President of Panem, 18-year-old Coriolanus 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, the girl tribute from impoverished District 12. 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.” Besides Blyth, Dinklage, Ziegler, and Davis, the movie also features Hunter Schafer, Josh Andrés Rivera, and Jason Schwartzman.

Check out the new trailer for The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes below. The movie is released November 17.

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