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The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes ending explained

Want to know what happened at the end of the new Hunger Games film? We've got you covered.

Cropped poster for Hunger Games
Image credit: Lionsgate

Though the original cinematic Hunger Games series may be over, we're not done with the Hunger Games yet. In fact, we're going back in time to one of the earlier Hunger Games and following the story of future President Snow and a girl he once knew named Lucy Gray Baird. Lucy Gray is a tribute from District 12, and when Coriolanus, a young student at the academy, is assigned to be her mentor, they develop a deep relationship that puts them both at risk

Now what happens at the end of the movie? Read on for more.

Spoilers for The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes

What happens at the end of The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes?

Still promotional image from Hunger Games
Image credit: Lionsgate

Lucy Gray Baird wins The Hunger Games, and Coriolanus is caught for having cheated by giving Lucy Gray a compact full of rat poison to use in the arena and for using a handkerchief with her tears on it to train Dr. Gaul's rainbow snakes from killing her. As a punishment, Coriolanus is sent to be a Peacekeeper for 20 years. He bribes his way to District 12 where he finds Lucy Gray still alive.

Lucy Gray and Coriolanus continue their relationship in secret, but Coriolanus is still intent on returning to the Capitol. As part of his maneuvering, he records his friend Sejanus speaking about working with rebels and sends the Jabberjay to Dr. Gaul. When caught up with rebels Sejanus works with, Coriolanus shoots and kills the mayor's daughter. Simultaneously, he is offered a chance to go to a plum position in District 2. Now worried about his prospects due to whther or not the Peacekeepers find the murder weapon, he decides to run away with Lucy Gray, who is considered a suspect in the shooting.

Sejanus is caught and hung, due to Coriolanus' betrayal, and Lucy Gray and Coriolanus flee the district for a new life up north. As they talk, Lucy Gray gets suspicious about Coriolanus, who lets it slip that he's killed three people - not the two she knew about. They make it to a cabin, where Coriolanus finds the gun he used to murder the mayor's daughter and realizes that once he destroys it, he can return to his previous life. Lucy Gray mentions that she's the only loose end left, and after a tense moment, Lucy Gray, now very suspicious runs, setting a trap with Coriolanus' mother's scarf and a snake to bite him. He tries to shoot Lucy Gray, but cannot track her down.

Coriolanus returns to District 12 with the prospects of going to District 2, but he is instead called to the Capitol by Dr. Gaul, who recieved his Jabberjay. She takes him in as a mentee, setting him up in the university, and he is named the Plinth heir. Coriolanus returns to the Academy to speak to Dean Highbottom and poisons him with a vial of morphine, and leaves the Academy, heading to the center of the Capitol.

Does Lucy Gray Baird survive the Hunger Games?

Still promotional image from Hunger Games
Image credit: Lionsgate

Yes, Lucy Gray survives the Hunger Games. After she succeeds in hiding from the most dangerous situations, a huge vat of rainbow snakes are delivered into the Games. Earlier in the movie, we learn that the snakes will not attack if they recognize the scent of a person. Because Coriolanus learns about the snakes early, he sneaks into Dr. Volumnia Gaul's lab and stuffs a handkerchief with Lucy Gray's tears into the vat. That, along with Lucy Gray's calming singing holds the snakes off long enough for the other tributes to be killed and for the students at the academy to convince Dr. Gaul to end the games with a live victor.

What happens to Sejanus Plinth at the end of The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes?

Sejanus doesn't have a great ending in The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes. As a Peacekeeper in District 12, Sejanus begins to get involved with the rebels, giving them money for supplies. Coriolanus uses a Jabberjay to record Sejanus talking about the situation and sends it to the Capitol. After a situation with the rebels leads to two deaths, Sejanus is hung alongside another rebel, as Coriolanus stands guard.

Who dies in The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes?

Still promotional image from Hunger Games
Image credit: Lionsgate

Every tribute except for Lucy Gray dies in The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes. Other notable deaths include Sejanus Plinth, who is hung as a traitor after Coriolanus betrays him, and Dean Highbottom, who is poisoned by Coriolanus with tainted morphine.

Does Coriolanus go back to the Capitol at the end of The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes?

Still promotional image from Hunger Games
Image credit: Lionsgate

Yes, after a falling out with Lucy Gray, Coriolanus returns to his barracks and then plans to transfer to District 2. On his way, he is recalled to the Capitol by Dr. Gaul (who recieved the Jabberjay Coriolanus had sent with the recording of Sejanus). Gaul reinstates his status and gives him a place in the university. Coriolanus is named the Plinth heir, and he and his family land, as Coriolanus says, "on top."

What happens to Coriolanus Snow after The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes?

The Ballad of Songbird & Snakes happens years before The Hunger Games. During The Hunger Games trilogy, Coriolanus Snow is the president of Panem and is eventually killed by Katniss Everdeen.

The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes is in theatres now. Buy tickets on Fandango or Atom Tickets.

An advanced screening for The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes was provided ahead of release by Lionsgate.

The Hunger Games movies: How (and where) to root for District 12 in chronological or release order

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Tiffany Babb avatar

Tiffany Babb

Deputy Editor

Tiffany Babb is Popverse's deputy editor and resident Sondheim enthusiast. Tiffany likes stories that understand genre conventions (whether they play into them or against them), and she cries very easily at the movies— but rarely at the moments that are meant to be tearjerkers.