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Will Katniss Be In The Hunger Games: The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes?

The upcoming prequel film "The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes," based on the 2020 novel of the same name by "The Hunger Games" author Suzanne Collins, takes place 64 years before the original "Hunger Games" book in the timeline. It follows an 18-year-old Coriolanus Snow (Tom Blyth) as he begins a romance in the Game's arena with Lucy Gray Baird (Rachel Zegler). Baird is District 12's tribute for the 10th annual Hunger Games, and Snow is chosen as her mentor. Before he became the ruthless and hated president of Panem in the original films (played by Donald Sutherland), Snow was a complicated young man who fell in love while seeking control in his own life. The new film will depict his backstory and what led him to become the cut-throat leader.

However, "The Hunger Games" fans may be disappointed to hear that Jennifer Lawrence won't be returning as District 12's hero Katniss Everdeen for the prequel film, but it still sounds like they'll have a lot to dig in on when the film is released in theaters on November 17 this year. While attending the Toronto International Film Festival in the Fall of last year, according to People, Lawrence offered up her advice to the fresh cast taking over the franchise for the new installment, "You guys are going to have the best time. Just have fun — don't worry about anything."

Katniss Everdeen's presence will still be felt in the prequel

In "The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes," Rachel Zegler's Lucy Gray Baird character becomes the franchise's new Katniss Everdeen by being the tribute for District 12 in the 10th annual Hunger Games. The film's director, Frances Lawrence, told Vanity Fair, "This is not with judgment, but Lucy Gray is the anti-Katniss." Baird is also a musical performer from her District, one known for being a community of artist types. The director went on to say that Tom Blyth's Coriolanus Snow "Has never met a girl like this before." He continued that the two form a "kind of love story set in a different kind of a world in a different time."

The director noted that the film will also feature a new look to the dystopian future shown in the film. District 12, the Capitol, and the Arena have all been redesigned for the upcoming film. Nevertheless, there will still be things that ring familiar for long-time fans of the series. Lawrence said, "You get a little background of Katniss. You will obviously get a lot of the background of Snow, the history of the Games, the history of some of the music, where songs like 'The Hanging Tree' actually come from." So even though Jennifer Lawrence won't be returning to the role that made her an A-lister, her presence will still be felt in the film.