‘Hunger Games’ prequel stirs up mixed reaction from students

By Kalena Reynolds | Reporter

Nov. 17 is a heavily-awaited day for “Hunger Games” fans worldwide, as it marks the release of the newest addition to the series: “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.”

The prequel, which was adapted from the May 2020 novel, takes place 64 years before the original and follows the life of President Snow as he becomes Panem’s villain. It’s on Rolling Stone’s list of 42 Must-See Movies of Fall 2023.

The movie stars Rachel Zegler and Tom Blyth as the main characters and also features Hunter Schafer, Peter Dinklage and Viola Davis. Francis Lawrence, who directed previous films in the series, returned for the prequel.

“Hunger Games” fans have had mixed feelings ahead of the newest addition to their favorite childhood series.

Tulsa, Okla., sophomore Stacie Boyls said it makes her feel nostalgic.

“Honestly, I’m pretty excited,” Boyls said. “I don’t think anyone is shocked that these movies are happening, so rather than being cynical, I’m trying to lean into my childlike wonder about them.”

Fans have been pushing for an addition for years, and the villain-centered storyline will enable them to finally understand the cruel nature of the famous antagonist.

“I kind of love it when franchises explain why villains are villains,” Boyls said. “No one wakes up one day and goes, ‘I think I’m going to bomb a hospital today.’ It’s a process to become like that, and I’m nosy. I want to know how that happened.”

The dystopian genre was popular around 2012 but has since died down. Hico junior Keidra Mills said she’s excited for its comeback.

“I love how the series is adored so greatly by this generation that the creators are trying to revive that same dystopian genre onto the next generation,” Mills said. “Nowadays, we hardly see the dystopian genre in movies, and therefore, this revival of the series may prompt other writers.”

The original love triangle between Katniss Everdeen, Gale Hawthorne and Peeta Mellark is part of what drew fans to the series. Now that the storyline has changed, fans have conflicting thoughts.

“If the original fans are slamming it for being a terrible film or a money grab, younger generations will turn a blind eye and find another bandwagon to hop on,” Boyls said.

Boyls said she is interested to see the younger generation’s take, as the series that was once known by young teens worldwide gets a new set of eyes.

“Seeing middle schoolers get deeply invested in this series the same way I was years after I did is somehow comforting and unsettling at the same time,” Boyls said.